Three Reasons I’m Keeping My Gym Membership

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I seriously love summer.  I’m spending every minute, (even the ones where I truly feel hot and gross) being thankful that I’m not hunched against the stupid winter wind trying to get indoors as quickly as possible.

 

I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.  Summer brings out more and more runners, bikers, circuit trainers and yoga classes in the park, and I love seeing this when I take my kids out into the long summer weekends.  And I sometimes think about maybe giving up my gym membership in the summer and just spending all my fitness time outside.  But then I think about it again and realize that I really want to keep it.  And here’s why.

 

I like lifting heavy things. I always thought that being a smaller and rounder female body type I shouldn’t lift heavy things, but rather lighter things, and do many repetitions.  And that’s okay.  But lately, I’ve been lifting HEAVY weights with less repetition.  I’m training more like a superhero and getting stronger than I’ve ever been.  I’ve been inspired by Jeannine Trimboli, someone of my own age and body type who’s training for a powerlifting competition and her results are amazing.  Check her out, get inspired, and come attack the max rack after I do.

 

 

Routine.  In the past year I’ve finally got back into a healthy way of living.  The way I did it was by slowly establishing healthy habits that are now…habitual.  For me, that means working out at least 30 minutes a day, 4 days per week, and an hour or more on Saturday and Sunday.  Sound lofty?  It did to me too before it became my life, something I enjoy, and a way to set and challenge new goals for myself.  Part of my routine is walking into the gym, seeing the same people, using the same equipment, and having an iced coffee on the way home at the same place.  I don’t want to lose that.  I like it.

 

A cool place to be. No matter how much I love summer I have to admit that one of the sweetest things is walking into air-conditioned comfort when the sun is especially….friendly.  I get a lot more out of my workout when I can begin the elliptical warm up from a neutral temperature and work my way up to sweating through the rest of it.  Plus the pool is amazing.  As a parent, I really appreciate family swim as an option.  As I swim with my kids, we cool off and burn off just enough energy to have a restful summer evening.

 

Stone cold fear.   Okay, that’s a little dramatic, but I find the best way to avoid living in fear of suddenly gaining back 15 pounds overnight is to keep doing what I’m doing.  Going to the gym makes me feel happy because I’m doing something selfishly, beautifully for myself that just happens to positively affect those around me.  I am SO MUCH HAPPIER when I get dressed in the morning without worrying about which pants will give me the muffin top.   And though most people around me couldn’t care less about if I have a muffin top or not, a happier me makes those around me happier too.   That’s probably the best reason of all!

 

-Camille Diamond; Director of Community Engagement and Communications, and 14th Street Y Member

 

 

 

Living in the State of Slim

“Camille? You know,  every woman needs an amazing pair of jeans.  Let me pull one for you.”

Over the December Holiday break I was in my home town shopping with a dear high school friend.  She took me to a clothing store where they ask you your name, what you’re looking for, quickly analyze your body type with a flutter of their eyes and immediately hunt down a few perfect outfits. (The store also gives your kids animal cookies and counts huge bathrooms as part of their real estate, and no this store does not exist in NYC).

They brought me a pair of jeggings.  I laughed at them.  More on that later.

6 months earlier than this,  I had been  puzzled by the fit of my clothes.  They felt weird.  Not tight, the way I normally experienced weight gain, but weird.  So I decided to pay a visit to the scale, which I had avoided for a complete year.

I found that in the time of my scale avoidance I had slowly put on 10 pounds.  And I wasn’t exactly at my ideal weight the last time I visited the scale, which is why I probably declined to visit it for a full year. My first step, after crying a little, was to recommit to healthy habits like working out at least 4 times a week, and track what I ate.  At first it worked.  In the first 6 weeks I lost about 5 pounds, which was great.

But then I hit a plateu.  A big one.  I didn’t lose any weight for 8 weeks, despite the exercising and the tracking.  It was getting exhausting too.  Not the exercising so much…I actually was enjoying that part.  But I was so tired of paying so much attention to what I ate.  I would much prefer to live my life rather than obsess about food, and it was starting to drive me crazy.

