It is a generally acknowledged fact that children are our future. The YMCA takes this to heart very seriously. As such, several YMCA branches celebrated their Healthy Kids Day! This is an event that’s celebrated nationwide at more than 1,600 branches across the country. It involves more than 1.2 million participants. The goal is to get more of our youth moving, learning, and creating habits that they’ll continue all summer long.
Cheryl Justice, one of the senior health and wellness directors had this to say:
“This is something that YMCAs all over the country do. Each Y kind of personalizes it for their own area. We have a lot of low-income families in our area, so we try to do a goodie bag with lots of healthy snacks. Camden Park always pitches in and gives us tickets.”
In the Huntington area, the event is locally sponsored by Sysco and WIC. The Healthy Kids Day event features more than a dozen information stations from several vendors. Some were Fourth Avenue Arts, the Greater Huntington Park and Recreation District, and Huntington’s Kitchen.
Ms. Justice also said that the event also give the YMCA a chance to share information on its range of family and children’s programs. Some range from sports leagues to Kids in Motion. “The YMCA is really family oriented and it is not just a gym – we care about kids and we care about families. We do all kinds of things like camps and swimming programs, and we have all kinds of stuff that makes kids healthy, and healthy makes kids happy.”
Other activities include face painting, dancing, and swimming. There are also small talks taken with the parents to make them active partners in the continued wellness goal of their families. One of the wonderful things about this annual event is that older children often volunteer. They offer their services to help the younger set better comprehend what they have to gain. Their participation also fosters the air of community that is the ultimate goal of every YMCA branch.