Health & Fitness – Paul Rutledge

The YMCA of Christchurch has operated in Christchurch for 154 years. Core to our many, many services are those that are focused on health and wellbeing, either through our stadium activities, outdoor adventure activities, recreation or fitness centres.

Paul Rutledge, one of our long term members (involved since the early 80’s), says that he sticks with the YMCA because of the people: “…the people who come here, the people who work here… its like an extended family.” Paul is an active runner – using Y facilities as a base for regular runs around Hagley, and as the meeting point of the Hagley Park Harriers. “What appeals about the Y is it’s quirky-ness. It is kind of eclectic – you meet all sorts here and I like that it is totally unpretentious. There really is something for everyone here, it is very real, very human.”

Even despite the fact that Paul has been involved with the Y for over 30 years, he was surprised to hear about the many charitable things the Y does with his membership fees. He was not entirely aware about the extensive programmes we offer young people – particularly those who need a hand up. When asked what his advice would be to his younger self, Paul replied without hesitation: “Be better educated. I wish I’d made more of the opportunities available to me as a young person.”

Paul is keen to hear from anyone who wants a low key running group to join on Thursday evenings – all speeds and fitness levels welcomed with open arms. Enquire at the City Y reception.

Our gym is integral to our mission and purpose, not so much because of income generation, but because so many of our gym members support the wider mission and purpose of our organisation. When you join our gym your choice demonstrates your support for young people of Canterbury. The YMCA uses all the profits earned from our operations to provide programmes and services that strengthen our community, particularly young people. These include a broad range of youth development programmes, providing a range of community events such as SPECTRUM and Carols by Candlelight, and strengthening government programmes such as literacy and numeracy programmes for vulnerable young people.

If you visit the City YMCA, for example, you may see some young people around the building. We provide full time education to 20 students who have been excluded from mainstream school, and who commonly have significant financial, educational and societal barriers to overcome in order to be successful learners.

While education is a core tax-payer funded service which should be equitable to all New Zealanders – sadly, it is not. The YMCA advocates for the rights of these young people to access appropriate education for their needs. The YMCA also invests over $200,000 per year to ensure these students have good teachers, adequate resources, and food in their tummies.

These funds come from fees paid to the Y for other services, such as the gym and accommodation, so thanks to you all for your ongoing support! You are investing in the next generation!

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