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There’s a simple pleasure in turning away from distractions, going outdoors, and devoting your full attention to all the sensations of the present moment. On Saturday, December 1, families gathered at YMCA Camp Moody to experience this immersion, known as shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, together.

Get outside more. Go for a walk. Advice that’s been handed down from mothers to their children since time immemorial, and perennial resolutions for many a new year. Our instincts tell us it’s right and our hearts compel us again and again toward the outdoors.

Last year, little painted rocks began to show up all over the city of Bastrop. Some were big, some were small, but all of them were painted and placed for one purpose, to make people smile.

Every year the Bastrop Education Foundation chooses a select few students from a pool of candidates to be that years “Rising Stars,” a group of students who the teachers feel are truly exceptional in and out of the classroom.

The Austin Humane Society is Austin’s oldest and longest-running animal shelter, and it is committed to preserving and improving the life of every pet that comes through its doors. The YMCA of Austin’s Communications Impact Team toured the facility to meet some of the lucky dogs and cats there and to learn more about its tremendous benefit to the Austin community.  

Check out the awesome new mural in Child Watch, by renowned local artist and Y member Avery Orendorf. Did you know Avery's very first mural was painted at the Y a few years ago? Avery's sons, both elementary schoolers now, have been among the many wonderful kids in Child Watch over the years. There's nothing like the smiles from kids and parents when there's fresh art or toys in the kids' areas. 

Here at the YMCA, personal training is about body, mind, and spirit. At Y branches around Central Texas, our members and trainers develop strong relationships that support members' goals. We love spotlighting those relationships and accomplishments.

THIS IS A Y-MEMBER GUEST POST

By Rebekah Manley of the Brave Tutu blog:

I circled the packed YMCA parking lot. My anxious pre-yoga pep talk did not go well: “I’m not going to get a spot and I’ll be late for class. There might not be room for me. Even if there is, I don’t want to be that person.”

‘Tis the season for potlucks and holiday parties. Celebrate the healthy way this year and be the potluck hero when you provide this nutritious alternative to the traditional fare. It’s easy to make, and the portions are scalable to feed many people or only a few. Your fellow partygoers will thank you for bringing this tasty treat! 

As you prepare your gift lists for the holidays, consider supporting your local community through charities and by buying from small, local businesses. Choices like this put your dollars right back into the place you live and help keep local economies thriving.

Texas is big in land and heart. We can't wait to see how (and what!) you give this season! 

Give Texas-Made Gifts

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