Ray’s Blog

Living a Healthy Life at Grenville Baker – April 25, 2018

Since 1950, Grenville Baker Boys & Girls Club has had a strong tradition of promoting athletics and fitness. From its earliest days, our mission has centered on providing a positive environment within which young people can thrive and grow. A big part of helping young people to reach their full potential is teaching them the keys to a healthy life. An understanding of how to pursue an active life goes hand in hand with developing a strong sense of self confidence.

In order to achieve this goal, we teach our kids to view their health holistically, looking to find a balance and to address the needs of both Mind and Body. Our staff focuses on the practical steps each child can take in order to keep fit, eat right and form the positive relationships needed to support a healthy lifestyle.

Friendships are also very important for the healthy development of school age children. One simple, but important benefit of our after school program, is the chance for our kids to run and to play with friends. Enjoying time with friends teaches kids valuable social skills such as communication, cooperation and problem-solving. Running and playing keeps them active, avoiding sedentary behavior.

Studies have shown that a child sitting at home on the sofa watching more than an hour of TV a day is more likely to be overweight, to have difficulties falling asleep at bedtime, and to struggle at school. At the Club, with so many fun activities available, video games, TV and computer time is naturally limited. Our kids are busy socializing and trying out a range of active and interactive pursuits. This past winter the Club was buzzing with activity. It was a banner year for our Basketball League with 580 children of all ages playing a sport they love. Our Gymnastics program has also grown from a handful of participants a few years ago to more than 200 young gymnasts this season.

Throughout the year, our kids are encouraged to try a range of activities. This is especially helpful for a child who has not found their sports niche yet, giving them a chance to discover and to choose a sport they enjoy. To provide those opportunities this spring, in addition to the traditional sports of Baseball, Softball, Soccer, and Gymnastics, we have added Ballet, Hip Hop, Jazz, Pilates, and Taekwondo. Our kids have fun playing Flag Football, Kickball, Dodge Ball and Ninja Warrior Challenge. Open Gym time is available for pickup basketball as well.

Another important piece of teaching about a healthy lifestyle at the Club is our cooking program. Last year, we updated and improved our kitchen to accommodate and to ensure the safety of our young chefs. To encourage our kids to limit the amount of fast food they eat each week, we provide our kids with the opportunity to learn the ABCs of cooking simple, healthy and economic meals for themselves and their families with lots of hands on fun in the kitchen for Grades K through 5. Our newly renovated Teen Center has its own kitchen facilities for making smoothies and preparing healthy snacks.

We also teach our kids how to read food labels and to pay particular attention to the amount of saturated fats, grams of sugar and sodium, and number of calories per serving they eat. Combining this practical knowledge of nutrition with a proper balance of physical fitness and positive relationships, members of our Club are well on their way to reaching their full potential and to living a healthy life.