Can you say you’ve set a world record?
Well, I’m proud to say I can, after an exhilarating event at the YMCA of Greater Toronto, in which more than 450 determined people showed up for a 7:40 am exercise ball class—the largest one in history—to nab the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title.
I was intending to remain on the sidelines to cover the event, but the enthusiasm of the staff and volunteers was contagious, and before I knew it, my SavvyMom colleague and I were donning grey “Sweat for Good” t-shirts and, despite being otherwise clad in jeans and entirely inappropriate footwear, bouncing on inflated balls to thumping pre-class house music.
The mood was festive, as all around us, a sea of diverse participants of all ages, sizes, shapes, and ethnicities chatted excitedly in anticipation. But, just when I started to think this was turning out to be a pleasant social event, a charismatic but definitely not-to-be-messed-with instructor boomed into her microphone: “Put down your phones, get on your exercise balls, and get ready to sweat!” Uh-oh.
And sweat we did. It was a serious workout. Six minutes in, I realized I couldn’t wipe the goofy grin off my face. You try not smiling in a room full of hundreds of people giving it their all to reach a common goal. It was, quite simply, a lot of fun.
After 30 minutes of squatting, jumping, and lunging, we’d made it! Now it was up to the officials to confer and let us know if we’d achieved the record.
When the GUINNESS WORLD RECORD adjudicator took the stage, we held our breath, and when she announced we beat the record—by just one participant—the crowd roared.
My first thought was that it would not have happened if my colleague and I had let the possibility of a bad hair day take precedence over taking part. (Yes, I’m not proud to say that vanity factored into my deliberation.) Then I realized that the true significance of the victory was that the effort that every person made that day counted—big time. It was a reminder that individuals can and do make a difference in achieving common goals. It was inspiring and I’m so glad I was a part of it. (Bad hair day be damned.)
But this exhilirating, community spirit we felt at the event is just one part of the story. The YMCA is truly much more than just a gym… From helping newcomers to Canada feel at home through immigrant services to helping people find meaningful work with employment services and even free housing for homeless and at-risk youth, child care and camp programs—the YMCA has something for every individual in the community.
For more about how you can get involved and to learn more about the YMCA’s opportunities for growth, community involvement and leadership, you can visit their site here.
After all, you don’t have to attend a record-breaking event to feel a part of the community. (But it’s so much fun, we highly recommend it).
-Shannon, Managing Editor at SavvyMom’s sister site, Help We’ve Got Kids