2022 Annual Report
Strong & Vibrant
The YMCA of Three Rivers believes in building strong, safe, and connected communities — one person at a time. Through our programs and services, we’re committed to showing up where and how our communities need us most. We’ve built a diverse offering of programs and services to help everyone who comes to the Y live full and vibrant lives.
But, what does it mean to be strong and vibrant?
To be strong and vibrant is to develop your best self, and to work to develop your community. It is to overcome. To learn something new. To share, learn, and grow. It is to be healthy and well. It is to be in relationship.
At the YMCA of Three Rivers, it’s our goal to build strong and vibrant communities, one individual, one relationship, one connection at a time. This is Y.
Message from our CEO
While I’m still a new face to many of you in our Three Rivers communities, having joined first as interim and then as the new CEO in June 2022, I’ve been a part of the larger Y community for 23 years. Why’s that? Because I’ve not only seen the impact the Y can have on individuals and families, I’ve experienced it myself.
The great thing about the Y is that, depending on who you ask, they’ll have a Y story of their own. For many, when they think of the Y one of the first things that comes to mind might be swim lessons, child care, fitness centres, or camp. And while these are all a part of the Y, it’s only a fraction of the story. We also provide employment and immigrant services, youth outreach, workplace well-being supports, health management classes, and so much more.
As a charity, the YMCA of Three Rivers proudly serves Guelph-Wellington, Stratford-Perth, and Waterloo Region. We’re working hard to eliminate barriers to access by providing fee assistance or subsidized programs. Why? Because we believe in the work that we do, and we want to make sure that everyone has access to it. And, we’re aware that all of this is made possible only because of the generosity of our community. It’s because of you — our staff, volunteers, members, families, campers, donors, and communities — that we’re able to work towards achieving our ambitious mission: to help make our diverse communities healthier and more vibrant.
While perhaps no longer unprecedented, 2022 was still a year unlike many others in our Y’s history. We rang in 2022 in the midst of another provincial pandemic shutdown and we ended it with many of our programs and services returning to pre-pandemic operations. So much change, and all in one year.
Reflecting back, I am inspired by the stories of resilience and kindness I saw across our operational areas. I am energized by the commitment and dedication of our board, staff, and volunteers — to look forward with positivity, and to continue being there for one another and our communities. Strong and vibrant. These are two words that capture the YMCA of Three Rivers, not just in all that we’ve faced, but also in how we’re looking ahead.
This report is full of stories of strength and vibrancy. They’re inspiring. And, they’re ours. Because by being a part of the Y, you’re a part of making these stories happen. How cool is that?
Chief Executive Officer, YMCA of Three Rivers
Message from our Board of Directors
We want to take a moment to thank everyone who helps make the Y what it is: a strong and vibrant community of individuals. From our leadership team and staff to our volunteers and fellow Board of Directors, from Health and Wellness members to Child Care families, from Campers to Newcomers, and from job seekers and employers to our donors, you are why we’re able to do all that we can do.
During 2022 we continued to face challenges, and while we did not return to pre-pandemic operations, we did see significant improvement. In fact, in writing this note, we’re excited to report that we have had no pandemic-related shutdowns or limitations in programs of services for more than a year!
As we look ahead, we are energized by the resilience of our communities, and your commitment to the Y. Together, the Y, your Y, is here for good.
Harold Whiteside & Anne Eaton
Chair & Vice Chair, YMCA of Three Rivers Board of Directors
By the Numbers
What makes the YMCA of Three Rivers so amazing is our people. And, when we say our people, we’re talking about everyone who is a part of the Y. From staff and volunteers, to donors and members, campers to child care families, job seekers to employers, newcomers and mentors, everyone plays an integral role in making our Y community great. But you don’t need to take our word for it. Here's proof:
children from 2,517 families in Child Care
in-person visits to EarlyON locations
campers in Day Camp programs
schools participating in Student Nutrition
clients served in Employment Services
clients served in Immigrant Services
members served in Health & Wellness
financially assisted members (2,368 youth)
participants in Health Management
Youth Program touch points
Employee Insights Surveys completed
raised in donations and support
The YMCA is the largest not-for-profit child care provider in Canada. And, in 2022, all of our YMCA of Three Rivers Child Care Centres entered into an agreement with the provincial government to move towards making child care even more accessible to families through the Canada-Wide Early Learning & Child Care System. Learn more about our Child Care here.
