YMCA Newcomer Connections Prepares for Syrian Refugee Response

Posted: November 26, 2015

Saint John, NB— Syria’s civil war is the worst humanitarian disaster of our time. After 4 years of civil war almost 12 million Syrians are now homeless. There are 8 million internally displaced people inside Syria and 4 million refugees in neighbouring countries.

The Government of Canada has committed to resettle Syrian refugees through the Government Assisted Refugee process. In addition, a number of community groups have stepped forward to privately sponsor refugees.

As one of three providers in New Brunswick of the Resettlement Assistance Program, Y Newcomer Connections has a long history of welcoming government assisted refugees to Saint John and helping them get settled in the community. We are now preparing to welcome Syrian government assisted refugees and support groups that are privately sponsoring refugees.

With some of the refugees potentially arriving within the next couple of weeks, the team is ensuring all systems are in place to welcome and support the newcomers.
A new web page has been launched so the people in the community are able to see the various ways that they can get involved and support this important initiative. There are opportunities to volunteer as part of a Welcome Team, Housing and Donations Team, Interpreter Team or the Documentation Team. There are opportunities to give financially and through gently used clothing, household items and furniture.
A number of information sessions have been scheduled including Private Sponsorship Training and Public Information Sessions. All session dates and locations are listed on the website.
For additional information, visit the website: ymcanewcomers.com or call 634-4860.


Saint John Regional Y to Celebrate Grand Opening

Posted: October 20, 2015

The new Saint John Regional Y will celebrate their grand opening on Saturday, October 24th from 12 noon to 4:00pm. The public is welcome to come to the Y and participate in free activities. There will be food, games and prizes to be won including a family membership to the Y.

The official Grand Opening Ceremony will take place at 1:00pm. There will be many special guests in attendance including Y Canada’s Board Chair Craig Rowe and CEO Scott Haldane.

The YMCA Strut for Strong Kids will also be held on Saturday. This 2.5km Walk/Run starts at 11:00 am at the old Y location on Hazen Avenue and ends at the new Y on Churchill Boulevard. Registration (by donation) starts at 10:30am at the Saint John Arts Centre.

Open House Activities Include:

11:30am – 12:15pm            Family Swim

1:00pm                                 Opening Ceremony

2:00 – 2:45pm                    Family Zumba

2:00 – 3:30pm                    Family Swim

2:45 – 3:45pm                    Family Fitness Class

2:45 – 3:45pm                    Youth Activities

3:00 – 3:45pm                    Cycle Fit

2:30 – 4:00pm                    Child Minding available

For additional information contact the Y at 693-YMCA.


YMCA seeks outstanding individuals for the 2016 Red Triangle & Leader to Watch Awards

Posted: October 13, 2015

Saint John, NB— The Y of Greater Saint John is now accepting nominations for the 2016 Red Triangle and the Leader to Watch Awards. These awards recognize individuals that are making a difference in the community.

The Red Triangle Award is presented in recognition of long and meritorious volunteer service, outstanding contributions and achievement within the Y and in the community.  The recipient of this award has been an active volunteer and demonstrated a commitment to the community throughout their lifetime. They have made a difference to Canadian society.

The Leader to Watch Award is presented to an individual, 35 years or younger, who is a role model for young adults in our community. This person demonstrates skills, enthusiasm and leadership in their work, in educational settings and as a volunteer in the community.

Many of the past recipients continue to serve the community.  Their commitment and dedication continues to inspire others to follow in their footsteps and it is very important that these extraordinary people be recognized.

The deadline for nominations is November 13, 2015. Nomination forms and additional information are available on the Y website (www.saintjohny.com/forms) or by phoning 634-4927.


YMCA Newcomer Connections to Host Information Session on Refugee Support

Posted: September 24, 2015

Saint John, NB— YMCA Newcomer Connections has a long tradition of welcoming refugees and immigrants to Saint John.

Through the Resettlement Assistance Program, Y Newcomer Connections receives an average of 65 Government assisted refugees annually, from conflict zones around the world. The staff ensure the proper infrastructures are in place to welcome and accommodate refugees in Saint John. They also provide language and employment training to many immigrants that have settled in the community.

Y Newcomer Connections is very aware of the plight of refugees and the current crisis in Iraq and Syria. The community has reached out to the Y because they want to know what they can do to help and support the current crisis. YMCA Newcomer Connections are suggesting three ways that people in the community can get involved.