Can you relate?  If so, you might want to think about joining us at the Y on Monday nights, 6:30PM to learn about the State of Slim.  Because just as I was ready to throw in the towel and disappear into a box of cookies I learned about this new book and program, The State of Slim, or “The Colorado Diet”.  It whispered a phrase I feel like I’ve been waiting my entire lifetime to hear…”You can fix your inflexible metabolism”.   Before I learned exactly what I would need to do to fix the inflexible metabolism that I’d struggled with my entire life (first diet at the age of 8, anyone?) I read about the science behind the State of Slim, the inspirational way to build great habits, the connection between MY LIFE’S PURPOSE and my healthiest, happiest self.  That’s pretty heady stuff for a diet book.

Which is to say of course, that it’s truly not a diet. It is a plan for restructuring the way I approach and think about  my life.   I have lost a total of 15 pounds since that first weigh in, and have maintained that loss for 4 months, with very little struggle.  I have learned to eat, exercise and be active in ways  that I enjoy, that add to the quality of my life, that help me set a positive example for my children, and that help me fulfill my life’s purpose.

Again.  Pretty heady stuff for a diet book.

To learn more about the State of Slim, please visit their website at www.stateofslim.com; Get the book, check out their facebook page, or come to our State of Slim group on Monday nights to hear what it’s all about.

I might wear the jeggings that I bought that day in December.  They really did know what they were talking about.

 

 

Camille Diamond is the Director of Community Engagement and Communications for the 14th Street  Y.

  Jeggings are leggings that are also jeans.

 

 

From Elvis to The East Village

At the 14th Street Y, we like to offer fitness experiences that are fun, energetic, and addictive.  

Because you don’t always have time to try all the classes that interest you, we offer additional fitness intensives every month to give you a chance to try something different.  In April (this Saturday, in fact!) we’re excited to offer NIA, a great combination of energy, dance, flexibility and strength training that also happens to be very, very fun.  Especially when it’s taught by Yvonne!

 

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1.  How did you get into Nia?
I was waiting to take a Body Sculpt class at a Fitness Club and was amazed to see the members dancing like no-one was watching. Being a dancer, I knew that class was for me. And so…byebye Body Sculpt.

 

2.  What do you love about teaching Nia?

I love teaching the Joy of Movement. (Nia motto) and spreading the joy through dance arts, martial arts and healing arts.

 

3.  What do you find special about teaching at the 14th Street Y?

I find the members of the 14th Street Y a uniquely joyful bunch. I sense them anticipating the fun of the routine we’re going to share every Tuesday. I can see them thinking…’wonder what she’s going to teach us tonight?’

 

4.  Is there anything you would say to people who may be interested in trying NIA but haven’t yet?

I have much to say to people who may be interested in trying Nia but haven’t yet. First, many people say to me, they can’t dance and have two left feet. I say to them, come in and bring both your left feet! I tell them, Nia means, No Inhibitions Allowed and to leave their inhibitions at the door. There’s no right or wrong. I encourage them to move ‘their body’s way’ I am there for guidance. “Life’s a Dance You Learn As You go…sometimes you lead…sometimes you follow…That’s my slogan. 

 

5. I heard you had a hip surgery and that you were back to teach very quickly. Tell me more. I had a hip replacement in December. Osteoarthritis. Dance was not the issue. I was given the okay to teach 4 weeks later by my doctor. And so I did. I recovered quickly because I was in good physical condition from the get-go. Also have taken good care of my health throughout my life.

 

6. You had a brush with Elvis, yes? I danced in 2 films with Elvis. ‘Kissin’ Cousins’ and ‘Roustabout”. I did not date him. I dated his cousin. I became a professional dancer when I was 18. I lived in Hollywood, CA and was very lucky to work constantly during those years. I danced/acted in films, on television, in night clubs and musical theatre. I was fortunate to be cast with a group of entertainers by USO and traveled to Europe, and Southeast Asia, landing in Vietnam just after the bombing of Pleiku. I am also an award-winning playwright and have written a play about the journey to Vietnam. At 76, I will continue to ‘dance through life’.

