South Shore YMCA July Inclusion Newsletter
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CAMP - It's For Everyone!

Make a Summer - Make a Friend. That's our motto for the South Shore YMCA's campers this summer at Camp Gordon Clark, Quincy Day Camp, Nature Adventure and Germantown Camp. All camps are off and running successfully entering week 3 of the summer. With inclusion supports in place, campers with diverse abilities are provided with an individualized plan that focuses on their strengths and goals yet provides specific accommodations if needed to help ensure a successful camp experience. What makes this process possible? Our counselors of course and the overall support and direction from our camp leadership team and inclusion counselors. Through a partnership with the National Inclusion Project, a series of staff trainings were offered in June prior to the start of camp (see story in Inclusion News).
Health Education Highlight
Participants of LIVESTRONG at the YMCA at the Y's Quincy Branch Celebrate Completion of Program!

On Tuesday, March 15th, the South Shore Y's Quincy Branch launched the first session of LIVESTRONG at the YMCA, a 12-week, small group program designed for adult cancer survivors. Over the course of the program, participants engaged in a variety of activities designed to build muscle mass and strength, increase flexibility and endurance and improve functional ability. Some of the activities included Zumba, Water Yoga and Gentle Yoga, Nutrition, Pilates, and a special presentation by Wayne Wescott PH.D., titled "Build Muscle, Improve Health: Benefits Associated with Resistance Exercise." 

On Thursday, June 2nd, participants of the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA session celebrated their completion of the program. The group of 10 cancer survivors spent their final class reminiscing about the positive experience and journey that this program provided, and how, together, they successfully conquered the challenges that each class set forth with the unconditional support of the entire group every step of the way.

At the conclusion of the class, each participant received a certificate for their completion of the program, an emotional feat among the group of ten cancer survivors, their instructors, Y staff and volunteers. 
Inclusion News
SSYMCA Day Camp Counselors Participate in Inclusion Trainings!

Over the weeks prior to the start of camp at the South Shore YMCA, counselors from all four SSYMCA Day Camp locations - Camp Gordon Clark in Hanover, Quincy Day Camp, Nature Adventure Day Camp in Norwell and Germantown Day Camp - participated in an inclusion-specific training as part of their overall camp counselor trainings. Led by the South Shore YMCA's Association Director of Inclusion, Lisa Drennan, and Inclusion Coordinator, Emmy Casagrande, counselors and camp leadership were provided with a variety of learning models, inclusion instruction, hands-on exercises and role plays, to highlight the skills and strategies needed to ensure a successful camp experience for all. 

"This is my fifth year as a camp counselor at the Y," stated Taylor Parry, Camp Inclusion Counselor at Quincy Day Camp. "This year's inclusion trainings allowed our counselors the opportunity to learn and practice skills that will help each and every camper feel welcome and comfortable at camp."

Participants also heard from Heather Wilson, mother of a Camp Gordon Clark camper, who delivered a moving testimonial about the benefits and impact of an inclusive camp environment from a parent's perspective.

"The involvement and dialogue of the counselors throughout the training was very encouraging," stated Lisa. "Entering year 3 of our camp inclusion initiative, there has been tremendous growth in the ownership and receptiveness to how valuable their role is in ensuring an inclusive camp culture."
New Partnerships Bring 'Art is for Everyone' to Hanover Day!

In 2012, the South Shore YMCA, Cardinal Cushing Centers and Friendship Home, sharing a common commitment to the arts and inclusion of all, joined forces to host the first-ever Art is for Everyone event. Held annually at the respective sites of its hosts, Art is for Everyone was created as a way to invite members of the South Shore community to participate in and celebrate art and the artists with developmental disabilities who were supported by the partnering agencies. New England Village joined as the fourth partner in this event in 2014, presenting an opportunity to share more art with new audiences. 

On Saturday, June 25th, Art is for Everyone was taken into the broader community and made its debut at Hanover Day! This exciting new step is the result of a partnership between event hosts and the Hanover Cultural Council. Art is for Everyone, which took place from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. was a free event that welcomed individuals of all ages and abilities to enjoy a day of activities and fun in celebration of the arts and the organizations that make this event possible.

