Jump Stretch at the Y Helped Kennedy Catholic Golden Eagles Win State Championship

Carl LaRosaCongratulations to the Kennedy Catholic Golden Eagles basketball team on their second consecutive State Championship title! Their off-season strength and conditioning coach is our very own Carl LaRosa, a full-time staff member at the Central YMCA of Youngstown. He has been running the team’s strength and conditioning program for the past two years, and in that time, players had no downtime due to ankle or knee injuries and have won two State Championship titles!

Carl has a degree in Exercise Science and Human Performance, various certifications, and has worked with athletes of all experience levels for over twenty-six years. The Jump Stretch Training System was invented by his father-in-law, legendary coach Dick Hartzell. This system uses large, continuous-loop bands to increase a participant’s vertical jump, speed and explosiveness, while preventing injuries. Many professional, college and high school athletic teams use this system, including the Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants, Cleveland Indians, New York Yankees, Portland Trailblazers and The Ohio State University. US Army Soldiers at Fort Bragg and US Navy Seals use Jump Stretch as part of their physical fitness programs, as well.
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The Kennedy basketball team began training with Carl in May and continued into the season. The program replaced barbell squats (which hurt lower backs) and Olympic lifts (which take too long to teach) with squats performed using huge rubber bands that can exert between 15-1000 lbs. of pressure.

Coach Hartzell created the system to “allow athletes to train quick to be quick, safely.” He emphasizes that it is safer for joints and easier to learn, producing great results. For example, vertical jumps for the Eagles increased up to three inches each month as a team, and without injuries.

Head Coach Rick Mancino and Assistant Varsity Coach Justin Magestro are both very happy about their team’s use of the Jump Stretch training system at the Y. “Over the last two years, my team has been trained specifically by Carl and without hesitation I attribute a lot of our success to him,” said Mancino, “The last two years our team had no injuries, compared to the previous five years when we had many. Carl is very organized and relates well to the players while still demanding a vigorous workout.”

The team has had many players go on to collegiate programs. Coach Mancino cited one of his players, Sagaba Konate, who went on to West Virginia University, “the strength and conditioning coach was very impressed with how advanced he was with this type of training since it is a part of their training program too.” Magestro’s son Drew has been accepted to the University of Pittsburgh, and more players are gaining attention. “Carl is a first-class guy and without a doubt I would highly recommend him and the Jump Stretch program at the Y to any team or person who wants to make themselves better.” Carl is currently assisting Cardinal Mooney High School’s football strength coach in implementing their own Jump Stretch program.

If you are interested in learning more about the Jump Stretch Training System, you’re invited to attend one of the free orientation classes held every Monday at 5:00 pm at the Central YMCA.

Maker Movement at Camp Fitch

nullAlthough Mother Nature has shifted Camp Fitch’s sand to the east end of the beach, the patient beachcomber is not disappointed upon arrival at the extended lakeshore by the first pier. There, sculptures of driftwood, beach glass, rocks, and man-made trash have been made into artistic treasures that welcome the hundreds of campers who call this beach their home. Whether part of the Beachcomber Rope (a four-day focused small group program) or Exploratory Period at Lake Erie, Camp Fitch’s beach has been an inspiration for the Maker Movement that has flourished at camp this summer.

nullThe Maker Movement at Camp Fitch is centered around modifying, manipulating, and combining tangible materials to produce art or to learn more about the natural world. In a nutshell, kids and staff are “making” things using creativity to solve problems, while developing perseverance and grit in the process. At Nerdy Derby, old archery targets are used to build the body for cars that race down the Pinewood Derby track built at the Central Branch in the early 80s. Weight and friction are adjusted in the cars using objects found around camp from brass bullet casings to Lake Erie shale.
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Every night after dinner, Ships (two cabin groups) build unity through creative Voyages that often flourish with the maker mentality. For example, eight 15-year-old girls have created candle holders for their Candlelight candles using tree wedges, paint and a drill to make a mementnullo that proudly displays the promise they will make at Candlelight until they return for summer 2018. Installment Art is also prevalent at the entrance to Friend Circle where painted rocks line the path, while the Adventure Playground by the new Boathouse dawns painted stumps and logs as part of the Painting Rope. In the background, a rope bridge that can be configured in different ways by campers is nearing completion.

Summer 2017 has been a record breaker with over 2,300 campers and four full-to-capacity sessions. With so many campers enjoying our Great Camp on a Great Lake, large group size would seem to be the norm. However, the Maker Movement at Camp Fitch has created an atmosphere with small group activities in which campers gain self-confidence through creativity that develops perseverance and grit – making kids better, forever.

YMCA Volunteers at Green Youngstown Streetscape Event

nullThe YMCA had ten volunteers from both Central and Davis participate in this year’s Youngstown Streetscape event on June 3rd. The Y included both members and staff from various departments and was involved in planting and mulching projects throughout the day in front of buildings along Federal Street, including the Commerce Building and City Centre One. The team sought out areas in which flowers, greenery and mulch were needed, weeded and picked up litter.
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Kyle Hillman, Central Y Senior Membership Director and volunteer, explains the importance of joining the effort, “Giving back to the city that has given so much to this valley, the people and the nation as a whole is truly a privilege. Beautifying it with vibrant colors, landscaping and litter cleanup affords residents and visitors alike the opportunity to see that people are invested in the continued success of Youngstown. A sense of community, pride and accomplishment fills me when I drive into or walk around downtown and look at the efforts put forth by all those involved in Streetscape.”

