Monday, August 29, 2011


Remember Charlie Cawley? He got his second lease on life at the Alexander Family YMCA. After years of smoking, he was diagnosed with COPD.

“The doctor told me that I had the lung capacity of an 80-year-old,” Charlie said. “I was only 65!”
Charlie at the Y

Charlie turned to the Y to live a healthier life.

“I had a membership to the Y for a few years, and I figured  I might as well use it!” Charlie joked.

Today, he exercises 3 -4 times a week. He’s off all medications and says he feels like an 18-year-old.

If you know someone like Charlie, nominate him or her for the YMCA Lifestyle Change Award in conjunction with the Triangle Heart Walk on Sept. 25 at the RBC Center. Click here for a registration form.

Complete a nomination form by Sept. 2. Four winners will get a free year at the Y! Click here for nomination forms.

And be sure to register and join the YMCA of the Triangle team for a free 1-mile or 3-mile walk.


Camp Sea Gull and Camp Seafarer are our overnight camps located in Arapahoe, NC. With a focus on seamanship, discovery and can-do attitudes, Camp Sea Gull and Camp Seafarer are the best place for young people to learn, grow and thrive.

Ahoy There!

As you can see from the pictures, Hurricane Irene caused significant erosion along the shoreline where we did not have rock protection. The storm downed about three dozen trees at both camps. And the high water mark is higher than we have seen in more than 40 years.

There is some minor structural damage to about five buildings. Though the pictures are shocking, the damage is relatively small.

There is some good news. Our staff members are safe. Our buildings are all very well built and are in great shape. The concrete pier was a terrific investment. It is sound. The shoreline that has been reinforced with rock is in good shape.

Our great maintenance staff, with support from the YMCA of the Triangle will soon have us back on our feet. We've already  contacted tree surgeons, engineers and dedicated volunteers waiting to help with repairs.

Camp offices are closed today because there is no power in most parts of Pamlico County and there is a “boil water” notice in effect. We’re cancelling Family Camp this weekend so that our staff can focus on getting back to normal.

Thank you all for offering to help our camp family. Continue supportive calls and e-mails – but don’t expect an immediate response. Their focus is on clean up and recovery.

We’ll bring you updates in the days ahead.

Friday, August 19, 2011


We’ve all been touched by heart disease in some way. That's why we’re teaming up with the American Heart Association for the Triangle Heart Walk on Sept. 25 to help deal with this national crisis. There are several ways you can get involved.

  • Nominate someone (even yourself!) for the YMCA Lifestyle Change Award.  Do you know a youth, adult or family who has made a healthy lifestyle change? Complete a nomination form by Sept. 2. Four winners will get a free year at the Y! Click here for nomination forms.
  • Participate in the Triangle Heart Walk on Sunday, Sept. 25 at the RBC Center. Register and join the YMCA of the Triangle team for a free 1-mile or 3-mile walk. Just follow these directions to register: 
  • Improve Your Heart Rate. Do the Heart-Healthy Challenge and be active an hour a day for 6, 13, or 26 days.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Watch some of golf’s greatest players and help the YMCA of the Triangle's We Build People Campaign!

The SAS Championship returns to Prestonwood Country Club in Cary, Sept. 26 – Oct. 2. YMCA members are eligible to receive discounted tickets to the 11th Annual Champions Tour golf event.
And Y members can receive 50% off daily and weekly tickets. In addition, you can also save $10 off the regular price for the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Deck. These tickets give patrons one day of access to an open-air, semi-private skybox that overlooks the 17th green. For just $79, a catered lunch, snacks and drinks are included.

Click here to order tickets.
Use Promotional Code: YMCA-2011 at Checkout

Proceeds from the SAS Championship will benefit Y Learning, our standardized tutorial program funded through our annual We Build People program. 

We hope you take advantage of this wonderful offer and help children in our community who benefit from Y Learning!

Monday, August 15, 2011


Charles Cawley is a member of the Alexander Family YMCA. Read his success story.

It all started at a drive-in movie.

Charlie, only 19 at the time, smoked his first pack of cigarettes to impress his date. Nearly 45 years later, Charlie found himself facing bleak news: he had been diagnosed with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), a condition that often leads to emphysema.

“The doctor told me that I had the lung capacity of an 80-year-old,” Charlie said. “I was only 65!”
Charlie at the Y

Charles Cawley's father—a life-time smoker—had spent his last few years breathing with the assistance of an oxygen tank before he tragically passed away from emphysema. Fearful of a similar path, Charlie turned to the Y.

“I had a membership to the Y for a few years, and I figured  I might as well use it!” Charlie joked.

Charlie took it slowly. At first, he just walked a few laps around the track. Then, he added hand weights to his routine. Before long, he noticed that his morning walks with Tallulah, his white Miniature Schnauzer, were much easier.

