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  • Celebrating Chinese New Year

    Happy Chinese New YearThe Capital District YMCA is celebrating Chinese New Year at many of our branches. Here's some things that you might not have known about Chinese New Year.

    1. The 15-day festival, which starts on January 31 this year, is based on a combination of lunar and solar movements. It starts with the first new moon of each calendar year and ends on the full moon.

    2. Food is a big part of Chinese New Year celebrations, and many meals are eaten with family and friends. Some traditional dishes for the holidays are nian gao cake, steamed rice pudding, long noodles, and dumplings.

    3. Homes are cleaned top to bottom before the beginning of the new year, and all cleaning equipment is put away before New Year's Eve because it's believed that good fortune may be swept away if cleaning is done on New Year's Day.

    4. The Chinese New Year's Eve and New Year's Day holidays are very family-centered celebrations. Many dinners are held with family and friends, deceased relatives are honoured, and children receive gifts and participate in traditions like cleaning ahead of the celebration and the Lantern Festival.

    5. Before New Year's Day, homes are decorated with trays of oranges and tangerines (which are also brought by visitors during the holiday), a candy tray with eight kinds of dried sweet fruits, and live plants and vases of fresh flowers. Wishes for the new year are written on red paper.

    6. There is a focus on ancestors and family members who have passed during the festival. On New Year's Eve, a dinner for ancestors is arranged at the family banquet table, so that all family members, deceased and living, can ring in the new year with a communal feast (called weilu), according to Nations Online.

    7. Legend holds that the Chinese New Year began with a battle against a mythical beast called the Nian, who would come on the first day of the new year to eat children, livestock, and crops. In order to protect themselves from the Nian, villages put food in front of their doors believing that the creature would eat that and leave everything else alone. It was believed that the Nian was afraid of the colour red and firecrackers, so people would hang red lanterns outside and set off firecrackers.

    8. Firecrackers are set off on New Year's Eve to send out the old year and welcome in the new. In China, officials are trying to discourage fireworks displays this year in order to reduce air pollution, reports The Guardian.

    9. There are different traditions for each day of the New Year celebration. Many people abstain from meat on the first day, as that is believed to bring good luck for the year. Instead they eat a vegetarian dish called jai, which contains ingredients like lotus seed (signifying having many male children), dried bean curd (representing wealth and happiness), and bamboo shoots, explains Chow.com. Fresh tofu is not included, as the white colour is considered bad luck and representative of death and misfortune.

    10. On the second day, the Chinese pray to both their ancestors and to all of the gods. It's believed that this day is the birthday of all dogs, as well, so canine friends get a lot of love (and food!) on day two.

    11. On days three and four, sons-in-law are expected to pay respects to their parents-in-law.

    12. The fifth day of the Chinese New Year is called Po Woo or Po Wu, reports China.org, and on that day people stay home to welcome the god of wealth. It's believed that visiting family and friends on this day will bring bad luck.

    13. Visiting is back on from days six to 10, where the Chinese also visit temples to pray for wealth and health in the coming year.

    14. On day seven, farmers display their harvest and make a celebratory drink from seven types of vegetables. As day two is considered the birthday of dogs, day seven is the birthday of human beings, and long noodles (for longevity) and raw fish (for success) are eaten as part of the celebrations. Check out this recipe for long life noodles with chicken.

    15. The Fujian people have a family reunion dinner again on day eight, with midnight prayers to Tian Gong, the god of heaven (and the namesake of China's first space station).

    16. Offerings to the Jade Emperor are made on day nine. In Chinese mythology, the Jade Emperor is the ruler of heaven and the creator of the universe, according to Godchecker.com.

    17. On days 10 through 12, friends and relatives receive dinner invitations. That means that on the 13th day, people eat rice congee and mustard greens to recover from days of rich meals. Check out the recipe for congee here.

    18. The 14th day is spent getting ready for the Lantern Festival on the 15th night. On the fifteenth day, when the moon is full, the Lantern Festival is held. As part of the festivities, children carry lanterns in a nighttime parade.

