Recognizing that health has many determinants the Y strives to create programs, opportunities and experiences that enhance community wellness. Health encompasses more than just physical activity. In its broadest terms, Community Health Programs offer inclusion, safety, respect, care, laughter and learning within a stable and supportive social network.
- Power of Being a Girl
The Power of Being a Girl is a one day conference hosted by the YMCA-YWCA of Vancouver Island during YWCA Canada’s Week Without Violence. This initiative provides young girls ages 12-14 in different school districts with the tools to empower themselves and build self-esteem. The goal is to have participants better equipped to deal with the various forms of violence that may impact their lives.
- Y Young Moms Program At Kiwanis Family Centre
The Y’s Young Moms Program offers safe, stable, affordable housing for young mothers (aged 16-29) and their child under the age of five years. The program offers an opportunity to live free of violence and substance use. Staff provides flexible individualized support to women working towards their goals including parenting, schooling or employment, emotional and physical wellness, and connecting with their community. Women retain their independence while building resilience, skills and strengths in a community living environment to transition successfully to independent living with their child.
Committed to serving Victoria’s young parent community, the Y’s Young Moms Program also offers a variety of programming that is accessible to both resident moms and the community. Our free drop-in runs every Thursday from 10am-noon, with a healthy breakfast, playroom for the little ones, and a parent and child craft project. We also offer Food Skills for Families, Mother Goose, Nobody’s Perfect, Triple P, and a variety of fun and interactive workshops for our resident and community parents.
- Individual counseling and emotional support
- Group programming for resident moms
- Parenting support
- Interactive workshops
- Resource referrals
- Advocacy support
- Accompaniment to appointments
- Activity groups for children and youth
- Weekly breakfast drop-ins
- Y Pandora Youth Apartments
The Y’s Pandora Youth Apartments is a safe and affordable transitional housing and lifeskills program for youth ages 15-19 with eight self contained bachelor units. Youth who may be experiencing social isolation, poverty, substance abuse or trauma are supported to strive for and attain their educational, employment and wellness goals with the assistance of experienced counselors. Housing support, lifeskills programming, nutrition and cooking groups, counseling, advocacy, and fitness are some of the many supports offered.
- YWCA Encore
YWCA Encore is a FREE 8-week exercise program is designed specifically for women who have experienced breast cancer at any time in their lives. Weekly sessions focus on building strength and flexibility and include hydrotherapy, land-based activities and workshops. The exercises target areas affected by breast cancer surgery and treatment, while the workshops provide relaxation techniques and information. Encore is more than an exercise program – it is a safe and supportive environment where women can share their experiences and give and receive support. Participants receive a YMCA-YWCA membership to use during the program.
Encore can help:
- Improve mobility and flexibility
- Boost self-esteem and self-image
- Relieve discomfort associated with surgery and treatment
- Reduce the risk of Lymphoedema
- Minimize fatigue from treatment
- Provide peer support
Registration / Information:
The following are upcoming session dates for 2019:
Winter Session at the Langford Westhills Y : Thursdays, 1-3:30pm, January 17-March 7
Spring Session at Victoria Downtown Y: Fridays, 9:30am-12pm, April 5-May 24
YWCA Encore relies on the generous cash donations of individuals, companies, organizations and foundations as well as in-kind supplies and volunteer facilitators. The YMCA-YWCA of Vancouver Island recognizes and thanks Encore’s recent supporters:
- Mind Fit
YMCA Mind Fit, in partnership with organizations across the province, is a 8-week program for teens ages 13-19 with mild to moderate symptoms of depression and/or anxiety. Participants, in a small group setting of 10-12 teens, will have an opportunity to connect with and learn from others in their community who are going through similar experiences. YMCA Mind Fit is run out of the Westhills Y (Langford).
A Youth Clinician runs a one-hour session focused on mental health topics and facilitate activities and discussions to support participants in learning healthy life coping skills. Following this, a Y fitness staff leads the group in fitness initiatives to support participants to increase their physical activity and build social connections, tailoring sessions to meet group and individual needs. Participants receive a free YMCA-YWCA Vancouver Island membership for the duration of the program.
- Current student in School District 62
- Experiencing depression, low mood, anxiety, worry, stress (a formal diagnosis is not required)
- Participate in an information session
- All fitness levels welcome
- Opportunity to try a new physical activity every week
- Make new friends and have fun
- Mind Fit is FREE; Y membership is not required
- Participants receive a complimentary 12-week YMCA-YWCA Vancouver Island gym membership
- Learn from experienced professionals how to manage mental health in a safe environment
At the information session, eligible participants will meet program staff, participate in a one-to-one interview and complete intake and assessment forms. Following the information session, Y staff will contact all applicants to notify them of their status.
Registration / Information
Westhills (Langford) – Tuesday January 8th or 15th, 2019, 4:00-6:00pm
Westhills (Langford) – January 22 to March 12, 2019 (weekly on Tuesdays 4:00-6:00pm)
T: (250)386-7511 extension 117
- Choose To Move
Making a change to become more active can be tougher than it seems. It’s hard to do it alone without support. Here at the Y, helping adults experience optimal health as they age is our top priority.
