Professional Development

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Simple Ideas for Making Your Out-of-School Program Healthier

Wednesday, 26 March 2014 03:35

Out-of-school time providers have the unique opportunity to create environments where healthy eating and physical activity are encouraged. It doesn’t matter if you’re a before school program, an afterschool program, a summer program, a scouting organization, or a sports team, you play a meaningful role in empowering youth to eat better and move more. As you think about your goals for 2014, below are resources and tools you can try throughout the year to promote healthy eating and physical activity.

 

  1. In January, start your year off right by learning about the Healthy Out-of-School Time Framework. Read inspiring success stories of how others have created environments where youth are encouraged to eat healthier and move more.

  2. In February, find customized resources to encourage youth to Drink Right, Move More, and Snack Smart by taking the Healthy Kids Out of School Survey.

  3. In March, send healthy habits home; get a free copy of A Year of Being Well. Don’t forget to download free copies of the Yum-o! Kitchen Roadmap.

  4. In April, build support and strengthen your capacity by reaching out to your local Parks and Recreation agency or Cooperative Extension. Ask what programming is available and how you can collaborate.

  5. In May, learn why Afterschool Meals Matter by signing up for this monthly call which explains federal nutrition reimbursement programs. If you haven’t already thought about serving summer meals, the Food Research Action Center can help with that too.

  6. In June, try a new AfterSchool Energizer to get children moving and having fun. “As If” is a perfect activity for a rainy day. The Healthy Kids Hub has even more resources for when you’re short on space, time, or equipment.

  7. In July, “Drink Right” and make sure kids in your program are getting enough water. Read and share Tips to Increasing Water Consumption to promote healthy hydration during the summer.

  8. In August, mobilize youth leaders; try holding a walk-through of your building and have youth identify ideas for where positive messages could be shared via posters and pictures. Need a resource? Try the Alliance for a Healthier Generation Youth-Engagement Guide.

  9. In September, start the school year off right by creating a partnership with your local grocery store to help promote healthy snacking. Download the Snack it Up Tool Kit from the Healthy Kids Hub.

  10. In October, apply for a mini-grant from Youth Service America to find additional funds to promote health and combat hunger. Don’t forget to sign up for the National Service Briefing to stay up to date on youth leadership opportunities.

  11. In November, beat the winter blues and get your staff up and moving by using the Fit for a Healthier Generation videos. Try yoga, kickboxing, or even Zumba! The Alliance for a Healthier Generation resource database has even more ideas for indoor and outdoor activities.

  12. In December, and all year long, celebrate! Share your successes and challenges with us on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter @healthiergen @healthykidsoos.

These simple ideas are brought to you by 2014 NAA Annual Convention presenters Daniel W. Hatcher, National Healthy Out-of-School Time Advisor for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, and Molly B. Newman, Senior Project Manager for Healthy Kids Out of School an initiative of ChildObesity180.

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