Practicing Water Safety Skills with the Y’s “Go Blue” Program

Water Safety Programs

For many families, visiting a beach or pool during the summer is an easy way to cool off from the heat. Some may even visit a pool year-round. But it’s important to remember that even something as fun as a pool, or any body of water, can pose a serious threat if you or your child does not know how to swim.

As America’s most trusted swim instructor, the YMCA has been teaching kids how to swim for more than 100 years. Swim lessons at the YMCA will help your kids stay fit, healthy and strong when they spend time in the water. But, most importantly, they will gain confidence and learn vital water safety skills that will last them a lifetime.

The YMCA’s Swim Lesson Curriculum is based on a continuum that focuses on a skill-based progression that builds confidence and supports skill development for swimmers of all ages. Swim lessons are available six days a week for adults and children, as young as six-months-old. Enrolling your child in swim lessons at a young age will help them to get familiar with the water and teach them critical water safety skills. (Check out the Y’s many other aquatic programs offered this fall.)


To ensure our summer camp participants have the opportunity to develop this essential lifeskill, the YMCA has introduced the “Go Blue” Water Safety Program into its camp curriculum. As part of the “Go Blue” Program, campers take a mandatory swim test before entering the pool. Based on their swimming abilities, campers receive a red, yellow or blue wristband. To “Go Blue” means that swimmers have enough strength, skill and confidence to pass the blue swim test, which includes jumping into the deep end of the pool, treading water, and swimming the length of the pool using a front crawl stroke without stopping.

To improve their swimming skills, all red and yellow wristband campers participate in 15-minute swim lessons several times each week during summer camp. Our goal is to help all non-swimmers and intermediate swimmers “Go Blue” by the end of summer.

With summer camp coming to an end later this month, we are very excited to share the results of this summer’s “Go Blue” Program. Congratulations to our summer campers and our aquatics and camp teams for a job well done!

C.W. Avery Family YMCA:

  • Red Swimmers to Yellow Swimmers: 34
  • Yellow Swimmers to Blue Swimmers: 42
  • Overall Percent of Campers Who Are Now Blue Swimmers: 63%

Galowich Family YMCA:

  • Red Swimmers to Yellow Swimmers: 23
  • Yellow Swimmers to Blue Swimmers: 20
  • Overall Percent of Campers Who Are Now Blue Swimmers: 40%

Morris Community YMCA:

  • Red Swimmers to Yellow Swimmers: 37
  • Yellow Swimmers to Blue Swimmers: 77
  • Overall Percent of Campers Who Are Now Blue Swimmers: 47%

Smith Family YMCA:

  • Red Swimmers to Yellow Swimmers: 22
  • Yellow Swimmers to Blue Swimmers: 37
  • Overall Percent of Campers Who Are Now Blue Swimmers: 52%

Registration is underway for fall swim lessons. To learn more, visit or contact the Aquatics Director at your local YMCA branch.

Celebrating the Grand Opening of the C.W. Avery Family YMCA Wellness Center

Wellness Center Plainfield Ribbon Cutting

The C.W. Avery Family YMCA celebrated the grand opening of its expanded Wellness Center on Friday, July 27, alongside many Plainfield city officials and YMCA board members, volunteers, members and staff. Open seven days a week, the newly renovated Wellness Center gives the community a special space to focus on their health and well-being with many new features, including:

  • A new group exercise room
  • An abundance of new strength and cardio machines
  • A private personal training area
  • A new group cycling room


The Greater Joliet Area YMCA has been serving Will County families, regardless of age, income or background since 1928 and with the expansion of the C.W. Avery Family YMCA, the Y is able to provide additional exercise space to Y members. Plainfield Mayor Michael P. Collins described the expansion as a “jewel” of the Plainfield community and a “diamond” to Will County.

Want to come to check out the new space? Try the Y for free before you join! With a YMCA membership, you have access to all four branches in Joliet, Plainfield, and Morris—along with many exciting youth and fitness programs for everyone in the family to enjoy!

Fitness Apps to Enhance Your Workout Routine

C.W. Avery Family YMCA Wellness Center

If you’ve been in our newly expanded Wellness Center, you may have noticed some new machines with new technology available.  We are excited to offer our members a place where they can achieve their health and wellness goals with the latest technology features.


Want to watch your personal entertainment apps like Netflix and Hulu?  By signing up for a Preva account, you get access to personal entertainment, set and track workout goals and more while working out on the Precor treadmills!

First simply follow the steps on the screen to set up an account or you can download the Preva app and create your account beforehand.

Next, you’ll need your entertainment app credentials.  This is the same login you created when you purchased the app. You can save all your credentials within your Preva account for hassle-free access while working out.

Finally, you will want to use the “My Profile App” to manage your login and password.  From there, you can track your workouts, watch your favorite shows or listen to songs you love.


