When COVID-19 struck I think there was a feeling that there would be some short-term pain and changes that we just had to accept, then we would return back to the old normal. It’s now been several months of varying degrees of social restrictions and I am noticing within myself and in others, a sense of “COVID fatigue”. Usually at this time of year I am looking forward to my annual family holiday on the Gold Coast, just as we have for the last ten years. I work hard all year, knowing that I can rest and recover in the sun but now I am thinking about my alternatives and how I feel about losing this special tradition.

I am acutely aware that our friends in Victoria have it tougher and I find solace that I am not alone. I am surrounded by the YMCA community that has felt the full impact of this turbulent year like no other. Bushfires, air quality and COVID-19 lockdowns, can only make us a stronger and more committed community.

We all have two choices, good or bad, thoughts of lacking or of abundance, negative or positive and I know what type of choice will lead me into a better state of mind. And with this I want to remind our team and the community about some of the positive stories of late, here at the Y.

I might not be able to change all the things that COVID has forced upon me but reflecting on the positives, I am optimistic about the future. Will I adapt my tradition and have a stay at home holiday, go camping or discover a hidden gem close to home? I am not sure which one but if I pick just one thing then I feel confident that I can turn it into a positive.

What’s your one thing I wonder?

Ideas to Keep Everyone Happy During Self-isolation

Being isolated at home means that the child or young person needs to stay at home for the full period, unless they need medical attention. They cannot go into public areas, and should not use public transportation, ride share or taxis. Visitors to the home should be discouraged.

While a child or young person is self-isolated, Y Canberra will endeavor to stay in touch with them via Storypark and will collate good resources you can use at home with them. A few good websites are below:

A good picture shared by Scott Morrison is below, which provides some good tips on managing anxiety around Coronavirus for parents, carers, children and young people.

Excellent mental health and wellbeing resources including useful phone numbers are available from the ACT Health website here, and summarised below:

We wish to acknowledge that this is a very challenging situation for everyone, and encourage families and carers to reach out to us if they need additional resources or support. We would also like to thank our families and staff for the diligence and care being shown around social distancing and hygiene practices and recognise this is a key reason why all of our sites are still operating and have no confirmed cases of Coronavirus.


Y Canberra is continuing to monitor the situation and is following ACT Health for notifications and procedures. Below is the current information shared by Australian Government Department of Health (1 February 2020):

There has been a significant change, today, in the measures Australia is taking to protect the community against novel coronavirus.

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee has noted the increasing (but still relatively small) number of cases in provinces in mainland China, outside of Hubei Province. As a result, the Australian Government has announced additional measures to protect the whole community against novel coronavirus.

For this reason, and in line with national health advice, we are taking a highly precautionary approach:

From 1 February, in line with national health advice

Being isolated at home means that you need to stay at home for the full period, unless you need medical attention. You cannot go to work, school, or public areas, and should not use public transportation, ride share or taxis. Visitors to the home should be discouraged.

If you returned to Australia from Hubei Province, prior to 1 February 2020, the advice remains that you need to self isolate for 14 days from the time of leaving Hubei Province.

The Australian Government continues to closely monitor the evolving situation and our advice will be updated, as necessary.

The ACT Health Directorate has well established processes and procedures in place for the management of infectious diseases should they occur in the ACT and is working in partnership with the Australian Government Department of Health and our jurisdictional counterparts to monitor and respond to the situation.

In addition to following the above advice, Y Canberra is continuing to:

Y Canberra will continue to monitor and follow ACT Health updates as they are provided.

Y Canberra will provide updates as needed to our families, participants and community via email, Storypark and our website.

Please speak with your Director, Coordinator or Site Manager if you have any questions or concerns.

YMCA Canberra has created a dedicated updates website to keep all families, staff and community members up to date on the opening and closure status of YMCA Canberra services due to the current air quality issues created by the NSW bushfires impacting on the ACT.


Please use the subscribe function at the top of the page to join our updates list. This status service will be updated daily whilst air quality issues remain.

All current emergency contacts for families and community members enrolled in programs have been added to our updates list in accordance with our contact and privacy policy.  You can unsubscribe from updates at any time.

To speak to one of our team members regarding your personal circumstance please call (02) 62424040 or email cs.canberra@ymca.org.au during standard business hours.


YMCA Canberra has been closely monitoring air quality in Canberra via the ACT Health Directorate’s Public Health Alerts and AirRater app as recommended by the Directorate. Recommendations for reducing smoke at indoor locations have been implemented to reduce the impact at each site.

