BY BILL PHILLIPS
You want some fitness activities? You’ll get them at the YMCA of Northern B.C.’s Megathon, set for March 10.
The annual event, which is a major fundraiser for the YMCA’s Strong Kids program, will have it all … cycle-thon, Zumba-thon, aerobics-thon.
About 100 people, either as individuals or teams, will take part in fitness classes, Zumba classes, aerobics exercises, circuit training, bootcamp and more during the morning of the Megathon, while raising money for the YMCA. Participants can raise money by simply paying to register for the Megathon or collect pledges. Of, if fitness isn’t your thing, you can donate at any time during the year online or in person.
“All of the money that we bring in goes to support YMCA Strong Kids,” said Stephanie Mikalishen, manager of philanthropy, marketing, and camps. “Strong Kids is a fancy name for our annual campaign which supports all of the great work that we do, as a charity, across northern B.C.”
She said one-in-five families need financial assistance to participate in YMCA camps and programs. The YMCA subsidizes more than $200,000 in memberships every year, one-in-four youngsters who attend camp, and $50,000 in transportation for their neighbourhood scholars program.
“It’s our Strong Kids campaign that makes all of that work possible,” she said. “This year we have a goal of $60,000 and that will go to support 250 local children to participate in those programs.”
She said the the YMCA believes that health is a right, not a privilege.
“We believe that no one should be turned away by an inability to pay,” she said.
The Neighbourhood Scholars program is a pre-school program for at-risk kids in one of the downtown Prince George neighbourhoods.
“We know that vulnerable children entering kindergarten are the children who need pre-school the most,” she said. “We also know that one of the biggest barriers for low income families is transportation.”
The program picks up, takes them to pre-school, and returns them home at the end of the day.
The YMCA also, of course, runs camp programs Camp Kanannaq and Aurora Leadership, which takes 13- to 15-year-olds to Mount Robson and canoeing the Bowron Lakes.
If you take part in the Megathon, and you should, one of the people who will take you through your paces is Bruce Siddall, who is an instructor at the YMCA. Siddall has been involved with the YMCA for years and eventually started teaching classes.
“It was a great way to give back,” he said. “I’d been taking classes for a number of years, and thought it would be a great way to pass some of my experience on to others.”
He says social atmosphere of the YMCA makes it worthwhile for him.
“It’s just a great place to work out,” he said. “(The Megathon) is a great way to come out and fun and challenge other businesses.”
Siddall will be giving cycle-fit classes and gravity classes during the Megathon.
“Some come on out, try one of the classes, try all of the classes,” he said. “It’s just going to be a great day of fun.”
You can register for the Megathon at the YMCA’s website or at the facility on Massey Drive.