LIVESTRONG Day - Wear Your Yellow!

This Sunday, October 2nd is LIVESTRONG Day (held on the anniversary of Lance Armstrong’s cancer diagnosis.)  LIVESTRONG Day is a day of global, collective action in the fight against cancer.

The YMCA of Greater Des Moines supports the LIVESTRONG Movement.  Our Call To Action is to encourage all staff and members to:

Wear yellow on Friday, September 30, Saturday, October 1 and Sunday October 2 to raise awareness about the world’s leading cause of death.

Do something active this weekend as research has shown the benefits of exercise against cancer.

To learn more about LIVESTRONG visit

Iowa Healthiest State Initiative

Did you know that in 2010 Iowa ranked as the 19th healthiest state in America?(according to the 2010 Gallup-Healthways Well Being Index) Even though that is a pretty respectable statistic, Governor Brandstad and community leaders felt that Iowa could do better so a "privately led public initiative" was created called the "Iowa Healthiest State Initiative.". The mission of the initiative is to get Iowa to top the ranking by 2016 by focusing on the 6 areas that the Gallup-Healthways Wellbeing Index measures. Communities across our state are taking action and organizing activities and projects that will help Iowa change the environment and wellness culture to become a healthier state and reach the #1 goal. "Iowa Healthiest State Initiative" coincides with the YMCA’s commitment to improving our community’s health and quality of life so we have partnered with local leaders in our community to help.

How does that relate to the Waukee Family YMCA and you? In the upcoming weeks, our Y will partner with the Waukee Community to take up the challenge. We hope to encourage you, our members, to take up the challenge with us. You can do so in a number of ways:
Show up for the "Start Something Walk" on Friday, October 7 at noon at Centennial Park.  It is a 1K walk and should take only approximately 20 minutes of time.  The goal is to have the largest walk in state history at a simultaneous time to show support of improving the health of Iowans.  This is a kick off event for the initiative.

To take a pledge to live a healthier lifestyle as part of this initiative.  You can also find out more about this entire initiative at and can make the pledge there.   

Real exciting…10 communities in Iowa will be chosen to become Blue Zones Communities—"places where people live longer, happier, healthier lives by applying the secrets of the longest-living cultures on earth." With your help, Waukee could be one of them. One area that will be looked at in choosing the communities is how many people in each community pledge to participate if chosen. So, sign up here and pledge support and we may be chosen!

"Iowa Healthiest State Initiative" will be a transformation process over the next five years. The Waukee Family YMCA will be working right along side the community to help so look for more blog articles and opportunities to get involved.

Everybody Plays, Everybody Wins

Everybody Plays, Everybody Wins.  You may have seen this on our fliers, posters, signs, etc. and may think it is just a slogan or clever line that we use to advertise Youth Sports at the YMCA.  But in fact, we practice this everyday in our Youth Sports programs.  Now there is the reality that anytime you have two teams going against each other there will be competition and consequently, a winner and a loser.  However, when Youth participate in Sports, whether it be Flag Football or T-Ball, they are developing their potential and maturing in more ways than becoming better at a particular sport.  Simply being around a social(team) atmosphere where everyone is working together can develop a child’s communication skills and increase their confidence.  The benefits are endless when one looks past the sport itself. 

One such example of how YMCA Youth Sports practices "Everybody Wins, Everybody Plays" is our Flag Football Bowl Games which began just two years ago.  Typically, there would be an end of season Tournament, where only 3rd-6th grade teams would have the opportunity to participate and the competition would elevate to the point where winning was more important than a child’s development.  Now we have an event that hosts any 1st-6th grade teams.  Each team plays one game against an evenly matched opponent and after the game, coaches/parents hand out trophies to all the players of both teams while calling the player’s names over the loudspeaker at the Stadium.  Truly Everybody Plays, Everybody Wins.   

