A Healthy Boost for Rye Y’s After School Program

healthy snack[RYE, NY, November 15, 2013] It has always been a safe bet that your child will get a healthy dose of fitness and fun at the Rye YMCA. Taking that to the next level, the Rye Y Kindertime and After School programs, along with the National YMCA, have implemented healthy eating and physical activity standards. In the last few decades, childhood obesity rates have soared. Nationally, one in three children is obese or overweight, which puts children at risk for chronic diseases often seen in adults, such as high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and type-2 diabetes. These standards are aimed at helping to stem this trend.

  “Implementing our new healthy eating and physical activity standards has certainly been a challenge for our team, however, the impact that we have already seen in our students is profound,” shared Scott Umbel, Senior Program Director.  “Our students now reach for the fresh celery sticks, whole grain chips and homemade salsa just before heading to a Zumba class, an enormous change from just 12 months ago.  I couldn’t be more proud of the work that our School Aged Child Care Director, Yanique Powell, has accomplished.”

For better nutrition, Powell has piqued the interest of the children by tapping their natural desire to learn through discovery. Her participants are involved with every step of the plan, from suggesting foods and researching recipes, to preparing and enjoying their food. It is a cooperative effort, with input from kids and staff alike. For instance, when the group wanted pizza, the staff provided whole grain dough and veggie toppings, so the children could each create their own customized snack. Smoothies became so popular that the staff created “Smoothie Friday,” which led to a more adventurous spirit in researching and trying new fruits and vegetables. To encourage continued good habits at home, newsletters inform families with recipes and family activities. The home connection is essential in establishing these lifestyle goals.

yogaRRThe program also offers an organized physical activity every day with no additional fee.  Yoga & gym, free-swim and sports class are scheduled once weekly, and tennis class is offered twice weekly. The new tennis class is based on the Ten and Under Tennis Program, which brings tennis to a kid’s level by using equipment and a curriculum specifically designed for kids. The children also receive recess time every day, weather permitting.  As always, big discounts for other YMCA classes, like gymnastics or swimming lessons, add value to the childcare programs.  “It is extremely gratifying to give the kids significant physical activity after they have been sitting at a desk all day. They really look forward to it.” commented Yanique Powell, School Aged Child Care Director.

For more information about the Y’s commitment to healthy early childhood and afterschool programs visit ryeymca.org or call (914)967-6363.