July 2017

From the Director: Bear Levin Studer Parking Update

          Thank you for your patience these last few months using our temporary parking lot when you visit the Y.  We appreciate you hanging in there with us and have some news to share.

          When we take occupancy of the garage this month, we will have immediate access to nearly 100 additional parking spaces. When you enter the garage, immediately on the left hand side, there will be additional handicapped spaces.  The ramp leading to the second level and the entire second level will also be available for parking. Members will continue to have access to our temporary lot at the intersection of Romana and Tarragona Streets. This allows the Y to provide nearly 160 parking spaces exclusively for YMCA members.

          If you do not already have a parking decal, please pick one up at the Welcome Center. The decal should be placed on the inside of your windshield, at the bottom left corner. That is the easiest spot for our staff to see and verify yourmembership. Unauthorized cars will be towed at the owner’s expense. Once the garage construction is complete, and the garage is fully operational, we will implement a validation process for parking. We will provide details at that time. 




Stay tuned for an announcement of the official garage opening date. We will make the announcement via our Mobile App, email, Facebook, Twitter, and signage around the Y.

          Always remember to park in legal parking spaces in and around the Downtown area. Private business lots have informed us that they will begin towing cars parked illegally in their lots.

        We will have printed maps available at the branch when the garage officially opens.

         Please note that Intendencia Street will be closed from July 5-14 as part of the ongoing construction project.

By Bill Seedes, Executive Director, Bear Levin Studer Branch


Member Spotlight: - Juli Poole, Bear Levin Studer Y

     If you’re constantly finding excuses not to go to the Y, you should talk to Juli Poole. This stay-at-home mom of four – four children age 5 and under – makes it a priority to find time every day for herself amid the endless demands of parenting.

     “I know I’ll feel better if I come,” she says. “I already feel better just having gotten out the door and dropped the kids off.” Having a place for her kids to play and Y instructors “who honestly care if I have a question” make the Y a go-to destination for that time.

     So back to those four small children… During her first pregnancy, Juli had an appendectomy. During that procedure, her doctor told her that she showed signs of endometriosis and might have trouble getting pregnant again. But she didn’t have any trouble the second time. Then she got pregnant immediately a third time, this time with twins.

     “I was looking at the monitor and I said, ‘That’s two babies.’ My husband (Kevin) and I just started laughing.” So Juli had four children in three years.Juli Poole and Family

     She says that, ironically, when she was younger, she didn’t want to get married and be a stay-at-home mom. Instead, her passion for science led her to plan a career as a veterinarian, plus pursue her love of travel. “But I met my husband, and he changed that plan!” she says.

     The Poole children – Luke, now 5, Lane, 3, and Libby and Freddy, almost 2 – are regulars at the Y. The Pooles had been members of another fitness facility, but turned to the Y for its KidZone and group exercise classes, plus proximity to Kevin’s workplace. Juli started bringing them in as soon as the twins could sit up confidently.

     Juli has never been one to sit still. She has always enjoyed running and even completed a half marathon between her second and third pregnancies. Under a doctor’s advice because of some knee problems, she’s backed off some of the distance running, although she would love to complete the Disney Princess half marathon and maybe a triathlon – “if I can get over that open water swim thing.” While pregnant with Luke, she and Kevin were part of a mission trip to London, giving her a chance to both travel and serve.

     In addition to finding daily time to herself, Juli credits her laid back attitude as an asset in managing her little ones. “I try not to hover. I believe in a lot of free time play,” she explains. “I think it’s better to have children close together because they’re best buddies, and they play together.” That and “lots of prayer” get her through parenting challenges.

     After pausing a moment, she quotes a T-shirt that she says speaks to her: “I survive off Jesus and coffee.” And she laughs again.

     It’s clear that laughter, prayer and the Y are all part of Juli’s family life. Her advice to others when they’re struggling to find motivation or balance responsibilities is simple: “Even just 30 minutes a day – praying, reading, running, exercising – 30 minutes a day to yourself can make a world of difference.”

By Andrea Rosenbaum, Director of Advancement

Program Corner: S.A.W.- Safety Around Water at Hunter Pool

         Safety Around Water Did you know that every day two children die as a result of drowning? In fact, drowning is the second‑leading cause of death for children between the ages of 5 and 14.

          Drowning poses a considerable risk for youth and adults, especially those from underserved populations. The statistics are sobering, but drowning deaths are preventable. At the Y, we believe everyone should have the chance to learn how to stay safe around water!

