Afterschoolers Have Fun Getting Fit
The new Fit and Fun at the Y just launched last month thanks to generosity of the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County and already parents are raving about the positive impacts the program is having on their kids. This curriculum-based health and wellness program teaches and encourages a healthy lifestyle for the Y’s afterschoolers while having fun.
“Fit and Fun is not about weight loss, muscle gain, diets and so on,” says Healthy and Safe Children Director Elyse Hubbard, who is very passionate about the program as she battled obesity as a child and later overcame an eating disorder as a young adult. “It’s about planting the seed of healthy lifestyle habits and is what I believe was an educational piece of my childhood that I lacked. If I can help one child not endure what I did, through being part of this program and the promotion of lifestyle balance, then my job is done.”
Although the children are learning about nutrition and fitness, the entire hour involves movement and fun. The Children’s Board also provides free Fitbits to all participants to promote a goal of 60 active minutes a day.
“Instead of parking herself in front of the TV after school, she finds activities to stay active,” writes one parent about his daughter. “Since beginning the program, she has been pushing herself to ensure that she is meeting and exceeding the step count each day.”
The father says he was shocked by a question his daughter asked after he picked her up from a Fit and Fun day. “She asked me if the TV had controls to limit time? I didn’t fully understand the context of the question and asked her why. She explained that she would like it if the TV had restrictions placed on it with time limitations. Knowing we don’t really have technology that will do so, I told her I would more closely monitor her TV activity and restrict its use throughout the week,” he shares. “It’s obvious that the curriculum that is being taught and instilled in these children through the Fit and Fun program is effective and meeting them at their level of understanding. If that were not the case, I’m certain that my daughter would never have been encouraged to make this request nor fully comprehend the importance of having limitations.”
The program currently serves 75 children, ages 6-11. Two Fit and Fun instructors work with the children for an hour two days a week. One of the additional goals of this program is to have parents pass a free CPR/AED/First Aid course to help keep their kids healthier and safer.
As of now, Fit and Fun at the Y is offered to afterschoolers at YMCA Camp Cristina, Bob Sierra North Tampa YMCA and the Northwest Hillsborough Family YMCA. For more information, contact Elyse.Hubbard@tampaymca.org.
Pictured above: The new Fit and Fun at the Y teaches and encourages a healthy lifestyle for the Y’s afterschoolers while having fun.