Extracurricular Clubs Schedule

The YMCA Academy hosts a multitude of extracurricular after school and lunch time clubs throughout the week. This year we have added several new clubs to the roster as well as clubs that have taken place in previous years. Here are some of the highlights!

Cooking Club meets once a week on Wednesdays after school to create delicious and healthy snacks/meals. Each week students work together to follow a recipe and practice their culinary skills. It is an opportunity for students to spend time with their friends outside of class and enjoy tasting the food they helped to make. Students learn about the benefits of making healthy choices and are encouraged to step outside their comfort zone to try new foods. Sometimes the recipes are themed for holidays or the time of year and cooking club has also made special snacks for school events such as cookies for study hall and treats for a school dance. Last year the club put together a cookbook with students’ favourite recipes from the club and those contributed by all Academy families. The cookbooks were sold to raise money for the school and will be available this year as well!

Dungeons and Dragons Club is underway at the Academy. Students work together to navigate a magical world created through shared storytelling and teamwork. Students engage in solving puzzles, unraveling devious plots, exploring mysterious locations, and challenging corruption, while pretending to be heroic characters within a story of fantasy and magic. Playing Dungeons and Dragons exercises the mind, beyond simply imagining a fantastic world: players take part in numeracy, literacy, problem solving, divergent thinking, memorization, social interaction, team building, conflict resolution, planning, systems thinking, critical analysis, effective communication, and spatial reasoning skills. Much more than the pop-culture image of nerds in a basement; the benefits of the game can nearly match the excitement of playing it.

The YMCA Academy’s newest club (N.E.R.D. – Neophytes Engaging in Random Discussions) is a club born out of what a group of students already do throughout most lunches, discuss “nerdy” topics that are interesting to them. Each week (either on Tuesday or Friday) the N.E.R.D. club will pit Marvel vs. DC comics, superhero vs. superhero, discuss how to survive a zombie apocalypse, or look into various science theories.

The Video Game Club, Gamers’ Guild, is an opportunity for students to get together after school, socialize, and have fun playing video games. All games are multiplayer and students often have a choice between playing cooperatively or competitively. It is a great way to meet new students, make new friends, and engage in fun, friendly competition. The video game club relies on students bringing their own consoles and games which is not always easy. I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of the students who have contributed and kept the club running through their generosity. As the new school year unravels, we will look at expanding the club beyond just video games. Currently, there is a plan in the works to include board games such as Codenames, The Resistance, and Exploding Kittens in hopes of attracting a wider audience.

The Basketball Club takes place on Fridays at lunch. All students and teachers, regardless of skill level, are welcome and encouraged to participate. It is a nice way to get in some exercise, hang out with friends or make new ones, and have fun doing it. Usually we start off with a basic shoot-around and then move on to quick pick-up games or play the popular basketball game called “Bump.” We have access to a great gymnasium and I feel it is important that both students and teachers take advantage of it. Additionally, it gives students the opportunity to interact with their teachers outside of the typical classroom environment which can often be refreshing.

Full Schedule:
DayLunchtimeAfter School
MondayHomework Club
TuesdayN.E.R.D Club
WednesdayDungeons & DragonsCooking Club & Gaming Club
ThursdayRunning ClubHomework Club
FridayN.E.R.D Club & Basketball Club

Fostering global citizens with Insight Global Edu.

Insight Global Education (Insight) is a Vancouver based organization that’s dedicated to fostering global citizens. The YMCA Academy has partnered with Insight to deliver 4 different experiences to foster better understanding of global citizenship so that students can learn to think globally, and act locally. Each experience takes 2 hours and is delivered in successive Thursday Assemblies. Students are put through a simulation the first week, and then partake in smaller group discussions the following week to make sense of the simulation, what it demonstrated, and what its implications are on the global and local stage.

This simulation models “the Scramble for Africa,” a historical event that took place in the late1800s by Western powers in order to procure resources. The simulation allows students to see how the Western powers controlled and exploited African resources and people. They participated in the activity without the knowledge that they were re-enacting the Berlin Conference of 1884, which carved up the map of Africa. Once the simulation was over, students were brought up to speed on what they just experienced in order to prepare them for the more in-depth analysis and discussion to follow.

Check out more photos from this event on our Facebook page!

Cedar Glen Trip

On Friday, June 2nd, our 4th period leadership class went on a day trip to the YMCA Cedar Glen Outdoor Centre which is located in Schomberg. We participated in two activities, high ropes course and mountain biking. We got there by taking the subway to Sheppard West and then took the Cedar Glen bus to the camp grounds. We had fun there and enjoyed our time.

The purpose of our trip was to improve our leadership skills and to enjoy some time outdoors. The high ropes helped us improve on our ability to trust our peers and also helped our physical and mental strength. Multiple students from the class have a fear of heights and the other students helped motivated them to conquer their fear.

The second activity that we did was mountain biking where we did a series of tasks to see how capable we were of controlling the bike. We had to use that knowledge to complete a series of obstacles. The first of many tasks we did was to learn how to brake properly and how to shift gears without damaging the chains on the bikes. One of the other tasks we did was a race to be as slow as possible without placing our feet on the ground in order to practice more control of the bike. On the way back we had to ride in single file, each person was 5 seconds apart, this was because we faced narrow roads, steep hills, a bridge, and rough terrain.