Important Numbers in Child Care:
Child Care Centres (Infant, Toddler, Preschool): 52 (1 new centre opened in 2022)
School Age Programs: 47
Number of Children in Care: 3,396
Number of Families Served: 2,517
I have two sons in Y Child Care now, and I couldn’t imagine them being elsewhere. My eldest was at another centre throughout the pandemic, and it wasn’t a great experience. He hated going and was so unhappy. After our switch to the Y, it was an amazing change — he’s thriving. He’s so happy to go to before and after school and see his friends at the Y. The educators make such a difference, they really care and are so patient, kind, and understanding. And, they focus on learning. My oldest is in school now, and he’s so far ahead of the kids in his class because of all he learned at the Y. And so, when it was time to get my youngest into child care I knew I couldn’t go anywhere but the Y.”
— Katelyn K., Child Care Parent
EarlyON Child and Family Centres offer free, high-quality programs for families and children from birth to six years old. The YMCA of Three Rivers is the Lead Agency for EarlyON Child and Family Centres in Waterloo Region, and we’re excited to share some key highlights from 2022. Learn more about EarlyON here.
Important Numbers in EarlyON:
Centres: 6 + 16 mobile sites
Total children served: 4,819
Total adults (parents/caregivers) served: 4,398
Total virtual visits of families/children: 3,203
Total in-person visits of families/children: 58,654
Total support conversations (web-based chats): 458
We are very thankful that we found EarlyON because it was a great place for us and our son. We met other children and parents of different ages. It is a safe space, and the staff are very caring, respectful and knowledgeable. There are activities and resources that can really promote learning and community.”
— EarlyON Participant
In 2022, we were able to welcome children back to BOTH day and overnight camps. And, one thing’s for certain: we’ll never take the noise at camp for granted ever again! It was amazing seeing so many new and familiar faces at our camps, and we can’t wait to see what 2023 brings. Learn more about camp here.
Important Numbers in Camp:
Day Camps: 10
Overnight Camps: 3
Children to Day Camp: 2,467
Children & Leaders in Training (LITs) to Overnight Camp: 1,353
Counsellors in Training (CITs) trained: 84
Visits to the Outdoor Centre: 6,600
Camp Waabanaki Renaming Journey
My granddaughter spent eight weeks at Y Day Camps this summer — three at the Guelph Y and five at Camp Conestogo. Every day I drove her to the camp, every counsellor smiled and waved at us as we drove in. We were greeted with another happy smile and cheer at check-in. Ella was excited to join her group, and as I drove away, I noticed that the counsellors (and friends) were gathered around her (everyday). When she came home at the end of the day, Ella would tell me stories about camp. She learned new songs and skills. She even learned how to retell a scary campfire story! She felt like part of a community. The counsellors were definitely role models as Ella chatted about TreeFrog, Tarzan, Poison Ivy, and many more. Your staff were amazing, and I cannot thank them enough for their enthusiasm and making Ella's first year of summer camp one to remember. This reflects not only their own personalities but also due to the training they have received at the YMCA — thank you!”
— Pamela F., Camp Parent
As part of our charitable mission and mandate, the YMCA of Three Rivers delivers a number of free, community-based programs to help individuals live healthier, more vibrant lives.
Delivered in partnership with Manulife, Financial Literacy introduces children and teens to the concepts of effective money management and budgeting. Through the program, participants learn the difference between wants and needs, saving and spending, investments, philanthropy, and long- and short-term goal planning. In 2022, 766 children and 358 youth participated in programs.