LFConnect App

If you’re looking for an easy way to track your workout and love the Stair Climber Machine, you’ll want to create a LifeFitness account or download the app.  This cool feature allows you to track your workouts on your app profile or you can scan a barcode to sync it to your phone’s health apps.

Follow these steps to get started:

  1. Create Your Account (This includes setting up a Username and Password)
  2. Select Your Desired Workout (Selections can include: time, calories, heart rate, level, floors climbed and interval)
  3. Follow the Instructions for the Selected Workout
  4. Start Your Workout!
  5. Once your Workout is completed, save your workout and exercise data by hitting save or scanning the barcode.)

Want to skip the steps above?  Hit “Quick Start” to begin. From there you can adjust your workout speed, duration, and intensity by the “Setting” icon. Use the blue thermometer for cool down.


ICG Training App

If you love cycling, you’ll want to get the ICG Training App!  The C.W. Avery Family YMCA wants to share this exciting new app with you while you enjoy our Group Cycle Coach by Color classes.

All of these new bikes are compatible with a cutting-edge technology app which lets riders measure performance and track workouts all in one place!

Getting Started with the ICG Training App:

  • Download the free app for IOS or Android.
  • Set up an account on the app.
  • Pair the App with any IC6 indoor cycling bike to save, view and track your workout history by calendar date.
  • Color Match your workout: choose from free workout plans in the app guided by the color system.
  • Share your workout activity (if you choose) with friends via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Want to try this fun new App on an IC6 indoor cycling bike?  The C.W. Avery Family YMCA offers many opportunities to take cycling classes.  Check out our class schedule and stop in for a ride!

Small Changes, Big Results

Two years ago, I had an epiphany.

image (3)I realized that I was purely existing and not truly living. I had a three-year old son that I needed to take care of and I didn’t feel like I was doing my best by being a good role model for him. I grew up an overweight child and it pained me that still, at age 36, I hadn’t yet figured out how to be healthy.

I almost always had the desire to be a healthy person, so much so that I majored in Health Studies in college and graduated with honors, although I could never get it to work in my life. One day, while driving, I thought to myself that I would probably be dead by 40 if I didn’t truly change my life. I decided that I needed to “Be There For Ben,” and from that day on, that has been my mantra and my motivation.

My journey began when I read about the Y’s Weight Loss Challenge Program in their program guide. See, I had been a member for years, but I only worked out a handful of times during those years. I used our membership primarily for the wonderful children’s programming. This time around though, I wanted to to make time for me. After all, if I wanted my family to be healthy, it had to start with me. So I registered for the class and, even though I was terrified, I took the biggest and hardest step of my life—walking through those doors. By doing so, I met Kevin and Lisa Hir, who, while I did not know it at the time, would change my life forever.

Their Weight Loss Challenge class was incredible. They are the “no nonsense, no excuses”-type but they GOT IT. They both had personal, compelling success stories that resonated with me. I knew I had to be willing to change if I wanted to have a better life for my family and me, so I committed to doing what they said, even if I didn’t want to for the entire 12-week program. This meant following a certain food plan and journaling everything I ate.

It also included weekly weigh-ins, an education session on nutrition and exercise and, lastly, weekly group workouts. With our first workout, Kevin led us in a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) style workout and I was terrified. I honestly did not think that I would be able to finish. He showed us modifications and, somehow, some way, I did it. After class, we huddled as a team and he told us he was PROUD of us. I broke down in tears. That was a life changing night for me.

Read More

Member Profile: Mark McGaffic


IMG951430Determined to lose weight, Mark McGaffic tried it all. Exercise. Trendy diets. Weight loss programs. You name it. Mark simply wasn’t seeing any results. That is, until he signed up for Nutrition for All and the Get Fit Challenge at the C.W. Avery Family YMCA. Because of these weekly classes, Mark has undergone a complete transformation. In 2014, not only has Mark lost 60 pounds, he’s also completed a triathlon—a feat he could’ve never possibly imagined.

“It’s been phenomenal. I’ve loved the journey,” he said, while sitting in the lobby of the Avery Y. With a slight grin on his face, Mark paused and added, “Shirts I bought that I was disgusted buying, I’ve now given to Goodwill.”

Mark’s transformation began in January when he started Nutrition for All, a 12-week class that helps members eat right and stay healthy. He took on a paleo diet, kept food journals and completed weekly weigh-ins. With the support of instructor Julie Miller and his peers, he cut 30 pounds.

By springtime, Mark’s momentum hadn’t let up. He began the Get Fit Challenge, continued the paleo diet and started prepping for his first triathlon. By this point, Mark had shed upwards of 50 pounds. In August, Mark’s hard work paid off when he completed the Naperville Sprint Triathlon.

“I’d have to say, I’ve never experienced anything like it,” he said. “The triathlon itself. The training. Working with Julie Miller and the group. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.”

Read More

Translate »