 

Yvonne teaches NIA   every Tuesday night at 6:15pm at the 14th Street Y.

Roxy’s Clean Slate (in 8)

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This past weekend my worst fear was realized. Tim Haft, the 14th Street Y’s beloved Punk Rope instructor and fitness enthusiast emailed my weight and body fat percentage to a group of strangers. The fact that I gave him permission to do this beforehand did not make it any less torturous, as I have spent most of my life going to great lengths to hide and avoid these numbers. It took me several days to decide whether I would share these numbers here as well, but finally my feminist self convinced my vain and insecure self that women like me should not be shamed into hiding our weights and our bodies by a culture that places increased value on diminishing sizes. I have never been small, but I have been healthier than I am right now, and this blog is the beginning of my trip back to a healthier body, or as Tim would say, a body that works.

 

At the first session of our start of the Clean Slate in 8 group (one week ago), I weighed 171 lbs, with a body fat percentage of 30. Over the course of the last week I followed Tim’s advice and the suggestions of some of my fellow clean-eaters, making small but impactful changes to my diet.

 

  • I added fresh fruit and vegetables to every meal, and a lot of them.

  • I chose to “eat clean” (eating whole, unprocessed foods) 80% of the time,while allowing myself a little wiggle room the other 20% .

  • I ate slowly, without the distraction of a TV, computer or handheld device.

  • I observed how different type of foods affected my mood, energy level and digestive health.

  • I tried to limit less clean foods to reasonable portions.

 

  • I did not count calories.

  • I did not cut out favorite foods altogether.

  • I did not change my normal exercise routine.

 

One week later, at our second session, I am weighing in at 167 lbs, and my body fat percentage has gone down to a little less than 28%.

 

A few years ago I wrote this blog about my first stab at weight loss. At that point i was 28, and it came to me easily. Now at 30, I have less time to work out, due to the adorable new addition to my family, pictured above (yes, I am talking about a dog, not a child). For the remaining 7 weeks of the Clean Slate program, you can follow my progress here, as I try to get back to the weight, and more importantly, the healthy mindset I was at when I wrote that first blog. Wish me luck!

Roxanne Lane is the Communications Manager for the 14th Street Y.  Her dog’s name is Puppy.

TOP 5 Indoor Gym Workouts to Try (while it’s still cold)

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So….you woke up this morning cursing the cold and wind, right?  It was a very King Lear moment for most of us as we woke to the world, despite the additional dose of light coming in earlier all the time.

Take heart though.  Spring is on it’s way, and before long you’ll find yourself getting a healthy dose of vitamin D outside while you get in your daily activity level.  While it’s still chilly, head over to the 14th Street Y and try some of our favorite classes!  In no particular order:

1.  7:00PM Monday night:  PUNK ROPE.  The Y is happy to host Tim Haft’s PUNK ROPE in our Basketball gymnasium every week, bringing in the vibe, people and music of the East Village.  The class is a combination of everything that was fun about recess, and everything that is challenging about a solid, sweaty boot camp class.

2.  6:15PM Tuesday night:  NIA.  Love to dance?  NIA is a combination of the grace and power of dance, martial arts and overall body conditioning. Plus, our instructor is Yvonne Pucket, a former Hollywood dancer.  Real Hollywood.  Like, California.  With Elvis!

3. 6:20PM Wednesday night:  ZUMBA.  There’s a reason Zumba is so popular.  In our version, the energetic and popular Adja Diarra leads you through Latin rhythms, easy to follow and fun moves, plus some resistance training to help you tone, sculpt and burn.

4.  6:30PM Thursday night: TABATA.  This is that thing where you alternate periods of short, intense aerobic exercise with less intense recovery periods, for the entire hour. Taught by the amazing Jennifer Hamlin,  You’ll sweat like it’s summer.

5.  11:30AM Friday Morning: Power Sculpt and Ab Blast:  45 minutes of intense power sculpting that works your endurance and strength, followed by a 15 minute classic abs workout.  Taught by Elizabeth Schneider, who’s style makes you feel really good about the fact that you can barely lift your arms to put away your mat.