Learning from the financial trip at Camp Ki-Wa-Y was amazing. When it came to budgeting insurance, investments, estate planning and saving money, I learned how important finances are because when done the right way, it can strengthen business finances and make it okay to take safe risks to grow.”
— Kupa, Financial Literacy Participant
A free program with universal access, Student Nutrition helps to support over 650 program across Guelph-Wellington, Halton Region, Peel Region, and Waterloo Region. Fully funded by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, Student Nutrition ensures children have free universal access to nutritious foods so they can eat, learn, and succeed.
Important Numbers in Student Nutrition:
Total programs supported: 672
Participating Schools: 602
Average number of students served daily: 80,537
Number of meals served (April-November): 6,834,471
The breakfast program means the world to our school. Located in a high social risk area, our community is home to a large percentage of newly landed immigrants. The breakfast program is incredibly valuable to the students from these families. They sometimes come without a lunch or a snack and are fed from the food purchased for the breakfast program. Initially when we started the program, we had very few believers, supporters and volunteers. We were two parent volunteers who knew there was a desperate need, started the program and threw our hearts into it. However, things have changed over the years, teachers now see the change in students who come into class more cheerful, attentive and ready to learn. Seeing the benefits of this program has made teachers want to volunteer and become believers of this program. Our breakfast program means that children do not need to learn on a hungry stomach. Thank you, YMCA, for supporting such a great program!”
— Student Nutrition Program Community Partner
A curriculum-based group program targeted to help teens and young adults cope better with stress and anxiety. Funded through a partnership with the Public Health Agency of Canada and the YMCA of Greater Vancouver, we offered our first programming in our Three Rivers communities in November 2022, allowing us to reach 18 youth before the end of the year. We’re excited to continue growing this program in 2023.
Learn more about these, and other Community Services programs here.
I used the finger breathing technique before I had to get up and give a presentation — it helped me to feel calmer before I had to speak.”
— Y Mind Teen Participant
At the YMCA of Three Rivers Employment Services, we help unemployed and underemployed job seekers, including youth. Our employment programs assist people to overcome some of the barriers in entering the labour market. Learn more about Employment Services here.
Important Numbers in Employment Services:
Total Number of Clients Served (Cambridge & Kitchener): 11,880
Total Number of Newcomers Served: 489
Total Number of Workshop Participants: 1,190
Total Number of Clients Trained: 101
Vlad L. came to Canada from Ukraine in May 2022. While he had a degree as a Food Technology Engineer, he lacked work experience specific to this field. Working closely with the Employment Services team, a Production Operator role at Pillers Fine Foods was secured. Once in his role, Vlad became a spokesperson at Pillers for the Ukrainian community, including recent arrivals, like himself, who were fleeing conflict. As his English improved, Vlad began working as a translator, and helped Pillers employ more Ukrainians. While Vlad came to Canada alone, escaping war and uncertainty, he’s since build a community, and is working to help others find employment and settle in their new home country.”
— Employment Services Leader
Thanks to the generous support from Immigration Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (Immigration, Réfugiés et Citoyenneté Canada) and our other funders, we’re able to provide a number of free services and programs for all newcomers in Stratford-Perth and Waterloo Region. Learn more about Immigrant Services here.
Important Numbers in Immigrant Services:
Total clients served: 11,751
Total new clients served: 6,534
Total youth clients served (ages birth to 24): 3,999
Total group sessions offered: 712
Total session participants: 9,737
Supporting Newcomer Families
Health & Wellness
Strong and vibrant. That’s how we want our Health and Wellness members to feel after visiting one of our six locations across the Three Rivers communities. Whether they come in to use the conditioning centre, meet for personal training, play a game of squash, hit the volleyball court, take a plunge in the pool, or join a group fitness class, there are a number of ways members can take care of their overall health, fitness, and well-being at the Y.
