Y Penguins


The YMCA of Kingston ’s Adaptive Programs provide an opportunity for people with physical disabilities and their able-bodied friends and family to play and learn together. The programs allow people with disabilities to focus on and explore their abilities in a warm, supportive environment.YMCA of Kingston penguins swim team donations support children with disabilities

The Kingston Y Penguins is a swim team for children with physical disabilities and their able-bodied siblings. Through sport, these young people explore their abilities and find within themselves the confidence to pursue their goals and the capacity to develop the skills that will help them see the many possibilities for their future. Participants learn how to focus on their abilities while developing physical and emotional strength, independence, and confidence. Participants have the opportunity to meet friends, have fun, develop a healthy active lifestyle, all while building confidence and self esteem.

 In 2001, a partnership between former marathon swimmer Vicki Keith and the YMCA of Kingston resulted in the development of the Kingston Y Penguins Aquatic Club. Vicki knew that there was a huge need in our communities for sport and physical activities for young people with physical disabilities, and having grown up at the YMCA, she felt strongly that this was the ideal place for such a project.

Since the inception of the Y Penguins, the participants have proven over and over again that nothing is impossible. When faced with a road block, or hurdle, they know that they can overcome it. They learn to strive and set goals. They explore their own limits, push beyond past expectations and take on new challenges.

To learn more about our Adaptive Programming visit our Program Guide
To learn more about the Penguins Can Fly Program call Vicki Keith: 613-546-2647 ext. 251 or vicki_keith@kingston.ymca.ca

Every child, able-bodied or disabled benefits from participating in a physical activity and being part of a team.  Physical literacy, fitness, social opportunities, friendship development, work ethic, goal setting and all the other skills learned in sport, lead to a long term healthy, active, positive life.

YMCA of Kingston Y penguins swim team opportunities for kids with developmental disabilities friendship fun swimmingOne of the most important aspect the Kingston Y Penguins offer, is the social opportunities.

Many kids with special needs are bullied at school. They eat lunch alone, they are teased, ridiculed, punched and ignored. According to Dr. Anne Snowden, a nurse and professor at the Odette School of Business at the University of Windsor in Ontario, 53 per cent of kids with a disability don’t have a friend.

Because of the Y penguins unique make up, we have an inclusive environment made up of families who intuitively know how to be inclusive, because each of these families has made certain adjustments to their lifestyle to ensure their children are included completely. This helps us create a safe inclusive environment at our YMCA.