 

Try these and so many more fitness classes at the Y by becoming a member!  Click here to find out how.

 

–Camille Diamond is the Director of Community Engagement and Communications at the 14th Street Y.  Her arms still hurt from last Friday.

Top FIVE Reasons to join a Gym

Hi, I am Jennifer and I work here at the 14th Street Y as the Membership Sales Coordinator.

I basically introduce people to the Y and get them started on membership.  In this role, I am often called upon to be a motivator and an ear for people who have hit a wall in their health and wellness and don’t know how to move forward.  I feel like I have gotten pretty good at motivating, and I think it is because I am, in a way, talking to myself.

I am a normal woman who skips workouts, indulges from time to time, guilts myself for not fitting into a mold and throws a nasty side eye at fashion magazines with unreachable images of beauty.  Most mornings, my alarm goes off, my eyes crack and with a sigh of sadness I dramatically heave myself off of my bed to begin another day.   I make a mental list of everything I have to accomplish that day and working out is always on that list.  And every day, almost immediately, I start scheming ways to get out of it.  Is that a headache?  A cramp?  Wasn’t I supposed to call my best friend and talk her through a crisis?

How do I motivate myself and how do I talk to people about fitness when they come to the Y?  I begin with honesty.  I don’t like to work out.  More precisely, I hate it…for the first 10 to 15 minutes.  Once I have passed that initial hatred and my heart rate really starts going and I realize that it is too late for me to leave, then I feel GLORIOUS!  Like everything in life, the key to success is getting past all the negative stuff we allow to hold us back and move into the “I deserve to feel good and live a good life” phaseBelow are the all the things I tick off in my head when I talk to people about fitness and the very things that form my health and wellness philosophy.

1.  Support from your peers.
Your peers are the people who are around your age and share the same ideas and goals as yourself.  I will broaden that definition when speaking about the support network you get when you join a gym:  You have a building full of people who are working hard to achieve the same goals that you have!  You want to succeed, they want to succeed, you want them to succeed and vice versa!  It is a virtual love fest of the best kind of people feeding off each other’s best energy.  If you stick with exercising and make it a regular part of your life, you actually have an endless supply of support and help as often as you walk through the door!

2.  It’s Social.  But not in that way.
I am just going to say it-sometimes it is nice to get away from your friends and family and the people you work with.  Sometimes it is nice to be surrounded by people who you don’t know very well.  Gym friends are sharing the same goals as you and can be an awesome support system but beyond that, joining your community and being present in your life outside of work and family obligations is good for the soul. Some of the best conversations I have had about books and music have happened in the locker room after an intense workout when I was feeling relaxed and quite pleased with myself for working out hard.  Try putting the incline all the way up on the treadmill and chatting with the woman next to you about Game of Thrones (this usually turns into ten people gathered around a treadmill nerding out in all the right ways).  You don’t have to talk about working out while you are at the gym, you can actually just BE at the gym in a way that you cannot BE at work when you are filling deadlines and answering endless emails.  Trust me, it is magical.

3.  Addressing Stress Relief, Seasonal Depression, Energy Levels, or a combo of all three.
Instead of sitting at home and watching The Bachelor (seriously, don’t watch The Bachelor, it is bad for your brain) and sinking deeper into seasonal depression, GET MOVING.  When you are exercising and burning fat and building muscle, you have all kinds of endorphins running around like crazy in your body telling you how very awesome you are.  And you are awesome, you just didn’t realize it when you were drinking your third glass of wine last night and wondering if you will get four or five hours of sleep before you have to go to work the next morning.  If you work out regularly you WILL sleep better, have more energy during the day, be more motivated to achieve goals and cut WAY down on your stress levels.  I like you better already!

4.  Being the person you are meant to be!  (treat Yo’self!)
Not much to say about this other than the fact that being your best self is the truest of love stories.  Looking good, feeling good and surrounding yourself with people who support you being happy leads to a great life.  And who does not want a great life?  You deserve it and so do the people you love.  Stop looking at working out as something that you have to do and look at it as time spent taking care of yourself.  If you can put it on the same level as getting a pedicure or taking yourself to the movies then you are one step closer to making exercise a regular part of your life.

