At the heart of the YMCA lies the power to transform—both yourself and the world around you. From our exceptional fitness, personal training, sports and aquatics programs, to our extensive preschool and school-age programs, to our fun family and community events, the Y offers an array of options focused on strengthening bodies, minds and communities.
When you are involved with the Y, you help bring about lasting personal and social change. Whether you want to nurture the potential of children, improve your family’s health, or give back to your neighbors, your involvement with the Y will positively impact your community.
Today, according to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 15 percent of Illinois children aged 2-4 years are obese and more than 15 percent of adolescents in Illinois were overweight. In addition, in a recent KIDS COUNT® data snapshot, the Annie E. Casey Foundation finds that 80 percent of lower-income fourth graders and 66 percent of all kids are not reading proficiently - a key predictor of a student’s future educational and economic success. Furthermore, when the school year ends, the physical and educational health of many kids worsens.
To kick-start physical activity and learning now and throughout the summer – a critical out-of-school time for kids – on Saturday, April 26, the YMCA of Metro Chicago is celebrating Healthy Kids Day® with free community events across the Chicagoland area for kids and families. YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day, the Y’s national initiative to improve families’ health and well-being, features child and family friendly activities sure to get the whole family immersed in physical activity and learning fun!
Here is just a sample of some of the exciting activities we have planned:
YMCA of Metro Chicago Jumping Jack Challenge – all YMCA of Metro Chicago centers will work together to reach their goal of completing a collective 500,000 jumping jacks at their Healthy Kids Day® events. All participants will receive a Healthy Kids Day Jumping Jack Challenge certificate and the top 10 participants with the highest number of jumping jacks will receive a exclusive CYBEX pedometer.
Family Group Fitness Classes—Bring the whole family to participate in group fitness classes especially designed for members of the whole family.
Summer Reading Program Kick Off —Many of our Ys are partnering with their community’s local libraries to incentivize kids to read over the summer. All of our summer camps will be incorporating this reading initiative into their summer programming.
Essay Contest and Coloring/Art Contest—Calling all Picassos and Mark Twains through 15 years old! Sharpen your writing and coloring and artisitc skills by participating in our “What the Y Means to Me” essay or coloring/art contests. Winners will be announced at our Healthy Kids Day events!
Visits From Local Firemen and Policemen—Local firemen and policemen will be attending the event to share helpful safety tips to children and families.
Dieticians and Nutritionists—Local diet and nutrition experts will be on hand to share important information with families to help them keep a healthy diet.
Healthy Recipe Share—Members from across the association will share their favorite healthy recipes to be assembled into a personalized cookbook the day of the event.
And so much more!
"At the YMCA's Healthy Kids Day events, we will focus on health and education-related activities to ensure participants learn about nutrition, exercise and other preventable health diseases. Our health focus, combined with fun learning activities, will ensure that fewer children are at risk for childhood obesity or diabetes and be successful in school. It's never too early to help children learn about healthy living," said Richard Malone, President and CEO, YMCA of Metro Chicago. “Research shows that during the summer, children are more likely to gain weight and fall behind academically than during the school year. Healthy Kids Day is not just a single day of fun, active play and learning--it's a kickoff to help families get a jump start on creating a healthier summer for their children.”
In celebration of YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day, the Y offers the following tips to help families develop healthy habits:
High Five the Fruits and Veggies – Make sure kids get at least five servings a day, the minimum number nutritionists recommend to maintain healthy childhood development.
Foster an Early and Ongoing Passion for Books – Read to and with your kids. Help children read at every age and every stage of their development.
Team Up for Athletic Events – Set a family goal of great health by teaming up for community or charity events like races, walks, fun runs. Bike rides, etc.
Volunteer Together – Find a cause that matters to the kids. Open their eyes to a world beyond themselves and the rich rewards that come from making a difference.
Lead By Example – Be a good role model – kids can be influenced by seeing how hard their parents work at home or on the job, and how important it is to stay healthy.
Participate in a Healthy Kids Day! The YMCA of Metro Chicago’s Healthy Kids Day events take place will take place April 26, 2014, 10a.m.-12p.m. Please RSVP to make your entry into the event quick and easy!