From here, it became a game of slow addition. Charlie began watching his food intake, aiming for balanced meals while avoiding carbs and red meat.

“It isn't a diet,” Charlie explained, “I just became mindful of what I ate.”

He then added deep breathing exercises to the end of his workouts.Charlie encountered his “moment of truth” when he returned to the doctor nearly a year later.

“After running a series of tests on me, the doctor reported that I had lost thirty pounds, that my cholesterol levels had returned to normal,” Charlie recalled, “and—get this—I now had the lung capacity of a 20-year old!”

With some surprise, the doctor cancelled Charlie's prescription to treat his COPD. Charlie jokes that his prescription and his Y membership cost the same amount; so why not choose the membership?

Now, Charlie logs a two-hour workout three to four times each week. His routine includes everything from elliptical cardio to abdominal exercises, always followed by deep breathing exercises.

Charlie reports night-and-day changes. Not only does he feel stronger and more confident, but has energy to do the things he loves—such as photography. Charlie's 15-year career has earned him national acclaim as an artist in the Triangle. Look for his second book in early 2012.

“Yes, the body changes, but the soul doesn't have a clock,” Charlie said. “I feel like I'm 18-years old, and I probably always will!

In July, Charlie celebrated his 68th birthday and almost two years of being smoke-free. And if you see him around the Y, congratulate him! His weight loss is now at 45 pounds, soon to be 50.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Ready! Set! Go!

“Go Xavier! Go Jahil!”

Just after 9 am, the skies cleared and more than 125 young swimmers dove into the 2nd Swim for Life Meet at the A.E. Finley YMCA pool. It’s always amazing to watch young people show off their skills. It’s even more amazing when you consider that most of these children didn’t know how to swim before the start of the summer.
Pep talk before the race

“You’ve got a fish on your hands,” a Y counselor told a proud dad. “I know it, I know it,” said his father as he watched his son touch the side of the pool.

The swim meet is the highlight of YMCA Camp High Hopes, the Y’s fully subsidized summer day camps. This year, campers from six YMCA branches (Alexander, Cary, Durham, Kraft, A.E. Finley and Kerr YMCAs) participated in the meet. Campers competed in the following races; Breast Stroke, Back Stroke, Free Style, Butterfly, and Mixed Medley races.

“At the Y, we consider swimming an important life skill. Most of these children didn’t know how to swim before they came to our Y camps,” said Anthony Hardison, Kerr Family YMCA Community Outreach Director. “Through daily lessons, they learn basic aquatics skills. We knew if we added the competition, campers would be more excited about learning to swim.”

Nearly 60 percent of African-American children can't swim, almost twice the figure for white children, according to 2008 USA Swimming study. The YMCA wants to bridge that gap.

“It was exciting to see the volunteers and families cheer on these kids,” said Anthony. “Ten-year-old Jahil placed first in the backstroke. He couldn’t wait to show me his ribbon. And he couldn’t wait to get back in the water! That is success.”
Anthony & Jahil

More than 800 children attend YMCA summer day camp on full or partial scholarship. Swim instruction is a part of each camper’s day. Donations to the YMCA’s Annual We Build People program fund those opportunities.

Friday, August 5, 2011


Camp High Hopes is a subsidized summer day camp funded through the YMCA's We Build People campaign. Jessica Russell and Sharlene Provilus, director and head counselor at the A.E. Finley Camp High Hopes, said, “We should do this.” So they did.

August 4 at the YMCA Association's Resource Center, two dozen Camp High Hopes campers, dressed sharply in business attire, met the eyes of college recruiters from ten local colleges and universities. They put out their hands for a handshake and then went with purpose to the business of talking education, college education.
Camp High Hopes College Day

Over the seven previous weeks of Camp High Hopes, Sharlene and her co-counselor, A.J. Johnson, coached and evaluated each of these students on etiquette, listening skills, leadership and an entire menu of skills for success.

The college reps reviewed the evaluations and grade point averages and then interviewed each student. The conversations were real and the students left with an envelope marked either ACCEPTED or DEFERRED.

The emotions were also real. Some students pumped the air and celebrated, others sat in serious discussions with their friends talking about the need to get higher grades to make their dream school a possibility in the future.

The whole experience really was a dream come true.
A dream that Jessica and Sharlene and A.J. made happen. Their vision has put a target in the future for these two dozen middle schoolers and that target is acceptance into college.

"It was like watching the light go on in two dozen pairs of eyes and with that light, a shot was fired at a target," said Patti Bryce, Finley's Outreach Director. "If you were lucky enough to be there, you know how I feel."

We cannot say thank you enough to these leaders!