5.  Your Basic, Overall health
There is a ton of science out there about what to eat and how to work out.  I won’t try and sell you any of that.  I am just saying to move.  Walking on a treadmill, stretching on a mat, jumping in the pool and doggy paddling in a circle-these all lead to immediate health benefits.  A long life sounds wonderful but imagine if you could live a long life where you also FELT great?  Doesn’t that sound like something you would want for yourself?

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Jennifer Cutillo is the Membership Coordinator of the 14th Street Y with over 10 years experience in the fitness industry.

Winter is her favorite Season.

Y-Member Back on Stage after 20 years

Last fall, we asked Y members an intriguing question… Wanna be in a show?  Y member Josee Lavoie Falcone said “Yes!” and has joined an extraordinary group of people with the AfterWork Theater Project taking our stage over the next few weeks, some for the first time in a long time, and others, for the first time ever. AfterWork’s mission is to bring fun, community, and creative self-expression to anyone and everyone who wants to be a part of their productions, and over the next year, they will become the Y’s first Adult Theater Education partner.

Josee is taking the stage for the first time in 20 years in the moving play, The Laramie Project,  a breathtaking theatrical collage that explores the depths to which humanity can sink and the heights of compassion of which we are capable.  The Laramie Project is about a twenty-one-year-old student at the University of Wyoming, Matthew Shepard, who was kidnapped, severely beaten and left to die, tied to a fence in the middle of the prairie outside Laramie, Wyoming because he was gay.

Learn more about Josee, her prior acting experience, and her time here at the 14th Street Y. Also, check her out in the Laramie Project with the AfterWork Theater Project at the 14th Street Y, Friday, January 31st through Sunday, February 2nd.

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Q: Have you ever done theater before? If you have when was the last time? If you haven’t, why now?

I loved the theater as a child and read a lot of plays. I still know by heart the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet that I taught myself when I was 12.

As a teen, I was part of a group that earned a grant to write a play. We rented an apartment for the purpose and had many wintry get-togethers where we had a meeting of the minds, then all-out shout fests followed by resolution. Truly great.

I also was in a play, as a teen, by the Quebecois playwright Michel Tremblay. I played an outrageous, outspoken diva named Brigitte. Not Juliet, but wonderful, campy joy. The first man I ever loved was “the musician” in that play.

I haven’t done any theater since then, and that was 20 years ago, so when this opportunity came up, my husband urged me to be a part of it.

Q: How else have you been involved with the 14th Street Y?

I love the fitness classes and their wide array and have had a couple of personal training sessions. Thanks to Becky Skoff, we also got the chance to see the wonderful Jake Goodman in Kaddish. We plan on being much more active attendees of the events at the Y. We just weren’t aware of all that goes on here. And, of course, AWTP is a case in point.

Q: What is your favorite thing about being a part of Afterwork?

It’s more than a little clichéd but it remains true that it’s the people who make an endeavor more or less worthwhile. We have a great team for the Laramie project and I am very happy to have gotten to know them all a little bit. I love our team. Lee Kasper, our director, is very talented. He always makes the right call–really!–which is sometimes deep-nod inducing, sometimes a bit startling, like when a new way of seeing suddenly becomes manifest. It’s a bit of a thrill to watch!

It is also quite a learning experience to watch professionals put a show together. While we may be producing “amateur” productions, nothing about the process feels amateurish. Lee and Devan, our Stage Manager, are exacting and there is great passion on everyone’s part to put on the best piece we can. It’s most interesting to witness all of the little complexities and background noise that goes into putting something like this on its feet and before an audience. I’m also learning the lingo.

Q: What role/roles are you playing? How do you get into character?

One of my roles is a university professor. Aside from the usual mnemonics, I just have to imagine the fear and the outrage that she would feel, as a prominent lesbian in a town where a gay hate crime has just been committed, and her second-guessing her decision to come to this town, thereby potentially placing herself, her child and her partner at risk. My other role is more of a challenge: I have a few lines as a homophobic male rancher. It’s tough to get those lines out! I throw myself into the body of a cud chewing, tobacco spitting, er, limited person with the kinds of opportunities attendant to that. He’s a cliché too, but he’s real, literally and in the wider sense.