          Thanks to a $10,000 grant in honor of Dondre Lewis, our Y, has launched the S.A.W.- Safety Around Water- program at Hunter Pool in Pensacola. The grant was provided by Mike Papantonio of the Pensacola law firm Levin Papantonio Thomas Mitchell Rafferty & Proctor.Safety Around Water

          The S.A.W. program is offered to children of all ages who participate in the Boys & Girls Club. The program began June 5 and will continue through July 28. Children attend classes in their respective age groups Monday-Thursdays at Hunter Pool.  Safety Around Water is an independent program designed to reach children at risk of drowning and teach them basic water safety skills and, hopefully, overcome their fear of being in or near bodies of water.

          Learning to be safe around water is a life skill. Today, fewer than half of all Americans say they know how to swim. The Safety Around Water program is designed to help change this reality. Learning to be safe around water builds a sense of achievement. Overcoming a fear of water and mastering skills in the pool build confidence and competence.

          Safety Around Water, like all of the programs offered through the Y, helps individuals reach their full potential. The YMCA of Northwest Florida is privileged to provide this program to our community.       

By John Roam, Aquatics Coordinator, Bear Levin Studer Branch

Exercising Together: Water Aerobics

Summer is the perfect time to go outside and get fresh air and exercise. Water aerobics classes at the Pullum Branch offer an opportunity to do just that. Exercising in water offers a gentle resistance to really get those muscles moving and is easy on your joints. Water aerobicsWater Aerobics Pullum offers more than a low-impact way for the injured, pregnant and elderly a way to exercise. Workouts in the pool burn calories and engage multiple muscle fibers while working through a large range of motion. The average person will burn approximately 300 calories in a one hour class. Athletes and exercisers of any capability can benefit from including water aerobics in their routine.

When exercising in water, your heart rate can register as much as 17 beats lower than it does on land. This doesn’t mean you aren’t working hard in your water class. Rather, the water helps the blood circulate so your heart doesn’t have to work as hard. Perceived exertion is a better measure of your intensity level.

       The Pullum YMCA offers these classes Monday–Friday at 8 am and on Tuesday and Thursdays at 5 pm. We have three instructors to choose from and each has their own unique style and music.  Kelly Melville teaches Monday, Tuesday and Fridays at 8 am, and Thursdays at 5 pm. Autumn Navarro teaches Wednesday and Thursdays at 8 am. Jennifer Grubbs teaches at 5 pm on Tuesdays. You can also check out the pool schedule at the Bear Levin Studer Y for water classes there, too.       

Join us at the Y, meet some new friends, get wet and have a little fun while you get your work out in.    

By Christine McLeod, Program/Wellness Director, Pullum Branch

Health Focus: Delay the Disease-Parkinson’s Program

        Many of the residents in our community are living with one of a number of chronic diseases that have devastating effects on their daily lives. One of the most frustrating of these diseases is Parkinson’s, which occurs when nerve cells in the brain malfunction and die. When this happens, the person affected is unable to control movement normally. According to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, there are nearly a million people in the United States living with the disease.    

          There are certain symptoms to look for with Parkinson’s Disease. However, they may differ from person to person. The most common associated with it are tremors in the hands, arms, legs and face.  Others include slowness of movement, stiffness of the limbs and trunk and difficulty with balance and coordination.

          Popular treatment options range from medication to surgery. However, regular exercise has also shown to be an effective treatment for managing symptoms and maintaining a quality of life. In an effort to aid in the fight against Parkinson’s, the Bear Levin Studer Family YMCA is proud to offer Delay the Disease. DTD is a twice-a-week exercise program that can help participants move about with ease and confidence in a crowd, get out of bed and dress independently, as well as improve handwriting. Classes meet on Tuesday and Thursdays at 1:30 pm in the Greenhut Multipurpose room. Exercises can be modified for participants at any stage of the disease. Participants can expect to work on improving their strength, cardio and flexibility in each class.

          Delay the Disease sessions run in 12-week increments. Cost is $90 for YMCA members for the 12 weeks, and $120 for program participants. To learn more about this life changing program or to find out when the next session starts, contact Chris Parker orcall (850) 438-4406.  

By Chris Parker, Wellness Director, Bear Levin Studer Branch


Staff Member Spotlight: Josh Hill

Josh Hill at WC


What is your role at the Y?  Welcome Center Staff Member

What do you enjoy most about being on staff at the Y?  The interactions with people and getting to know the members.

Who is your favorite cartoon character and why?  Batman, because he is always able to find a way to fix any problem that comes up.

What is the number one suggestion you give to a new member when visiting the Y for the first time?  Talk to different people and don’t be afraid to make connections/friendships. There are more people than you would think that have the same interests as you do.

What do you want to be when you grow up?  I hope to work with the U.S. Marshalls or the DEA

By Doug Johnson, Membership Director, Bear Levin Studer Branch