The Y Supports National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month!

24 October 2012

In recognition of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month this September, the YMCA of South Hampton Roads took on the challenge of finding fun ways to engage children in our family centers and child care sites in activities focusing on nutrition and exercise. The idea was simple: teach children that eating right and staying active can be fun! Children could register for the fitness challenge in their family center or after-school site. Children then received a leaf to write their name on and post on the wall in their family center or after-school site. The goal for the 3 week challenge was for each child to collect 12 stickers to put on their leaf. Stickers were given out by staff when a child participated in a physical activity or made a healthy choice that day. 
As an association we had over 2,200 kids participate in the challenge either at their after-school childcare site or in a family center. As the point of contact for this challenge, I received emails and pictures on a daily basis from various centers sharing their successes and telling me how much the kids were enjoying the challenge. In fact, many of the childcare sites chose to continue the challenge after the official end date on September 28, as the kids wanted to continue their healthy habits year-round. 
The success of the challenge was topped off by an Association-wide community night at all of the family centers on Friday, September 28. The Greenbrier North Family YMCA hosted a Chill Cook-off at their center, while the Great Bridge/Hickory Family YMCA hosted a Family Tailgate party to go along with the high school football games taking place that night. It's a great feeling to know that even though all of our family centers and child care sites are pulled in a hundred different directions each day, we can all still come together and support such an important cause like reducing childhood obesity. I look forward to having this youth fitness challenge as an annual event for the YMCA as we teach more children about the importance of exercising and eating healthy.