Q: What do you love about the 14th Street Y?

There is so much to love. The programs that keep growing, the arts opportunities, the sense of community, whether you are Jewish or not. To my great pleasure, the Y turns out to be a treasure trove that I did not rightfully explore until now.

Q: What are we going to see you performing in next?

My manager is currently negotiating that; I’m not at liberty to say. 😉

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Check out Josee in the Laramie Project with the AfterWork Theater Project at the 14th Street Y, Friday, January 31st through Sunday, February 2nd.

Workout Wednesday Marathonspiration!

Today our Guest Blogger is Anne Delcastillo, Director of Development for the 14th Street Y.  Besides being on staff, Anne is a 14th Street Y parent and an avid fitness fan.  Autumn is such a great time to get inspired by Marathon runners!  Read about Anne’s experience running the 38th Annual Marine Corps Marathon last weekend, and inspire yourself to go an extra mile!  

This past Sunday, I ran the 38th Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC. It’s the second marathon I’ve ever run; the first was the New York City Marathon, which I ran the year I turned 40.

I am not your average athlete. In fact, I was never an athlete. I was usually the kid that got picked last for things like dodge ball.

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I came to running because I knew I needed to do something to stay fit. My mother is a two-time cancer survivor. Heart disease and diabetes also run in the family; exercise traditionally has not.

I had been doing yoga for years, but needed some form of cardio. I could never get into aerobics workouts, and I found fitness machines intimidating. I did boxing for a while, which I really enjoyed, but the gym schedule didn’t always line up with mine.

I eventually found that running was the one thing I could do on my own time. I hated it at first. But once I got past the first mile, something shifted. I liked the freedom of heading outdoors and finding my zone. (I am not a treadmill runner.) It became meditative: running through the streets of New York City—without headphones—taking in the rhythms of the different neighborhoods in the early morning hours.

The leap from runner to marathoner was prompted by a “bucket list” deal with myself. After watching the NYC Marathon one year, I was determined to run it. My goal was just to finish. And I did in 5:17:20. It was exhilarating–the route through all five boros, the music, the crowds. The whole experience left me wanting more. A couple of friends suggested we run the Marine Corps Marathon together. But when it came time to register, I got in and they didn’t.

I arrived in DC determined to beat my NY time. I wanted to finish in under five hours. And I did, but something got lost along the way. I had been so fixated on time, running about a 10-minute-mile for the first 18 miles, that I hadn’t taken in much of the course. When I hit “the wall” at mile 20. I was forced to slow down. Rather than focusing on time, I could finally take in the crowds and changing the landscape, the clear blue skies overhead, the sound of my breath. I came in at 4:52:55.

In the end, I was reminded that, for me, running really is a metaphor for life. If I have a bad run, it’s usually because I didn’t get enough sleep or didn’t eat well or tried to push through an injury. On a good run, my mind is clear, my heart is open, and the road leads to new discoveries.

This weekend, I’ll be out at the NYC Marathon cheering the last runners in the race. Hope to see you there!

Need more inspiration for your workouts?  Try any of our NEW fitness classes, which can be found here.

Member Spotlight: Weighted Workout!

This is Lisa!
This is Lisa!

Sometimes the best workout ideas come from people we meet at the Y!

Lisa’s workout starts with the cardio of her choice
and moves quickly to this strength building workout. She never lets go of the weights, goes from one exercise to the next without stopping, and adds reps each time through (start with one,
end with eight!).

Lisa, a mom of two needs quick, intense workouts for her body and her mind. Try it and let us know what you think!

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Composting at Camp!

With the launch of our successful composting drop off program last March, the 14th Street Y has discovered how willing people are to participate in composting when given the opportunity to do so. Composting is a great eco educational tool for kids, and it’s never had more room to shine than right now, at our New Country Day Camp. Today we’re sharing a blog written by Aneta, New Country’s very own Greening Coordinator! .

Kids learn about composting at New Country Day Camp!
Kids learn about composting at New Country Day Camp!

