What’s Been Happening: YMCA Healthy Kids Day!
During our six (and a half!) years of living in Wichita Falls, I have continued to be regularly impressed by two things: how quickly every single person in this town posts to social media the second there is a single drop of precipitation (Ya’ll. We all know it’s raining. We live here, too. We can see it.), and the dedication of the town and its organizations to the local young people.
One of those fabulous organizations, the YMCA, recently held their annual Healthy Kids Day. Healthy Kids Day is “the Y’s national initiative to improve the health and well-being of kids and families”. Each year they plan an afternoon of FREE fun, field games, arts and crafts, music, and healthy snacks for families to come out and enjoy. The Y invites other local community organizations to come out and interact with and educate Texoma families and children about the importance of staying physically and mentally engaged throughout the summer months (because what most of us really want to do is Netflix and Chill, amirite?) “When kids are out of school, they can face hurdles – or gaps – that prevent them from reaching their full potential; these are often related to hunger, water safety, learning, safe spaces to play, and health.” They’re less physically active and engaged in learning during the summer months. And, according to the Y, research shows that children gain weight two to three times faster during summer vacation than during the school year. Ironically that happens to be the exact opposite of this blogger, who tends to pack on a winter coat each year.
For the Texoma with Kids “booth”, I chose to focus on helping the kids create a healthy snack. My decision was based mostly on the fact that I think it’s important to teach our kids that food can be both good for you AND delicious, but also because snacks. I’m pregnant. I love food.
If you know me personally, you’re aware that my need to constantly have every single plate I have overflowing with projects is a real struggle; this being said, simply having a snack prepared for them wouldn’t do. So, like every good “creative” mom, I took to Pinterest for ideas. When I came across this tutorial for healthy “candy” bracelets, I knew I’d found a winner. Candy bracelets were one of my favorite “accessory-turned-snack” as a kid, second only to those candy cigarettes that puffed “smoke” when you blew into them.
Side note: WHAT WERE OUR PARENTS THINKING?!
I didn’t choose to use all of the same ingredients she used, but instead used dried cranberries, freeze dried apples, Cheerios, and yogurt covered raisins (both vanilla and chocolate, OF COURSE). Over the course of the day, almost 150 bracelets were made, and the supplies were inexpensive! I bought organic snacks from Aldi and spent only $50, and got tapestry needles (because safety is important!) and some stretchy cord from WalMart. If I could do it again I wouldn’t use the stretchy cord; dental floss or regular thread would have worked better. The elasticity of the cord caused the knot on the needle to come undone often and was a bit of a pain.
Even so, the day was a huge success. Health and Wellness director Donisha Reed organized a spectacular event! She not only made sure things ran smoothly, checking on all the participants regularly and interacting with the kids, she also showed off her mad hula hooping skills and helped this pregnant mama carry everything to the car when we finished up. Her love for our community and what she does was evident in every well planned detail, and her enthusiasm rivaled that of my children on Christmas morning. It was a huge blessing to see her and so many other organizations from our community come out to teach and have fun with these kids and their families! I’m already looking forward to next year!