Important Numbers in Health & Wellness:
Total number of members served: 31,188 (11,226 youth ages 0 to 17)
Total number of group fitness classes: 11,073
Total number of group fitness participants: 97,473
Total number of children/youth swim lessons: 5,650
Total number of financially assisted members: 5,433 (2,368 youth)
Total number of membership discounts (family and friends): 5,875
Mark, his wife Janna, and their two children (ages 5 and 1) participate in the Stratford-Perth YMCA community with the help of the Financial Assistance Program. Janna stays home to care for their young family, and Mark works a seasonal job, so they do not have an income in the winter months. Thanks to Fee Assist, the children both take swimming lessons and attend Play Gym. Janna and Mark also use Kid Zone so they can take a group fitness class or work out in the fitness centre while their children are being cared for. The YMCA has become an important part of the family’s week, which has been made possible through the Financial Assistance Program that exists to reduce barriers to membership.”
— Health & Wellness Operations Manager
Our Health Management classes have been designed to help individuals at risk of or living with chronic illness make health and wellness a top priority. Why? Because we believe that better health means a better life. You can learn more about our Health Management programs here.
Important Numbers in Health Management:
Total number of participants: 945
Total number of group-based programs (Wellness workshops, Diabetes Fit, Neuro Fit, Rock Steady Boxing, Move for Health): 44
Total number of program sessions delivered: 1,132
Total number of visits to program sessions: 7,409
Total number of individual consultations supported: 130
Health Management Champions
2022 was an exciting time for our Youth team as we grew our staff team and expanded our programing across our Three Rivers communities in order to meet current and growing demand for our programs.
Important Numbers in Youth Programs:
Total number youth visits (all touch points): 34,093
Teenage Parents Program (TAPPS): 88
Safe Sisters: 675
Moving Black Lives Forward: 1,620
Newcomer Youth: 3,975
Newcomer Youth School Lunches: 8,850
Just Hangin’ Out: 581
Youth Leadership Development: 1,628
Teen Drop-in: 1,899
Youth Basketball: 17,280
Alternative Suspension: 1,226
Total number of youth programs: 42
Unique youth served in Newcomer Youth: 259
Total number of Alternative Suspension Days: 191
Total number of youth basketball days: 864
My name is Branden, my pronouns are he/him, and I identify as gay. I was looking to find a safe place to share my identity and make new friends, and that’s why I joined the YMCA’s 2SLGBTQ+ youth program. Growing up as gay has definitely been a struggle at times. There is a lot of hate and negativity out there. There’s that fear of people finding out your identity, and what's going to happen to you. My social anxiety has gotten worse over time — I struggle talking to family and friends. Thankfully, a majority of my family has been supportive, but it can be scary to talk to those who don’t know my identity. I’d say my anxiety has certainly gotten better since getting involved in the 2SLGBTQ+ community and coming to the YMCA. In this program, I've enjoyed meeting new people, seeing new faces in the 2SLGBTQ+ community, doing activities that involve the community, and other activities [that allow me to] hang out with like-minded people. I feel like it's important to make others feel included, like they belong in this world. It has definitely been helpful for my social anxiety. I feel like I can talk to people more confidently.”
— Branden, 2SLGBTQ+ Program Participant
YMCA WorkWell works with organizational leaders to build healthier, thriving organizations, where well-being isn’t a buzzword, but a business priority.
Important Numbers in YMCA WorkWell:
YMCA Clients (national): 8 (including YMCA Canada)
Individual Employee Insights Surveys completed: 12,000+
Workshops Delivered: 26
As a large public sector organization, it is more challenging than ever to attract and retain excellent employees. YMCA WorkWell is a one stop shop that has been instrumental in helping us to determine the well-being of our employees, the culture of our department, and turning the insights from that measurement into action plans for our leaders. Employers who have or create a great culture for their staff have a massive advantage in recruiting and retaining the very best people, I believe that we are becoming one of those employers with the support of YMCA WorkWell.”