Guests at this year's event had the opportunity to participate in the creation of a community art piece titled "The Anchor" for the Town of Hanover and visit a variety of vendor tables that were on display to learn about the organizations featured. 
SSYMCA Volunteer Opportunities Provide Job Skill Development and Hands-on Learning!
Looking for an opportunity to transfer her vocational skills learned at school, while performing school-based jobs in real-world work places, Emma Wilkinson, a student at Norwell High School, began volunteering at the South Shore Natural Science Center last year in a variety of capacities. Volunteering one hour per week, Emma assisted in trail clean-up, mass mailings, filling water bottles and helping to keep the children's area and kitchen clean. This year, Emma increased her volunteering at the South Shore Natural Science Center to 1.5 hours per week, as well as dedicating an additional one hour per week to the Y's Association Resources office in Norwell.

"The collaboration with the South Shore YMCA has been instrumental in providing Emma with meaningful volunteer opportunities within the community," stated Kelly O'Keefe, Special Education Teacher. "They based the work tasks on her interest level and her abilities. Emma stepped up to the tasks and was able to perform them with increasing independence, which is one of our major goals for her."

The South Shore YMCA thanks Emma for all of her hard work and dedication to her job functions throughout her time volunteering! "Emma was a valuable part of the team both at the South Shore Natural Science Center and Association Resources," stated Lisa Drennan, Association Director of Inclusion, South Shore YMCA. "It was a pleasure seeing her smiling face each week; she was very attentive to her work and provided us much needed assistance with a variety of tasks."
Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation Makes a Splash!
It's a story many of us remember all too well, the tragic news that Christopher Reeve, Superman in the movies of the early 1980s, fell and suffered a severe and paralyzing spinal cord injury on May 27, 1995. It seemed, because of his on-screen persona, impossible, but it was true. But, as we all know, too, Christopher Reeve never gave up. Such is the message that the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation sends out today.

This spring, the South Shore YMCA received notification that its Partnership Program would receive a boost from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. A natural extension of the Partnership Program, the Aquatics Partnership Program takes place in the pool. And that is where the Foundation is making its local impact. It recently made grants of over $735,482 to 107 nonprofit organizations in the United States that improve opportunities, access and day-to-day quality of life for families and individuals living with disabilities, including funds with which the South Shore YMCA purchased adaptive aquatics equipment for use in the Quincy Y pools. Be sure to look for them in use the next time you visit the Quincy Y!
Educational Lesson Showcases Common Missions and Values Among YMCA's From Different Continent!

This past January, Lisa Drennan, Association Director of Inclusion at the South Shore YMCA, took on the role of co-chair of the National YMCA Diverse Abilities Working Group, alongside Karen Friedman of Hockomock Area YMCA. The National YMCA Diverse Abilities Working Group was formed as a platform to share and develop best practices for inclusion of individuals with diverse abilities. 

Recently, Lisa's and Karen's work took them south; not south meaning Florida or Texas, but over the border to South America where a request from the YMCA in Uruguay was made around learning about how inclusion programs for those with disabilities and diverse abilities work in the United States.

Together, Lisa and Karen, along with the leadership of their Y-USA team of Chad, National Specialist for Diversity & Inclusion, and Safaya, Manager, Administration Diversity & Inclusion, and translation by Renata, Senior Director of Global Advancement, YMCA of the USA, and Carmen, Diversity and Inclusion Intern, YMCA of the USA, a conference call was set up to begin a relationship with their colleagues from YMCA Montevideo and YMCA Uruguay. Directions were sent to all involved on how to call in and view the PowerPoint presentations provided in both English and Spanish. 

From the Y-USA, Lisa and Karen were able to share their vision regarding inclusion of people of all abilities, a Diversity Statement and an overview of the initiatives, philosophies and structure from both the Hockomock Area YMCA and the South Shore YMCA. The opportunity for Q&A provided further sharing and learning for their colleagues from YMCA Montevideo and YMCA Uruguay, who were curious and eager to learn. 

By the end of the two hour conference call, a bond was formed among everyone involved. Laughs were shared and a promise was exchanged between the 'teachers' and 'students' that they should continue this process of teaching inclusive practices, as there was still much more to share.

For Lisa and Karen, it was overall an interesting and exciting experience learning about these YMCA's, their vision and structure of their branches, existing programs and their commitment to improving their inclusive strategies and promoting social inclusion. The conference call showcased how vastly similar the mission and structure of our YMCA's are and the common commitment to inclusion for persons with diverse abilities, despite the distance between us. 

For inquires regarding these or any

Inclusion Programs at the South Shore YMCA, contact Lisa Drennan, Association Director of Inclusion, at or 
781-264-9400 x 3119 or visit our 

South Shore YMCA | South Shore YMCA | 91 Longwater Circle | Norwell | MA | 02061