Our 3rd Annual Bowl Games will be held Saturday, November 5th at Valley Stadium in West Des Moines.  Players and teams participating in this Fall’s regular season will have the choice to participate in these games, however feel free to come out and watch anytime.  There will be plenty of seats and activities for all ages, including a mascot game!

Girls Night Out Topic this Month is Honesty

This week's theme for Girls Night out is "Get REAL!", tweeners will spend the evening talking about honesty. The girls will read and discuss The Emperors New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen and work on a craft together.

Girls Night Out is held monthly, free of charge, for 5th and 6th grade girls. This months GNO is held on September 22nd, from 7-8:30 pm. Future topics include respect, healthy bodies, caring and responsibility.

If you know a young lady interested in GNO, please contact Jessie Snyder at or 515-868-0505.

Working at the YMCA is MORE than Job

Meet Joelle Kleihauer
Child Care Program Executive

The Waukee YMCA is not just a job, it’s a family and an all encompassing lifestyle. 

It’s hard to describe what the Y has meant to me and my family.  11 years ago, as a stay at home mom, I was looking for a part time job that allowed me to bring my kids with me or at the very least, find a part time job that fit into a hectic schedule of a mother with 2 small children.  I answered an ad for the YMCA and began providing child care to other YMCA members while they were working out.  11 years ago the YMCA had presence in the Waukee community – but did not have a building to call home. 

I was able to funnel my passion for preschool youth into creating Preschool Recreation classes for the Waukee Family YMCA.  It fulfilled in me a passion to see youth develop both in spirit, mind and body.  My full time career with the YMCA has allowed me many opportunities to continue along this path by developing and delivering Family programs, Academic Preschool programs, as well as leading our Before and Afterschool programs and Summer Day Camp programs.  It has offered me a career that I love and a career that has allowed me to grow and develop leadership skills and self confidence to offer positive, impactful programs to the youth in the Waukee community. 

The YMCA has offered great opportunities to my family as well.  As a Program Director and a single parent, the Y was often our second home.  Many times the YMCA staff were like a second family to all 3 of us.  The YMCA has built great character in my children, offered them great opportunities in both  Afterschool programming, Summer programming, Youth Sports, and now continuing with Healthy Lifestyles as teen aged youth members.  The Y has allowed my daughter to find her passion in swimming as she continues to swim on the High School Varsity Swim Team as well as for the Waukee YMCA Rays.  My son is often found with a bunch of friends in the weight lifting area or running on the track.  It has instilled in both of my children what it is like to live a healthy lifestyle and that being physically active and eating nutritiously is an important part of their life.  It has also given them a much wider circle of people who genuinely care and support them. 

We are very thankful to the Waukee Family YMCA, as an employer and as a hub of the Waukee community. 

Stay Tuned to hear about the other YMCA Directors! We also want to hear about you! If you have a Y story to share, let us know by emailing

Enroll in Youth Sports Today

Y Basketball leagues and clinics help your child learn the fundamentals of the game in a safe environment with an emphasis on sportsmanship and fair play. Register today!

Family Day is September 28th

Family Day - A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children

Did you know kids that eat meals as a family are less likely to use drugs, smoke or drink? That is why the Waukee Family YMCA is offering you some activities and recipes to share with your family on this special day.

If you are to busy to make dinner that day, try ordering out or going to the families favorite restaurant. If you are looking for healthy recipes, check out The recipes are sorted to make it easy for you. There are 20 recipes under 20 minutes, Disney cookies, Slow Cooker, Easy Pasta and many more.

There are also fun activities you can do before and after dinner. Kids can design their own placemat, play placemat games, or create a family coat of arms. Click here to see all the dinner time activities.

Get Back on Track at the Y

Has it been awhile since you've been to the Y? Come on back! The kids are off hitting the books and memorizing their new school schedule. Have you been browsing our fall schedules?

Today is the day, get back on track. Come on in and meet with a Wellness Coach to work on your goals for a healthy fall. To make an appointment, visit them on the 2nd floor or call 515-868-0515.