    19. Red is a key colour for New Year's celebrations, as it symbolizes a bright and happy future. People wear red clothing during the festivities, explains Colour Lovers, and children, unmarried friends, and close relatives are given little red envelopes (lai see) with money inside for good luck.

    20. This year will mark the beginning of the Year of the Horse: this animal signifies surprises in adventure and romance, and people born during this year are believed to be good communicators, kind, talkative, independent, and impatient.

    Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/01/24/chinese-new-year-facts_n_4659549.html

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  • A Book For Kids

    Book Drive


    If you could give a child any book to read, what would it be? Leave your suggestions in the comments below.


    Our book drive is in honor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. It serves as a time to re-commit ourselves to our communities through service. Youth volunteers of the Capital District YMCA Achiever’s and Youth in Government programs, in partnership with the MLK Memorial Observance Children’s Literacy Drive and Albany City School District are coming together to support children’s literacy! All Capital District YMCA branches, as well as most CAP COM branches, will be collecting NEW books for children pre-K through high school from January 20-February 17. The books will go directly back to children in New York State schools.


    We will also be celebrating the the Day of Service with a breakfast, sponsored by CAP COM Federal Credit Union, on January 20, 2014 to highlight Dr. King’s vision and to engage more volunteers. To attend, RSVP to Crystal Colvin at 518.869.3500 x 9909.


    DATE: January 20, 2014
    TIME: 8:00 – 9:30 a.m.
    LOCATION: Empire State Plaza Concourse Level Albany, NY
    Meeting Room #6

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  • Festival of Nations

    The Capital District YMCA was represented at the Festival of Nations in Abany last weekend. We were able to hear member stories, meet new connections within the community and share our stories of global engagement. The parade of nations and performances were a beautiful way to celebrate our world... Not to mention the delicious food (we tried Argentinean and Indonesian) and beautiful dress (Ethiopian pictured below).

    Parade of Nations/Indonesian cuisine/Ethiopian dress

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  • Lights On Afterschool

    Capital District YMCA to Host Lights On Afterschool Celebration October 17 

    7,500 Events Nationwide Focus on the Need for Afterschool Programs

    Capital District YMCA joins the Afterschool Alliance to celebrate Lights On Afterschool, a national event highlighting the importance of after-school programs.

    Set for Thursday, October 17, Lights On Afterschool celebrates that after-school programs give kids the chance to learn about science and math, play sports, build their reading skills, work with mentors, and have other experiences that can change and shape their lives forever.

    Capital District YMCA will showcase the need for expanding after-school opportunities so that every child who needs a program has access to one. Through the Y’s Annual Scholarship program, children and families in need receive free or reduced access to life-changing programs, including after-school programs. Last year, the Y and its generous community supporters helped more than 47,000 individuals focus on youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.

    Lights On Afterschool welcomes hundreds of parents, supporters and community members from across the Capital District. 

    For more information or a list of other events, please call 518.869.3500.

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  • Arts Contest

    Arts WeekY-Arts Week is October 7 - 13 and we’re kicking it off with a fun contest to showcase the amazing artists who live, work, and play in our area.

    We are looking for your interpretation of our theme:
    What makes you grateful?

    Submit your drawings, paintings, photos, video or poetry to your YMCA no later than Sunday, November 3 for judging. Judging begins immediately. Digital files can be sent to news@cdymca.org.

    YMCA Prizes will be awarded for ages 3-8, 8-18, and Adult (18+). Entries may be chosen for display and YMCA promotional materials. Non-Digital files can be entered at any Capital District YMCA location will be returned to the artists if requested.

    For more information, contact a program director at 518.869.3500 or email news@cdymca.org.

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  • What Makes You Smile?

    Happy Smile Day! What makes you smile?


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  • Grand Opening of Healthy Living Center Marks Advancement in Wellness for Capital Region

    Healthy Living Center Grand OpeningThe Capital District YMCA, CDPHP and Hannaford Supermarkets today offered the community a first look at the future of health and wellness in the Capital Region at the grand opening of the all-new Healthy Living Center.