YMCA Canberra Space Squad was established in 2016 and is Australia’s only residential holiday program for children in Years 6-9 who love space!

The program was designed to act as “The Spark” that inspires attendees to pursue further education and careers in STEM and space-related fields.

During the recent April school holidays, 41 young people from every State and Territory across our country gathered at Bush Capital Lodge for five (5) action-packed days.

They visited the NASA Deep Space Communications Centre, the Advanced Instrument and Technology Centre (AITC) and Questacon, stargazed at Tharwa, launched rockets, made telescopes, flew drones and much more!

The program itinerary reaffirms that STEM is fun! It looks to establish a pipeline for Higher School STEM Study and Career choices for our young participants.

We are encouraged by the high level of engagement of young girls and are actively identifying and working with key stakeholders in Education, Government and the Private Sector to create participation opportunities for Indigenous and Marginalised Young People whether in major metropolitan or regional and remote communities across Australia.

The program also helps young people with an avid interest in space and STEM-related fields to discover and experience social inclusion and engagement as they get to meet new people and make friends who share their passion for knowledge and opportunity.

Space Squad is organised and managed by experienced YMCA Canberra staff and educators with a passion for space and is wonderful example of Our Belief In The Power Of Inspired Young People.

Check out and like www.facebook.com/YSpaceSquad

The YMCA Canberra Half Marathon continues to be a popular half marathon for the local running community with the 50th race being held this year tracing the shore of Lake Burley Griffin in the heart of Canberra.  While the focus was on the running of the 50th YMCA Canberra Half Marathon on Sunday, 26 May, the celebrations kicked off on Saturday with a 5km running event and a kids 1.6km minijog.

The Saturday events proved to be very popular social runs attracting 36 people in the 5km and 53 young runners in the 1.6km minijog.  As for the main event on half marathon race day we had 461 participants, almost 150 more than the 2018 Half Marathon. Overall winners this year include:

First Male and Female:

Second Male and Female:

Third Male and Female:

Since the first Canberra Half Marathon run in 1970, there have been many fine athletes compete and take out the race. The list of race winners reads like a ‘who’s who’ of ACT distance running and contains some of the best athletes the country has produced. Our previous winners include many who have represented their country including Olympic Athletes, winners of the Canberra Marathon and other major marathon events all over the world, World Cross Country Championships, World Road Running Championship events, World University Games and World Junior Games. Many of these runners have used the Canberra Half Marathon as a stepping stone in their athletic career. So take notice of this year’s winner – you never know what a win at the YMCA Canberra Half Marathon might lead to.

YMCA Belconnen ELC has been providing care and education to the local community of Belconnen for the past 10 years.

We acknowledge that we live and play on Ngunnawal land. We pay our respects to the elders past, present and future and seek to learn about the traditions and ways of Australia’s first people.

We take pride in our inclusive environment and celebrate our many different cultures within our centre and wider community.

We are strong advocates for children and they are each treated with love, dignity and respect at Belconnen. We encourage learning and growth for our children but in their own way and time.

Our outdoor garden is a part of our program and we play outside in all the weather Canberra throws at us. As this is such a big part of our program, we are just about to start up a big outdoor garden project which extends on from our nature garden project.

This year one of the new programs we have started is our ELLA project in our 4-5-year-old preschool room. ELLA is a language program which stands for “Early Learning Languages Australia”. This program will introduce the children to different languages and dialects, which will encourage appreciation of linguistic diversity. Our preschool children are currently learning Japanese.

We use the RIE Approach within our infant spaces. We focus on not overstimulating our infants but rather building strong trusting relationships with them by implementing the key educator approach, allowing free movement and space and providing the most relaxed, respectful care moments.

Each day at our centre we embrace the opportunities to grow and learn together as at YMCA Belconnen ELC, we know “It Takes A Village To Raise A Child”.

At a gala event held in March at the beautiful Cataract Gorge near Launceston, Tasmania, YMCA Canberra Leumeah Lodge was awarded a Bronze in the Standard Accommodation category of the 2018 Qantas Australian Tourism Awards.

This is very first time a YMCA Canberra business has achieved this level of acknowledgement of a national tourism award and is wonderful recognition for all the hard work, dedication and commitment to service by all the team.

Leumeah Lodge is a purpose-built accommodation facility located within the historic tourism precinct of Gold Creek Village in the National Capital. Less than 3 years old, the beautifully appointed lodge offers visitors affordable queen-sized accommodation suites, family rooms, apartments and group dormitories.

Recognising and promoting excellence in tourism, the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards are the tourism industry’s peak awards.