SOLEDAD — What to do first was the question for most people during Saturday’s YMCA Healthy Kids Day Event. The activities were free to everyone in South County and open to all ages.
The Healthy Kids Day is a national program celebrated by over 2,000 YMCAs around the United States. The South County YMCA is one of many clubs to hold the event.
“The first ‘Healthy Kids Day’ national event was hosted across the country in 1992,” said Joe Gonzales, executive director of the South County YMCA. “South County YMCA has proudly hosted this event for our community for over 11 years at the Y.”
Health Kids Day, which most United State’s YMCAs consider a national holiday, was designed to emphasize the importance of play in keeping kids healthy and happy and enhancing their problem-solving abilities, creativity and motor and social skills.
Saturday was the first time the South County YMCA has held the event outside. The weather and wind cooperated for the most part. The day was sunny and warm and the wind was somewhat tame.
Every year, Healthy Kids Day works as a showcase for the YMCA’s commitment to nurturing the potential of kids and their families. It gives the club a platform to showcase the programs that are available to everyone in South County.
The YMCA had several activity booths at the outdoor event. The first was a small exercise course.
The course run by YMCA instructors had the kids starting the course with push-ups then moving on to sit-ups and then a rope ladder was laid out for the equivalent of a tire step-maze. Everyone that made it through got a prize.
The YMCA sponsored several tables at the event with fun and healthy activities that included arts and crafts, group games, fitness demos, various quick challenges with prizes, face painting, removable tattoos, wind chime crafting, making bead bracelets and bubble stations.
The biggest change for this year was holding the event outside in the parking lot, which allowed for the Wheelie Mobilee to attend. The First 5 of Monterey County sponsored the “Wheelie Mobilee”/My Museum, which was at the event. They provided 700 square feet of fun and interactive games and activities for all kids.
From Plinko to massive bubble wands, to soft sand and a building station, the Wheelie Mobilee was popular for both youth and adults.
There were information booths on hand from local groups, including Sun Street Centers, Central Coast Pediatric Dental Group, libraries, Chamacos, U.S. Army, MAOF – Mexican American Opportunity Foundation, Family to Family – Monterey County Adoptive Services and Resources. Even the Soledad-Mission Recreation District had a booth.
Most of the booths had prizes and information about their groups and how they can help the public.
“This year, we will continue to educate and motivate parents and children to stay physically and intellectually active all summer long, in an effort to address the growing trend of summer learning loss and weight gain,” said Lourdes (Lulu) Vargas, senior program director of the South County YMCA. “Through our Healthy Kids Day events, summer programs and ongoing outreach and education, we can truly make a difference for families in communities large and small,” Vargas said. “Our goal is to help increase the awareness to the whole community on all the great resources our community has to offer.”
The South County YMCA is at 560 Walker Drive in Soledad. The club is in the middle of planning its upcoming summer camp and activities. For information, stop by or call 831-678-1239.