Are you over the age of 65 and physically inactive? Do you want to learn how to build physical activity into your lifestyle to support your health and over all well-being? Are you interested in meeting new people and being part of a safe and supportive community?
Choose to Move is a six-month choice based wellness program, based on research from the Active Aging research team which helps break down barriers to physical inactivity. Working with a certified Activity Coach, participants design a personalized physical activity program based on their interests, goals and abilities. Participants are supported throughout the program with opportunities to connect with other Choose to Move participants through monthly motivational meetings held at any of our 3 Island Y’s and with their Activity Coach through weekly 1:1 check-ins.
Participants benefit from:
- A personalized physical activity action plan
- Regular, one-on-one check-ins with a certified Activity Coach
- Monthly group meetings with program participants
- Resources and tools to keep participants on track
- A complimentary 12-week YMCA-YWCA Vancouver Island gym membership
To participate in the program you must be:
- 65 years or older
- Physically sedentary or minimally inactive
- Medically cleared to exercise by your physician
- Not a current member of the Y or a previous participant in the Choose to Move program
Interested participants are required to attend an information session. This session is required in order to participate in the program.
- Information Sessions held at the Eagle Creek Y :
- Friday Jan 11th 11:00am – 12:30pm
- Sunday Jan 20th 1:00pm – 2:30pm
- Thursday Jan 31st 1:00pm – 2:30pm
- Monday Feb 11th 11am – 12:30pm
Next program session starts Monday February 25th 2019
To learn more or to register for the next information session, please contact
P: (250) 386.7511 extension 223
- Youth Mindfulness Groups - Ages 18 - 30
Everyone experiences worries and anxiety. The key is to learn how to make sure these don’t get in the way of doing things you care about!
The YMCA Mindfulness Groups offer a free 7-week psychoeducational and support group for youth ages 18-30 who experience anxiety. Participants learn healthy coping skills, connect with other young people in the community, and get support all in a safe and friendly environment. Programming is supervised by trained mental health professionals.
The group provides a safe, supportive environment where you can meet others who have had similar experiences and includes:
- Educational workshops about anxiety and other mental health related topics
- Practicing evidence-based mindfulness techniques during workshops, a proven tool to help manage anxiety
- An introduction to Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT), an evidenced based therapy that uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies
- Take-home resources to help manage anxiety in between weekly meetings
- A seven-week YMCA-YWCA Vancouver Island gym membership to encourage young adults to manage their anxiety through physical activity
If anxiety is impacting your life and preventing you from doing what you want or need to do, this group can help support you. Join us to learn mindfulness techniques, get helpful tools and resources, and meet other like-minded youth.
Check out this video about the Y Mindfulness Groups.
Registration / Information
Attending an information session is mandatory prior to participating in the program. Register for an upcoming information session by emailing us (please include your contact information and birth date).
We are offering the Youth Mindfulness Groups at the Downtown and Westhills (Langford) YMCA-YWCA locations.
Westhills (Langford) – Thursday January 24th & 31st, 2019, 5-7pm
Downtown – Tuesday January 22nd & 29th, 2019, 5-7pm
Westhills – February 7th through March 14th, 2019 (weekly on Thursdays 5:30-8:00pm)
Downtown – February 12th through March 26th (weekly on Tuesdays, 5-7:30pm)
To learn more, or to register for an information session, contact the Mindfulness Program Manager.
T: (250) 386-7511 extension 413
Youth Mindfulness Groups also run at:
If you are in crisis and need immediate support, please contact the Vancouver Island Crisis Line at : 1-888-494-3888, go to the hospital, or call 911.
For additional support, please check out these local community resources:
- Teen Mindfulness - Ages 13-17
Do you worry a lot about school? Do you worry about making friends or stress about what others think of you? You’re not alone—everyone experiences worries, anxiety and stress.
The Teen Mindfulness Group is a Y Mind program that supports teens ages 13 to 17 who are experiencing symptoms of anxiety to learn and practice healthy coping strategies to better manage stress and anxiety. Our groups provide an opportunity for teens to learn within a safe, comfortable, and fun environment, surrounded by other teens experiencing similar thoughts and feelings.
The group meets weekly for six weeks and is run in a welcoming and supportive environment. Program facilitators are trained mental health professionals and are skilled at teaching healthy coping skills based on evidence based approaches of Mindfulness and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (a Cognitive – Behavioural approach).
Participants engage in fun and creative activities to promote learning and artistic expression, and have the opportunity to connect with others who are going through similar experiences so they don’t feel alone.
Participants also enjoy a complimentary YMCA fitness membership for the duration of the program.
“The Mindfulness Group gave me useful tools and strategies to deal with worrying, anxiety and panic attacks. Life is still a struggle sometimes, but somehow I feel less alone and helpless. I look forward to getting out of bed, and I feel like I have a whole group of people my age with similar experiences cheering me on.” – Past Mindfulness Group Participant
- Ages 13-17
- Experiencing anxiety, stress, and/or worrying (no formal diagnosis required)
- Ability to attend an Information Session as well as all 6 group sessions
- Not currently experiencing moderate to severe mental health symptoms
Registration / Information
Attending an information session is mandatory prior to participating in the program. Register for an upcoming information session by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or for more information call: 250-386-7511 ext. 413.