    Senior leaders from the three organizations joined community officials to unveil the innovative, community-centered wellness facility, which offers a holistic approach to health and well-being, as well as assistance with health insurance needs.

    Located inside Hannaford Supermarkets at 900 Central Avenue in Albany, NY, the Healthy Living Center represents a unique partnership between three leading Capital Region organizations that are committed to promoting health and wellness.

    The 5,277-square-foot Healthy Living Center offers the community a variety of programs that support healthy living and wellness, such as group exercise, weight management and senior fitness classes, nutrition seminars and personal training, as well as programs that address specific health needs, such as Pedaling for Parkinson’s and diabetes prevention.

    “Every day, there are individuals in this community who are struggling and believe health and well-being isn’t something they can hope for. They may be dealing with financial burdens, have tried and failed to be more active, or feel isolated and without the support of family and friends. Whatever their challenges, we’re here to extend a hand and an invitation: give us a chance to help,” explained David Brown, the President and CEO of the Capital District YMCA.

    “CDPHP takes seriously our responsibility to support the health, vibrancy and quality of life for the communities we serve. Whether you’re taking a wellness class or selecting health care coverage, the Healthy Living Center will provide a convenient space for local residents to meet their health and wellness needs,” said Dr. John D. Bennett, President and CEO of CDPHP.

    “Hannaford is deeply committed to addressing the health and wellness needs of the communities in which we live and operate. The Healthy Living Center will provide a critical service to individuals and families throughout the Capital Region,” said Rudy DiPietro, vice president of retail operations for Hannaford Supermarkets. “We look forward to welcoming our shoppers to this pioneering facility which will undoubtedly serve as a new model for community health services.”

    The Healthy Living Center features a group exercise room, fitness equipment, personal lockers and shower facilities. Member services representatives from CDPHP will be available daily to answer questions regarding health and insurance needs, and will also be available to help people understand their Medicare and New York State Health Exchange options.

    The Healthy Living Center will formally open to the public during an Open House on Saturday, October 5 from noon to 4 p.m. The afternoon will include tours of the Center, exercise demonstrations, wellness screenings and giveaways.

    A full schedule of current programming can be found at www.healthyalbany.org. Fees may apply for some offerings.

    The Healthy Living Center will be open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.

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  • Ultimate Summer Games Set For Tomorrow

    The Capital District YMCA will host the Ultimate Summer Games powered by BlueRock Energy on Friday, July 26, 2013 at YMCA Adventure Camp (formerly Camp Nassau) in Guilderland (Rt.155). 


    Ultimate Summer Games is a celebration that brings more than 800 YMCA campers from across the Capital District to Adventure Camp. Campers participate in a variety of games that showcase the Y’s four core values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility; values that are at the core of Y summer camp.

    Capital District YMCA day camps offer a safe environment where kids and teens have the chance to build self-esteem, learn new skills such as the value of teamwork, and gain self-confidence as they try new experiences and make new friends.

    Activities begin with an opening parade of campers at 9:30AM and conclude at 12:15PM.

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  • Am I At Risk?

    Tuesday, March 26, is Diabetes Alert Day and as part of the Y's commitment to healthy living, the Capital District YMCA is encouraging people to learn the risks of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes and what they can do to prevent the disease. Take the test below to see if you should contact the Y to learn more about our Diabetes Prevention Program.

    An estimated one of every three U.S. adults has prediabetes, yet just 7% of those with prediabetes know they have it. Prediabetes increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Take the quiz below to learn if you are at risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

    What Is Prediabetes?

    Prediabetes is a condition in which individuals have blood glucose levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. People with prediabetes are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.


    Prediabetes Screening Widget

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  • New York State African American Public Service Award

    Last night our very own David Brown was honored with the 2013 New York State African American Public Service Award! Congratulations David!

    Alfonso David and David BrownAward Winners

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