Culture Club: The online global village

 

Culture Club has successfully achieved three Google Hangouts! This partnership between YMCA Academy students and Braemar College international high school students began before March Break, and we are thrilled to see it continue throughout our online learning platform! Each week, 15-18 students have fun conversations about different countries, food, and music through cultural exchange!

The world is a global village that is home to over 7.7 billion people! This opportunity allows for us to connect with others. However, not all humans take advantage of this worldwide friendship pool and are generally afraid of other cultures due to lack of exposure. Fortunately, we can debunk stereotypes about different people by listening and learning from them!

A YMCA 10th grader said, “I love Culture Club! It has let me meet high school students from all over the world – like Kenya and Russia! I like the same music as some of the girls!” One Braemar student, grade 11, commented, “This club is really great practice for my English with native speakers. I feel more confident talking to the nice teens. It also makes me feel less bored during quarantine because I am in a homestay in Toronto away from my family.”

Culture Club puts an emphasis on exchanging ones’ values and stories in a polite manner without judgment. Exchange implies equality, where groups do not have to sacrifice their individuality and instead can practice being more accepting to the beauty found in diversity. Students’ insight about their home countries also allows them to become positive ambassadors that spread a proud image of their homeland through their personality.

Culture Club is also important for students discussing their OWN culture! They can test their limits about what they already know and discover new questions about what they would like to talk to their parents or guardians about. Having students reflect on their upbringing and life chapters allows them to summarize important lessons they’ve learned. In all, it is our great pleasure that we align forces and share the importance of cultural exchange with our students, so they can take on new perspectives in their thinking and become more well-rounded individuals.

Academy Hosts Workshop About Healthy Eating

students in classroom participating in presentation

Last Friday, the Academy’s Grade 11/12 Workplace English class and Food and Nutrition class took part in a workshop about healthy eating, and about how millions and millions of animals are being killed for the food that we eat. Tracey Timmins from the Educated Choices Program explained what we consider food and what we do not consider food, and the health risks of food.

Tracy talked about how animals were slowly being led into slaughterhouses to be killed for food. She also talked about how killing animals can have major impacts on the environment. “It’s important to learn where food comes from,” says Russell, an English student. “It made me feel more motivated to make changes in my daily life to save the environment.”

It is really important to learn these things so you know where your food is coming from. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat meat. You can have a balance with meat and things that are not meat. If you feel like you don’t want to eat meat, that is your choice, but this is something that you should know about. “I feel like we organized this, because students everywhere need to learn about animals, and why we need food every day to survive,” says Lucas, another English student. This presentation is helpful, because it teaches everyone how to live a better life and feel happier.

The presentation happened so that we could learn how to eat healthy and save the environment. It’s important because the presenter talked about how we should eat less meat and more healthy foods. “I think this topic is very important because we are killing animals for our food and it is also having an impact on our diet and health,” says Russell.

“I felt sad and angry at the same time,” says Lucas. “I felt like I had to take action by following Tracy’s presentation facts and details of making the world a better place.”

A student named Cole concluded, “The presentation impacted me, because even though animals do get killed for food, it’s wrong to just take a bunch of animals into a horrible place and just murder them. I also think that we should take a stand. Animals are nature. Without nature, there won’t be anymore animals to take care of. I realized when I was watching this presentation that I can choose to eat less meat and more plant-based things.”

– By the Grade 11/12 Workplace English class

Upcoming Youth Exchange to New Brunswick

The above slideshow is from our last Youth Exchange to Haida Gwaii in 2017

Students at the YMCA Academy are preparing for the upcoming Youth Exchange that will be taking place from April 13th to 19th, and the 18th to the 24th of May.

In this youth exchange people from Tobique First Nations, New Brunswick will be coming for six days to Toronto to learn and experience a different sort of culture from their own. They will be guided around the city by the YMCA Academy’s students who will be later going to where they’re from just a month from now.

While they’re here we will be welcoming them with a feast, doing a city wide scavenger hunt on the TTC, doing volunteer work, taking them to Center Island and Niagara Falls, and just exploring the general city areas.

The goal of this Youth Exchange is to learn how other communities across Canada live and work in different ways, and the differences or similarities of two completely different environments, city and somewhat rural land. Some great outcomes of this experience include the new knowledge students gain about how the world works, and important life skills like knowing how to travel, how to interact with new people, and people who live in a different environment.

To find out more about this exchange look out for photos, blog posts, and posts on our social media pages!

Academy on ice: Building community through skating and hot chocolate

Students skating at Nathan Phillips Square

By Jonah Milo

On February 22, the YMCA Academy went on our annual school skating trip. The entire school including all grades and teachers walked down to Nathan Phillips Square and participated in skating and enjoying the trip as a community. Students with years of skating experience as well as students who have never tried on skates before all participated with enthusiasm in skating, drinking hot chocolate and enjoying the -6 degree weather we were blessed with.

The skating trip is a good opportunity for the school to do something as a community. During the trip you will see all the students participating in skating as well as more experienced skaters helping the less experienced. The skating trip is one of the many trips the school has throughout the year. The community at the YMCA Academy is something that is important to us and is why we have many trips throughout the year such as the skating trip as well as our Cedar Glen trip, and Toronto Island trip. These trips help us get to know each other as we grow as a school and as a community.

Check out more photos from this event on Facebook page!

Jonah is a Grade 12 YMCA Academy student.

Academy Rowing Crew’s 24-hour Row

The Sweat for Good Challenge!

It’s just 3 days until the Academy Rowing Crew’s 24-hour row!

We’ll be rowing from 8am on Friday, March 1st through to 8am on Saturday, March 2nd.  This is truly an Academy community event.  We currently have over 65 students, staff, alumni, families, volunteers and friends signed up to participate with our team!

Adding to the team effort this year, Colleen, one of the Academy’s teachers, will be attempting to set a new world distance record for a 24-hour row.

The Sweat for Good Challenge (formerly known as Megathon) is an important part of our school’s annual initiative to promote the connection between mental wellness and physical activity. The focus is to raise our students’ awareness about the role physical activity plays in mental health. Being active reduces the effects of stress, anxiety, and depression — issues that impact many young people.

Last year, we raised over $2,500 and our goal is to surpass that number this year.

All fundraising from this event goes towards making YMCA programs financially accessible to everyone. Students at the Academy benefit directly from these funds.

Check out our Sweat for Good Challenge page – Donations can be made here!

If you wish to participate and haven’t signed up already, there’s still time to join our crew – contact Katie Clay