*If you are interested in bringing the Teen Mindfulness program to your school or community we are looking for delivery partners across Vancouver Island. Please contact Fiona at
Downtown Victoria Y – January 16th & 23rd, 2019, 4:30-6:30pm
Downtown Victoria Y – February 6th to March 13th, 2019 (weekly on Wednesdays from 4:30-6pm)
- Healthy Living Programs
Dealing with ongoing chronic health conditions can make achieving an active life challenging. YMCA-YWCA Healthy Living Programs are community based small group training designed to help you enhance your physical and mental health.
The Healthy Living Program Initiative is much more than a simple exercise program! Developed in collaboration with BC Cancer Society, MS Society, and the University of Ottawa’s Heart Wise Initiative, our Healthy Living programs will provide you with a safe and supportive environment surrounded by fellow members whom share in your experiences. Each Healthy Living Program will:
- Improve Quality of Life
- Promote self-management
- Maintain and/or Improve physical abilities
- Provide peer-support
- Boost self-esteem
- Reduce overall fatigue and improve sleep quality
Registration / Information
All Healthy Living programs are held at the Eagle Creek Y in View Royal, located in Eagle Creek Village across from Victoria General Hospital at 25 Helmcken Road. This location provides participants with first floor accessibility, Handy-dart/BC Transit drop off and free parking!
All Healthy Living programs require an Intake Assessment for eligibility into our Healthy Living programs prior to taking part.
Healthy Living Programs are free for all YMCA-YWCA Vancouver Island Classic and Premium members. Financial Assistance is available.
A small group training program designed for people living with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary diseas, as well as other chronic lung disease such as severe asthma, and pulmonary fibrosis. This respiratory exercise maintenance program provides a safe environment for participants to continue and/or begin their active lifestyle through strengthening their lungs and muscles.
Program Session: Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:00am-11:45am
R.E.C. Fit (formerly known as Can Fit)
Restore-Evolve-Change (R.E.C) Fitness offers a community-based cancer survivor fitness program that is committed to helping you become stronger, breathe better, reduce body-mind fatigue, and improve mental health.
Program Session: Tuesdays 1:30pm – 2:25pm
Fit for Bones
A small group training program tailored to help those living with Osteoperosis, Osteopenia, low bone density and/or muscle atrophy from sedentary lifestyles. This program aims to provide safe and effective exercises for individuals looking to reduce risk of falls and fractures; improve joint functions, bone density and balance; all while increasing your confidence and building social connections.
Program Session: Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:00pm-1:00pm
Heart Wise Small Group Exercise Classes – starting January 14, 2019
Physical activity is an important part of your overall health and well being. Heart Wise small group programs are certified fitness classes appropriate for participants who want to improve their health and who may be living with a chronic health condition. These classes are designed to promote a safe and appropriate environment that encourages daily aerobic exercise, allows participants to workout at a safe level and take part in the Y classes you love with no hesitation!
The following classes require registration, up to 7 days in advance of the class by calling 250.386.7511 or the Membership Desk at your Vancouver Island Y Branch
Healthy Living: Cardio Dance
A great cardio and brain fitness workout, offering low-moderate intensities while dancing to learn various routines and breaking that sweat!
Program Session: Mondays 5:00pm – 5:55pm
Healthy Living: Strength Express
A weight-training class focusing on compound exercises interspersed with self-paced aerobic blasts designed to improve core stability, muscle strength and functional training.
Program Session:Wednesdays 6:00am-6:45am
Healthy Living: Cardio Fit
An easy to follow, low-moderate cardio workout designed to help improve your heart and lung health with this continuous choreographed aerobic activity.
Program Session: Thursdays 5:00pm-5:55pm
A specialized small group training experience is designed for people living with MS who require more assistance while executing their physical activity. This program will provide an enjoyable and adaptable functional fitness session focusing on improving your strength and balance, all while meeting fellow Y members sharing in your experiences.
Program Session: Tuesdays & Thursdays @ 12:00 pm – 12:55 pm
MS INTERMEDIATES – Program starts February 6th 2019!
A specialized small group training experience is designed for people living with MS who are more independent in their physical activity. This program will provide a tailored fitness session focusing on improving and/or maintaining your strength, endurance and core strength, all while meeting fellow Y members sharing in your experiences.
Program Session: Wednesdays & Fridays @ 12:00 pm – 12:55 pm
For more information and to register for these programs, contact:
YMCA-YWCA Healthy Living Coordinator
P: (250) 386.7511 extension 223
Community Health Program Supporters
The YMCA-YWCA of Vancouver Island recognizes and thanks the major supporters of these Community Health programs:
The Trudy & Doug Peden Charitable Foundation
Coast Capital Savings
The Home Depot Canada Foundation