The Lompoc Family YMCA will participate in the YMCA's national Healthy Kids Day campaign with a free community celebration from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 21 at the Lompoc facility, located at 201 W. College Ave.
The event aims to inspire kids to keep their minds and bodies active, particularly through the summer months, according to YMCA officials. It will feature activities designed to motivate and teach families how to develop and maintain healthy routines at home.
“When a child is healthy, happy and supported, they can make great things happen,” said Stephanie Saucedo, interim branch manager for the Lompoc Family YMCA. “We believe in the potential of all children, and we strive to help kids find that potential within themselves. A child’s development is never on vacation and Healthy Kids Day is a great opportunity to educate families and motivate kids to stay active in spirit, mind and body throughout the summer.”
This year’s activities will include a visit from the Charlotte’s Web Bookmobile (provided by the Lompoc Public Library), the PE PLAY Circuit, bingo prizes, Kids Zumba, youth basketball, and arts and crafts.
Additionally, Lompoc YMCA officials will showcase programs they will launch through the next year, such as the Nike marathon club, Major League Baseball program, Junior NBA program, summer camps and kids cardio.
New to Healthy Kids Day this year is the YMCA’s nationwide call for artwork for its "Child Hunger is No Fairytale" campaign, which highlights the importance that nutrition plays in ensuring kids reach their full potential. Children at the Lompoc Healthy Kids Day event will have the opportunity to create and submit artwork to be considered for the national campaign.
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The selected winners’ artwork will be shared in an online gallery and/or featured in the YMCA’s national anti-hunger campaign.
YMCA leaders said they also hope the activities will draw awareness to local child hunger issues.
“Regular meals are necessary for any healthy child," said Claudia Quezada-Rocha, youth development director for the Lompoc Family YMCA. "Without food, a child will not have the energy to run, play, think, learn or grow."
In celebration of Healthy Kids Day, the YMCA 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. And to keep kids’ taste buds evolving, have everyone in the family try at least one bite of a new fruit or vegetable at least once a month.
- Read together: The summer is a great time to enjoy books with summer program participants — and 30 minutes a day goes a long way. Take trips to the local library or create a family reading challenge to see who can log the most minutes of reading. Encourage youth to create their own stories as well.
- Get moving: Activities that require movement also help kids flex their mental muscle. Use materials in unique ways: Ask youth to build models, manipulate tools or develop their own theatrical scenes.
- Play together: Play may be the best way to prevent childhood obesity. By putting more play into your family’s day, you will soon find yourself getting the activity that will have your family feeling energized and strong.
- Make sleep a priority: Doctors recommend 10 to 12 hours of sleep per day for children ages 5 to 12 and seven to eight hours per night for adults. Sleep plays a critical role in maintaining a healthy immune system, metabolism, mood, memory, learning and other vital functions.
For more information, contact the Lompoc Family YMCA at 736-3483 or visit www.ciymca.org/lompoc/.