Valdosta YMCA kicks off summer with annual Healthy Kids Day April 20

Apr. 18—VALDOSTA — Healthy Kids Day is the Y's largest single-day event celebrating youth development and is the Y's kick-off to a healthy, happy summer for youth, families and staff. The fun-filled fitness day is free and open to the community from noon until 3 p.m. at the Y's 2424 Gornto Road location this Saturday, April 20.

The Valdosta-Lowndes County Family YMCA encourages families to take a moment to help kids be kids and set them up for a summer of success. Sponsored by Pepsi, Tropical Smoothie, CareSource and Chick-fil-A, the day-long event will feature activities such as swimming in the 25-meter and WaterWorks pools, hula-hoop and basketball contest and an old-fashioned sack race along with other games, healthy cooking demonstrations, arts and crafts, and competitions to motivate and teach families how to develop and maintain healthy routines at home.

"At the Y, we believe in the potential of all children and each day we work to help kids find that potential within themselves," said Lawrence S. Tobey III, YMCA President/CEO. "Healthy Kids Day is a fun, free community-wide event to kick off summer and remind us all how important it is for kids to stay active physically and mentally throughout the summer."

Healthy Kids Day is the Y's national initiative to improve health and well-being for kids and families. The Y hopes to use the day to get more kids moving and learning, creating healthy habits they can continue while they are away from the classroom, according to a press release from the Valdosta Y.

"When kids are out of school, they can face hurdles that prevent them from reaching their full potential," the release said. "Research shows that without access to out-of-school learning activities, kids fall behind academically. Kids also gain weight twice as fast during summer than during the school year. With all that is going on in the world right now, Healthy Kids Day is a reminder to families that we can help ensure all children have access to what they need to reach their full potential, even during out-of-school time."

In celebration of YMCA's Healthy Kids Day, the Y offers the following tips to help families develop healthy habits this summer that can have a lifetime effect:

— High Five the Fruits and Veggies — Make sure kids get at least five servings of fruits and veggies each day, the minimum number nutritionists recommend for 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 10-12 hours of sleep a day for children ages 5-12 and 7-8 hours per night for adults. Sleep plays a critical role in maintaining our healthy immune system, metabolism, mood, memory, and learning.

The Valdosta Y's Healthy Kids Day takes place at 2424 Gornto Road from noon until 3 p.m. and features free, fun, active play and educational activities. The community is invited, and the Y is waiving the $50 Joiner's Fee for new members and Program Sign-up fees for Summer Camp and Gymnastics.

For more information, contact the YMCA at 229-244-4646 or visit