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We are very excited to introduce to you our Composting and Gardening program at New Country Day Camp in summer 2013 where campers and staff have been busy playing, smiling, and composting!

Our environmental program exposed 600+ children, from ages 4-12, and 100+ staff to the environmental advantages of composting and Jewish values that are associated with environmental advocacy. The program consisted of a diverse exposure not only to composting, but to gardening, environmental interconnectedness and our responsibility as members and leaders in this world. Campers were introduced to our worm bins, our metal can compost bins, our sensory/Havdalah garden and lead through activities on the "what, how and why" of compost. Our sensory garden featured plants that stimulated different senses: basil and stevia for taste, spearmint, peppermint and English lavender for smell, sunflowers for sight, dusty miller and lemongrass for touch and echinacea for sound because of its attraction to songbirds. It was also entitled a Havdalah garden because it reminds children of the ceremony we have after Shabbat, in which we use our senses to taste the wine, smell the herbs and see the candle.

At lunch, and after every Sustainable snack, children were reminded to throw their food scraps into our green composting bins filled with our compostable bio-bags. A "Yay or Nay" sign supplemented the reminder by showing children what could be (hence the yay!) and what could not be (nay) composted.

Every Wednesday and Friday, the bio-bags were collected and brought onto the Manhattan buses to be brought back to the Y, where it was compiled with the Y's compost. This acted as a zero-carbon footprint method because our children were already traveling on the buses back and forth from camp and the net worth of our compost collection was greater because of the variety of items the Y accepted for composting. On average, NCDC diverted about 130 pounds of food scraps away from landfills and into nutritious soil a week. At the end of Week 5, NCDC has composted 685 pounds of compost and is expected to produce over a thousand pounds in one camp season! That's a whole lot of soil that then is used for local farms upstate.

As for programming, campers how to create seed globes, which are small balls of organic compost, water, red art clay and seeds that act as micro-environments for plants to grow almost anywhere, and exposed campers to Jewish values such as Bal Taschit (avoiding waste), L'avdah u'leshamrah (protecting the environment), Manhigut (leadership) and Arevut (mutual responsibility).

We illustrated the values of composting by creating educational and experiential opportunities for the campers to engage in throughout the day in their age and subject based units. As Greening Coordinator, I designed programming that intertwined environmental education along with each unit. For example, we set up our compost bins, built our sensory/Havdalah garden and made mint lemonade from our garden with CCP, our Cooking, Camping and Pioneering Unit. With Gymnastics, we discussed the importance of a closed cycle and brainstormed other cycles that exist in our lives, such as the cycles of the moon and sun, the planets, and the life cycles of plants and animals. We manifested these ideas through body movements in a show during Shabbat. For Arts and Crafts, we built recycled scarecrows for our garden made out of toilet paper rolls, milk jugs and old clothing. With Science and Technology, we did soil testing, used this information to decide upon the location for next year's planter box and planted sunflowers as an activity for teaching phytoremediation. For Performing Arts, we created stop-motion films that both promoted and educated composting and environmental work to campers and you! the parents.

We couldn't have done it without your campers! To continue your camper's composting efforts and help bring the habit home, below are a few links on how to deal with the food waste that your home produces:

1. A worm bin is a great way to do indoor composting. Worm bins can be purchased through the Lower East Side Ecology Center: http://www.lesecologycenter.org/index.php/composting.html. They even have a compost hotline!

2. Outdoor compost bins are also an option for any outdoor space.

3. GreenMarkets accept compost collections, and other forms of recycling such as textile recycling, from homes at varying times and locations in NYC: http://www.grownyc.org/greenmarket/ourmarkets. An excellent way to keep food scraps in your home in between visits is to freeze your compost!

4. Last but not least, the Y is happy to accept any and all of your compost. Click here to learn about the Y’s Composting Program!

Join our campers in our composting efforts and keep on composting!

Aneta Bujno, our Greening Coordinator, has worked at NCDC for five summers. Aneta learned how to teach environmental education by volunteering at Bushwick City Farm, a grassroots community organization in Bushwick, Brooklyn.