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April 7, 2014

Cass Y launches kids' fitness program

10 weeks of sessions focus on healthy lifestyles

Leaders at the Cass County YMCA are promoting healthy lifestyles for children through a new program, Active Bodies Active Minds.

The 10-week program is open to children 8 years old and up and provides information on nutrition as well as activities including sit-ups and push-ups. The mission of the program is getting youth to lead healthier lifestyles by being active, eating healthy and playing together.

Derreck Parkevich, wellness and fitness director at the YMCA is coordinating the Active Bodies Active Minds with the help of program counselors Shawna Davis and Suzy Wamsley.

The goal is to show children how to have fun while exercising while also teaching them about nutrition.

Each counselor leads an hour-long workout session at the YMCA two days a week.

“We want to give the opportunity for local youth to get active and encourage them to get going for a healthy lifestyle,” Derreck Parkevich said.

The program is partially funded by the United Way of Cass County.

Families will also be encouraged to participate in sessions about nutrition so they can support their child at home, Parkevich said.

Active Bodies Actives Minds began Tuesday and will continue into June. As of Friday, 10 people were signed up.

Davis, one of the two counselors for the program, is excited to be promoting healthy lifestyles for children. As the mother of two sons, one of which who has Type 1 diabetes, learning about nutrition and promoting health and fitness in her home was important to her, she said.

“I’m hoping [the kids] get active and leave the program understanding some things about nutrition,” Davis said.

Some things she wants to teach about nutrition include an awareness of the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle and weeding out the temptation of some foods.

She is also hoping the program teaches children they can be active even if they aren’t in sports, Davis said.

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