YMCA of Owen Sound Grey Bruce Embraces ParticipACTION Community Challenge with New Accessibility Initiatives and Outdoor Activities

Owen Sound, ON  – The YMCA of Owen Sound Grey Bruce is excited to announce its active participation in the ParticipACTION Community Challenge presented by Novo Nordisk, running from June 1 to June 30, 2024. This national initiative encourages Canadians to get active in pursuit of the title of Canada’s Most Active Community, while also promoting physical activity among equity-denied populations.

The ParticipACTION Community Challenge is a nationwide physical activity and sport initiative that welcomes everyone in Canada to participate in various events throughout June. Communities vie for the title of Canada’s Most Active Community, with events registered on the challenge webpage contributing to their total score. After June 30, finalist communities will submit applications explaining why they deserve the title. Individuals can also support their community by getting active and logging their activities during the month.

Promoting equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility, the ParticipACTION Community Challenge provides funding to community organizations to deliver sports and physical activity opportunities to groups such as Black, Indigenous, racialized communities, 2SLGBTQQIA+ individuals, persons with disabilities, low-income populations, and newcomers to Canada. This funding aims to reduce barriers to physical activity and build stronger, healthier communities.

With the support of the ParticipACTION grant, the YMCA of Owen Sound Grey Bruce has purchased a specialized water wheelchair for the aquatics centre located at 700 10th Street East in Owen Sound. Additionally, funds were allocated for a field excursion and guided hike designed for newcomers and families, promoting educational and recreational engagement.

“Our programming at the YMCA includes adaptive swimming lessons and classes led by certified instructors, tailored to meet diverse needs,” said Sarah Cowley, CEO of the YMCA of Owen Sound Grey Bruce. “The new specialized water wheelchair ensures seamless pool access, promoting independence and enjoyment for our community members. Our facilities are equipped with accessibility features, creating an inclusive aquatic space where participants can engage in water fitness classes, therapeutic sessions, and community events.”

Each month, approximately 200 individuals benefit from the accessible equipment, specialized change rooms, and showers at the YMCA aquatics facilities. The YMCA partners with numerous local organizations, including the Special Olympics, Owen Sound Swimming, Parkinson’s Society, Canadian Mental Health Association, local school boards, and many others. The new water wheelchair will enhance accessibility for participants who do not have their own, replacing a recently damaged unit that urgently needs replacement.

The YMCA invites individuals living with disabilities in the local community to experience the new water wheelchair, generously provided through the ParticipACTION grant. “Join us as we extend a warm invitation to explore and embrace this exciting addition to our facility,” said Marilyne Jones, Aquatics Supervisor at the YMCA.

In addition to the aquatic enhancements, the YMCA hosted a field excursion and guided hike on June 8th, engaging a group of newcomers and families in a day of educational and recreational activities. The event, attended by 25 participants, took place at the Rural Rootz Nature Reserve. Participants learned about the garden and property, started the hike with a unique drumming ceremony asking dragons for safety, and enjoyed a guided hike led by Bruce Trail Hike Leaders through a mixed forest with trails near a pond and rock formations.

“Grey and Bruce Counties offer wonderful hiking trails, a popular pastime for community members,” said Suneet Kukreja, Manager of Grey Bruce Settlement & Language Services at the YMCA. “This recreational activity not only provides exercise but also offers the opportunity to build connections with community members and learn about local resources.”

The YMCA of Owen Sound Grey Bruce is proud to be a part of the ParticipACTION Community Challenge, contributing to a healthier, more active community while promoting inclusivity and accessibility for all.

Explore our website to learn more about the programs and activities offered by the YMCA of Owen Sound Grey Bruce, including Aquatics and Settlement & Language Services

About the ParticipACTION Community Challenge presented by Novo Nordisk
The Community Challenge is a national physical activity and sport initiative that encourages everyone in Canada to get active throughout June in search of Canada’s Most Active Community. The challenge is open to all communities and individuals, ultimately recognizing Canada’s Most Active Community and awarding it with $100,000 to support local physical activity and sport initiatives. In addition to the national winner, there is also a prize for the most active community in each province and territory as well as weekly organization prizing to be awarded throughout June.

The ParticipACTION Community Challenge presented by Novo Nordisk is proudly funded by the
Government of Canada, Novo Nordisk and supporting partner, Saputo.

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