— Geoff V., Superintendent, Facility Services and Capital Planning, Thames Valley District School Board
At a time of transformational change in our sector, and amidst a burnout epidemic, we reached out to YMCA WorkWell to support us in cultivating a workplace culture of well-being. They give life and meaning to the data and have supported us in creating a sustainable action plan to ensure a flourishing team. Through leadership development, all staff workshops and coaching sessions, we are seeing results — and have the benefit of comparing our data to community WorkWell data — an added bonus. This team engages and inspires us. The best investment a leader can make is in their people — and the team at YMCA WorkWell can support you in doing so!”
— Lori P., Chief Executive Officer, RisingOaks Early Learning Ontario
Justice, Access, Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (JAIDE)
While many organizations and individuals have begun doing intentional equity and diversity work, for us at the Y, this work began in 2020, at the news of George Floyd’s murder. We realized that if we were to live up to our mission of building stronger, healthier, more vibrant communities, in programs and spaces where everyone felt welcomed, safe, and included, we had work to do.
In the two years since, we’ve created a unified Mission, Vision, and Values statement, applying an equity and diversity lens, and partnered with an external agency to assess our policies and procedures from a JAIDE lens. In partnership with this agency, we developed an action plan, and asked for employee feedback before the JAIDE Action Plan was officially released in November of 2022. We hired a full-time JAIDE manager, have begun a monthly information and educational publication for our staff teams, and will be implementing a train-the-trainer model of in-house training across the organization.
Through this work, we’re committed to our Y showing up for our communities in a representational manner, working to encourage truth-telling and dissenting while moving away from by-standing and perpetrating, as well as starting to address ongoing barriers to access of programs and services, and launching intentional programs for equity-deserving groups. Our JAIDE journey is only beginning, and we know we have work to do. And we are committed to living up to our mission of making our diverse communities healthier and more vibrant; with dignity and respect, we’ll develop programs and services that will inspire individuals to reach their full potential.
Thank you, Donors
In 2022, we were able to show up for our communities where and how they needed us most, because of our donors. Together, our individual, staff, foundation, government, and corporate supporters provided nearly $1.5 million in funds for your YMCA.
It is because of these committed individuals, foundations, and organizations that we’re able to continue building stronger, safer, and more connected communities through subsidized and free programming.
For more than 150 years, your YMCA has shown up for the Three Rivers communities by addressing barriers to access head on. And, with your continued generosity we’ll be able to keep showing up for as long as our communities need us.
Thank you. Because of you, the Y, your Y, is here for good!
My parents brought my sister and me to the Y for swimming lessons and as an outlet to be active and social with our peers in the community. As a youth, I participated in a lot of different Y programming. When I first started working at the Y, I was asked if I'd like to make a payroll contribution in support of our work. Because I had grown up in the Y and experienced it, and because I knew of kids and youth who couldn't come to the Y without Fee Assist, it was an easy answer for me: YES! Each month, a portion of my pay comes off and goes to support our areas of Greatest Need, helping to ensure that the Y is a place for all.”
— Feden, Youth Worker, and proud Y donor
The YMCA of Three Rivers: Here for you. Here for good.
While the YMCA of Three Rivers may still be a new name to you, we’ve proudly served the communities Guelph-Wellington, Stratford-Perth and Waterloo Region for more than 150 years.
So, where does our name come from? We liked the metaphor of a river: that they connect, unite, nourish, and power communities. We also appreciate that rivers are never the same twice: they change and adapt as the water flows through them. As a committed community-based program and service provider, this is what we try to do, year after year. Change and adapt. Meet people where they’re at. We also know that we’re changed, most often for the better, with every interaction we have across our programs and services. We’re stronger and more vibrant, not because of what we do, but because of who we serve. And while there are many rivers in our communities, we chose three because of our historical three associations, and the three rivers — the Avon, Grand, and Speed — that flow through and connect our communities.
Learn more about your YMCA of Three Rivers, including our Mission, Vision, and Values, here.
Charitable Number: BN 11930 7098 RR0001