The day at Cedar Glen was full on fun activities. Everyone enjoyed the time we spent there. Some of the highlights for the students were; getting to spend time with each other in a different environment. The staff was very helpful in understanding what kinds of fun activities we would enjoy and even what kinds of food we would love to eat. Everyone enjoyed the lunch that Cedar Glen provided, Cedar Glen was able to make accommodations for people with different diets. Most of the school time we are together in a classroom environment. Cedar Glen gives us a chance to get to know each other in a different environment.

Here are some quotes that some of the students had about Cedar Glen:

“ Cedar Glen field trip was a great experience which also took stress off of school and stuff”- Bailey.

“ The staff at Cedar Glen were extremely helpful and friendly”- Nash

“ I love Cedar Glen very much and I can’t wait to go there on the school trip next year”- Archie.

“ I experienced fun activities such as the high ropes and mountain biking”- Allie.

In conclusion the trip was a very positive experience for all of the students in the class. We are very happy that we were able to go on the trip, we want to thank Cedar Glen for a wonderful experience. And we would also like to extend this thank you to Dayna for taking us to Cedar Glen.

Enabling Change

In the beginning of May the YMCA Academy participated in the program Enabling Change. Throughout the week students from 3 classes spent the day in wheelchairs to experience some of the challenges and barriers people in wheelchairs may experience within the school and the neighbourhood. At the end of the week Enabling Change came to the YMCA Academy and brought in some athletic wheelchairs. They gave us the opportunity to play wheelchair basketball with a professional wheelchair basketball player.

One of the ways OWSA (Ontario Wheelchair Sports Association) educates people on wheelchair athletics is through allowing people to participate in a game of wheelchair basketball. We learned that wheelchair basketball is a way for people in wheelchairs to continue to live an active healthy lifestyle. Students at the Academy were very excited to have the chance to participate in this activity and learned a lot about the sport.

Enabling Change is a program within the OWSA. It is an organization that aims to educate students about; invisible and visible disabilities, proper vocabulary when talking about disabilities, understanding the barriers faced by wheelchair users, inclusiveness and respect. The YMCA Academy decided to participate in this program to see how accessible our school is, and to see if any improvements need to be made to make our school to be more accessible.

These are the few things that some of the YMCA students had to say about the activity:

“I now realize some of the difficulties people in wheelchairs face because maybe their favorite place isn’t accessible, and how we should make those places accessible” – Archie Grant

“ The moment I sat in the wheelchair I didn’t even know how to turn, it was a really hard and time consuming thing to learn but eventually I got the hang of it. I now see how people in wheelchairs feel”- Mahadir Khan

“This activity showed me more about the daily life of a wheelchair user and showed me the struggles of it and the benefits” – James

“This program is a good way of recognizing some barriers within our school and community that you would never have thought about, as well as strategies to make our community more accessible to everyone.” – Jonah

Overall this opportunity was a very positive experience and left the students with a better understanding of the daily life of someone in a wheelchair. Enabling Change helped give us a new insight into how accessible our school and community is. The students at the school found a new perspective towards wheelchairs and realized how accessibility is important not only in school but all over our community.

Check out more photos from this event on our Facebook page!

For more Information: https://owsa.ca/education-awareness/enabling-change/

Youth Exchange Canada: Toronto – Day Three

On Tuesday we went to Niagara Falls. As soon as we arrived, we got some free time to hang out on Clifton Hill. We all split up and went our own ways. Some of us went to an arcade, some watched a few small films, some went on a walk and some went to a haunted house.

Jake and Lindsey (students from The YMCA Academy) along with Kali (Student from the Living and Learning Center) went into the haunted house and this was their adventure:

Jake: “Someone get in front of me so I can film this!”
Kali: “Lindsey, get in front of us”
Lindsey (in a scared voice): “Kali come with me!”

They all heard scary noises and felt around them. Jake started freaking out because something touched his face and started running to finish the haunted house as fast as he could. Kali and Lindsey ran to catch up with Jake. Jake again saw something behind him and immediately fell to the ground!! They all ran out of the haunted house freaking out.- What an adventure!!!

We all regrouped to eat lunch with a great view of the falls and share our Clifton Hill’s Adventures. Then we started the slow walk down to the water’s edge, collecting a red plastic poncho on the way. Onto the “Hornblower” we went (used to be called The Maid of the Mist). With a commentary in the background and the spray of the falls in front, we quickly took pictures before the power of the falls turned us around for the return journey.

We had a few more minutes before getting back on the bus, so we spent our time walking up river and enjoying the views. Back on the bus we got and headed towards Toronto. We had a lovely dinner hosted by Ryan’s family at their recording studio, TA2. We had chicken, potatoes and rice and for people that are vegetarians they had salad. We also learned about the process of recording and putting together the layers of audio for a commercial. After we had dinner, some of us went to the movies and some went back to their homes or hostel. The people that went to the movies had a choice of three movies which were Logan, LIFE, and Kong Skull Island.

Check out more photos from this event on our Facebook page!