Through a national alliance, the LIVESTRONG Foundation and the YMCA of the USA have joined forces to offer the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA Cancer Survivorship Program. Since the program's launch in 2008, it has spread to 342 YMCA sites across the country, serving over 18,000 participants.
Until this past year, LIVESTRONG at the YMCA was not offered in the state of Maine. Understanding that Maine has one of the highest Incident rates of cancer in the country, and the YMCA's commitment to healthy living, Maine YMCAs felt it was our social responsibility to respond. After an intensive nine month organizational training process, nine Maine YMCAs have joined this national movement and are now offering the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program. Over seventy-five cancer survivors participated in our first session this fall.
The goal of the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program is to empower adult cancer survivors to improve functional capacity and to increase their quality of life through organized group fitness and strength. LIVESTRONG at the YMCA Is a twelve-week, small group physical activity program led by specially trained YMCA instructors. Participants meet two times per week for seventy five minutes each session. The ratio is one instructor to six participants with the max class size being twelve. Prior to week one, staff membel"s meet with each participant one-on-one to explain the program and gather health and demographic Information. Instructors perform fitness assessments of participants in weeks one and twelve, and using motivational interviewing skills, use the assessment results to create an individualized exercise proqram for each palticipant. In addition to benefits from physical activity, participants build authentic relationships with the group members who support their holistic development.
The program Is designed to treat the whole person and staff are selected to lead the program based on their ability to work with participants to address all of their well-being needs - body, mind, and spirit. Since the program creates a physical activity plan tailored to each participant, instructors bring two important aspects to the program: an "exercise expert" with the understanding of and ability to address the unique needs and concerns of cancer survivors, resulting from their cancer diagnoses and treatments; and, a "relationship builder" with understanding, empathy, and the ability to connect with and develop relationships with and among cancel" survivors.
Reducing barriers, this program is offered free to any community member and, in support of the whole family, includes a complimentary membership to the Y during participation in the program. Maine YMCAs will sustain the program by covering costs through YMCA operations and donations from individuals, businesses and foundations. Each YMCA is committed to offer at least three twelve-week sessions per year.