1. Learn more about refugee sponsorship:

There are essentially two ways for refugees to be resettled in Canada:
1. As Government assisted refugees, through the federal Resettlement Assistance Program. Y Newcomer Connections partners with Citizenship & Immigration Canada (CIC) to receive refugees who come through this stream.
2. As privately sponsored refugees, supported fully or partially by a community group. Within the private sponsorship program, there are various streams which a community group can purse.
Y Newcomer Connections, in partnership with the Convention of Atlantic Baptist Churches, is holding two public information sessions on refugee sponsorship. To learn more please attend one of the sessions:

Wednesday, October 14
7:00 pm
Saint John Regional Y
191 Churchill Boulevard

Thursday, October 22
7:00 pm
Saint John Regional Y
191 Churchill Boulevard

2. Donate money:

Donating to grass roots organizations that are helping on the front line makes a significant difference:
• The UN Refugee Agency (http://www.unhcr.ca/) is the recognized organization that interviews and assists displaced persons to verify their status and is the first clearing point for Canada when accepting refugees. As winter approaches, the UNHCR is significantly stretched for items such as tents, medical supplies, food and clothing for the millions of Syrian refugees pouring into neighbouring countries.
• The International Red Cross (http://www.redcross.ca) is a humanitarian organization that provides essential relief to refugees by providing food, water and first aid to those most in need of it.
• The YMCA of Greater Saint John Newcomer Connections Centre (www.saintjohny.com) partners with Citizenship & Immigration Canada (CIC) to welcome and resettle Government assisted refugees from international conflict zones. Financial donations can be made to the Y Newcomer Connections Refugee Assistance Fund to help cover emergency expenses or unexpected costs that are beyond the means of refugee newcomers.
• The Convention for Atlantic Baptist Churches (http://baptist-atlantic.ca/) is the only active government approved Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH) in New Brunswick. In this position, they facilitate the private sponsorship application process for community groups looking to sponsor refugee families to come to Canada. Several faith-based communities across the Atlantic region have stepped forward to sponsor families from Syria but private sponsorship, while noble, is a costly commitment. Help support a sponsoring group by making a donation to the Convention of Atlantic Baptist Churches via Paul Carline at paul.carline@baptist-atlantic.ca.

3. Volunteer:

Through volunteering you can get to know and befriend newcomers who arrive in Saint John as refugees as they rebuild their lives. In the coming months and years, as refugees make their way to Canada from Syria and other countries, the Y Newcomer Connections Centre will be working with the Canadian Government to welcome them to the city. Volunteers are an essential part of this welcome, providing friendship, help and conversation, introducing refugees to Canadian culture, language and customs.

Join the growing number of committed volunteers who welcome and assist refugees who are new to our community. Check out a lengthy list of ways to get involved as a volunteer at Y Newcomer Connections: www.ymcanewcomers.com.

Media Contact:
Cindy Floyd, VP Philanthropy and Communications


David Walker Memorial Fund Recipient

Posted: August 17, 2015

Saint John, NB— The YMCA of Greater Saint John’s  Camp Glenburn provides a wonderful camping experience and lasting memories for those fortunate to attend the only overnight Y camp in New Brunswick.

David Walker spent many happy summers at Camp Glenburn as a camper, counsellor-in-training and counsellor. He loved the outdoors and it was at Glenburn that he honed his outdoor skills—swimming, canoeing, hiking, climbing, working as a team, and making friends. At the age of 17, when David found out that he had brain cancer, he decided to live his life as close to normal as possible, working hard, enjoying time with his friends, and seeking outdoor adventure.  During the 10 years he was ill, Dave’s Glenburn pals walked with him on his journey.  After his death in 2011, David’s family and friends established a fund to support deserving campers in developing their skills in outdoor leadership by attending Camp Glenburn’s Leadership programs.

This year the David Walker Memorial Fund recipient is Katie Barsalou, a 12 year old Saint John native. This is Katie’s second year at Camp Glenburn and she has been involved in YMCA programs for 5 years.  Katie was happy to receive the support to attend camp this summer. “I love making new friends, and it’s easier at camp,” she stated. She is just completing her first week of Leadership Camp and is looking forward to developing even more skills during the second week of camp.

The David Walker Memorial Fund assists one deserving participant each summer. Application forms are available through the YMCA of Greater Saint John; www.saintjohny.com



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