I hope everyone had an enjoyable Memorial Day weekend! With a new month beginning tomorrow and another step closer to summer, this blog will discuss wellness activities in after school and camp programs.
After school programs and summer camps are some of the largest programs that recreation and park agencies run. Additionally, it is a wonderful place to introduce and teach children about healthy lifestyles. The NCRPA Wellness Toolkit provides some small changes that you can make to your program that could have a big impact on the health of your participants.
First, adding healthy eating! If you do have control over the purchase of food for your agency’s program, consider adding some fresh produce into your snack rotation. Such as cut up apples, blueberries, strawberries or watermelon! The healthy snack guidelines and using local produce in agency programming sections of the Wellness Toolkit can help you choose and find healthy food for your program participants.
Second, adding nutritional education. Afterschool programs or camps are a great way to add a short health lesson. You can establish a weekly theme about healthy lifestyles (water safety, sun protection, eating vegetables and fruit). You can even have a weekly healthy cooking class, creating snacks that are both healthy and delicious!
Lastly, make sure you add in plenty of physical activity. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that children get at least one hour of physical activity each day. You can create a policy that requires at least half an hour or one hour of activity for each day the program is offered. Check out the NCRPA Physical Activity webpage for additional information.
Your youth programs, whether it is summer or during the year, can become stronger by offering more opportunities to engage the youth, as well as providing healthy eating options. If you have youth program or healthy eating ideas, then please email us or submit them on the wellness site here: (firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.ncrpa.net/?Wellnesssub)