Vail Valley: Youth foundation strives to get kids active
Vail, CO Colorado
EAGLE-VAIL – The Youth Foundation has launched a new initiative, KidSTRONG – Kids Stronger Through Recreational Opportunities and Nutritional Guidance – geared toward making sure children in Colorado’s Vail Valley get time to be active and physically fit. During existing Youth Foundation after school programs, elementary and middle school students are participating in weekly programming throughout the year that increases physical activity, exposes youth to new recreational opportunities and teaches youth and their families how to make healthy lifestyle choices. The KidSTRONG initiative is the result of a collaboration between the Youth Foundation, Eagle County Schools and Vail Valley Medical Center, as well as the Colorado Health Foundation.
Through a grant made by the Colorado Health Foundation, The Youth Foundation has made it a priority to increase physical activity by 200 percent among all Youth Foundation participants through the after school programs.
Through the KidSTRONG programs, participants are exposed to a variety of physical fitness opportunities and encouraged to try new things. Participants might be playing soccer and learning agility skills one day, playing fitness games and learning about nutritional habits another day, and learning the concentration of tae kwon do and increasing their flexibility, or gaining life skills through the game of golf another day.
Mike Santambrogio, the Fitness and Nutrition Coordinator for the Youth Foundation sees the positive impact that the KidSTRONG program brings to kids throughout the valley.
“Just the other day I had a child come up to me and tell me all about their trip to the grocery store with his family,” Santambrogio said. “He was so excited to let me know that he was helping his mom make better choices by reading the nutrition labels on some of the foods they were purchasing.”
During the first phase of this program, the Youth Foundation plans to focus on after school programming, with a long term goal of establishing a coordinated approach with the schools, families, nonprofits, local government and community. CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health), an evidence-based program, provides the curricular foundation for the KidSTRONG programs. CATCH evaluation tools will allow the Youth Foundation to track the progress the participants are making.
To learn more about the Youth Foundation or to get involved with the after school enrichment programs contact Lee Jones at 970-763-7000 or go to the Web site http://www.theyouthfoundation.org.