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Club keeps kids fit
Fitness does not have to be all body crunches, but can be fun while keeping children in peak condition by staying active and including proper nutritional coaching.
The Kids Fit and Fun Camp at Club Yuma Fitness Center provides games, sports, swimming and nutrition instruction to motivate children from 6 to 12 to stay in shape, Lisa Nelson, director, said.
"For us it's important to get them moving and we have a lot of them giggling. It's also important to be inventive on a hot day so to beat the heat, we have them run through sprinklers."
At the end of each week, they have a water balloon toss and fight, then bring out the water pistols and wrap up with water play in the pool.
"Marco Polo," a blindfold game of hide and seek, has children hunt for each other by the sound of their voices is a favorite, Nelson said. But she also focuses on fundamentals, having taught two girls to swim in the spring, and expects to have another swimming by the end of the current session.
But she said she always starts with warm-ups such as a ball toss between two lines of campers who must do push-ups as a penalty for dropping the ball. But warm-ups includes discussions of why it is important to keep heart healthy and that includes a proper diet.
"In the technology age, kids are not as physically active, so we're seeing an increase in child obesity and it piggybacks on a lack of education about nutrition and our fast-food culture," Nelson said.
She provides campers with printouts of the "super food groups" including vegetables, fruits and whole grains and the foods to avoid, such as pastries, candy and soda. And she also includes a children's food pyramid, based on age, gender, height and weight.
Along with soccer, basketball, tennis and dodgeball, campers learn that staying fit does not have to be through strictly organized sports. Nelson said they can always do activities at home such as walking the dog, riding a bicycle, running through the sprinkler, helping parents with washing the car or gardening.
Club Yuma is still accepting campers. The cost is $20 per day, $100 for one week, $200 for two weeks. Anyone interested may call 341-4830 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rachael Wachs, 9, from Greenville, S.C., is in Yuma for the summer visiting her father, who works at KTTI radio. Rachael said while she likes basketball and swimming, she likes being hurled in the "stretcher toss" during daily warm-ups.
"It's hot out here, but I like the water balloon fights, that's a lot of fun," Rachael said.
Other recent campers included Sabrina Neihardt, Jasmine Capetillo and Maya Anaeten. Nelson is also assisted by teenaged interns from the Club Yuma "family": Anahi Torres, Alex Lorenzo, Jordan Belen and Melanie Wachs.
Melanie, who is Rachael's older sister, said it is really fun helping out with the younger children, and the camp gives her the chance to participate in activities with her younger sister.
"It's important to stay fit because you'll live longer and when you're an adult, you can teach your kids," Melanie said. "Here, I've learned how to eat better and do at least one exercise a day."
Nelson stressed the importance of establishing an active regimen early and maintaining it for life rather than being sedentary.
"We send the kids home with a lot of information to get the parents involved. When the entire family is involved, it is much more successful. We want them to adopt fitness as a part of daily life and not just when it's convenient."
William Roller can be reached at
email@example.com or 539-6858.