Youngstown Streetscape, which started as a small effort twenty years ago with a handful of dedicated volunteers, has evolved into an annual city-wide tradition, attracting over 800 volunteers this year. The increased interest in the 20th annual event has allowed Youngstown CityScape to expand their Streetscape event to reach even more areas of Youngstown beyond downtown. Organizers and volunteers brought CityScape to more than fifty locations across the city.

Artists Shine at the Y

More than sixty local artists participated in the seventh-annual Slightly Off-Centered Art Show at the Davis Family YMCA. The show was open to artists from local adult-care centers in our community. The opening reception, on June 11th, was attended by at least thirty of the artists, with their guests. This art show is held for residents of the local senior-living community as a social gathering, and fun activity for all in attendance.

Suzanne Gray, Arts and Humanities Coordinator at the Davis Family YMCA explains, “It began when a Y member, who was also the activities director at Briarfield at Ashley Circle, stopped me in the lobby and asked if I’d be interested in creating a real art class (as opposed to crafts) at her facility. A woman with ALS had expressed the desire to take a painting class, and was not able to leave air conditioning. Jane passed away a few months after we started, but by then the class had many other interested residents. Gradually, other residential centers heard about the class and asked to start clubs of their own.
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Each center has their own first, second and third place awards, and there are eight more prestigious awards that are given away to the group as a whole. Some of the winners from this year’s show were, Ron Byers from Briarfield at Ashley Circle, who won Best of Show. Juror’s awards went to Claudette Cook of Briarfield at Ashley Circle, Maxine Martin of Countryside at Elmwood, and Dorothie Wiley of Inn at Glenellen.

The YMCA taJayaira Grhimkes pride in featuring outstanding works of art from local artists. Recently, YMCA board member, Tim Bresnahan and his family purchased a painting by local artist, Jayaira Grhim. The piece, which was donated to the Y, depicts Grhim’s childhood in Youngstown, and in Campbell. She is a senior at Youngstown State University studying painting, and owner of AGarts LLC, a business that focuses on inspiring individuals through creativity.

“Jayaira’s every bit as wonderful in person as the write up on the display card next to her painting at the Y suggests. She is a wonderful example of what we try to inspire at the Y. A child of poverty, she has used every opportunity to not only lift herself up, but to mentor others along the way. I can’t say enough about her commitment to the community.” Jayaira’s piece, “Memories” is now on public display at the Central YMCA.

Splash into Summer Water Safety Event

Splash into SummerMemorial Day weekend is always a busy weekend for our Y because it marks the opening of our outdoor recreation facility and outdoor pools! We also take the opportunity to focus on water safety awareness with our annual Splash into Summer event. May is National Water Safety Month and the event provides children and guardians with information about how to be safe in and around water and what to do in case of an emergency.

Participants learned the importance of constant adult supervision, always getting permission before getting in the water, and a few “survival skills” including floating, treading water and what to do in case our children fall into the water.
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Splash into SummerParents and guardians in attendance received a Water Watcher card. The Water Watcher card is a reminder to uphold the responsibilities of being a Water Watcher, which includes:
• Assignment to watch your children in the water and never leave them unattended
• Regularly scanning the bottom of the pool
• Completely avoiding talking on a phone, reading or engaging in any conversations
• Administering CPR and assigning someone to call 911 in the event of an emergency
• Ability to locate, and knowledge of how to use all on site pool safety equipment
Both guardians and swimmers also signed a National Pool Safety Pledge. (https://www.poolsafely.gov/pledge/)
Events like the Splash into Summer water safety event have a single purpose: create a safe and comfortable environment for both children and adults who are around any body of water.
Togetherhood at the YMCA at the Youngstown Marathon

Togetherhood at the YMCAThis year marked the first ever Youngstown Marathon. The race received an overwhelming response as over 1,000 runners from Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia took to the streets of Youngstown.

More than fourteen volunteers from Togetherhood at the YMCA passed out water and Gatorade® to thirsty runners at two separate water stations.

“It was great to be a part of such a fun event representing Youngstown and our beautiful Mill Creek Park! So many of the runners expressed their thanks and appreciation for our being there.” said Togetherhood member, Deb Maruskin. “When I heard about the 1st Youngstown Marathon being organized, I brought it to the committee as a volunteer project. We are supposed to look for ways to volunteer in our community and I felt it was a great way to involve people in a one day event that did not require a lot of preparation or any special skill, and a fun way to promote Youngstown!”

Togetherhood is the YMCA’s signature program for its commitment to Social Responsibility. It is a volunteer-driven program dedicated to planning and executing four service projects per year. If you’d like to join the Togetherhood at the YMCA committee, or volunteer for a service project, please contact Chris Hughes at (330) 480-5655 or chughes@youngstownymca.org for more information.

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