YMCA promotes healthy kids

The local YMCA joined in a nationwide effort to promote families to live healthier.

On Saturday, the Wapakoneta Family YMCA hosted Healthy Kids Day, where they had numerous activities for children to participate in, along with businesses and agencies from the community to meet the children and their families.

“This event helps build well-rounded kids and it exposes them to healthy activities,” Wapakoneta Family YMCA Membership and Program Director Melanie Schnippel said of the event sponsored by St. Rita’s Medical System.

Nine-year-old Joslyn Taylor said her favorite part of the day was riding the small scooters across the gym floor.

“I just thought it would be fun to get out of the house,” Joslyn said of why she came to the event.

Joslyn said she would like to come to the YMCA in the future.

Joslyn spent the day at the YMCA on Saturday with her friend Myah Carter, who is also a third-grader at Wapakoneta Elementary School.

“I am just hanging out and having fun,” Myah said of her time at the YMCA. “I like doing the scooters. I just rolled around on them.”

Myah said she has been to the YMCA before, and she came on Saturday to just check it out.

Six-year-old Amelia Sammetinger was found sitting very still as Bonnie Wurst, a member of the Noon Optimist, painted a rabbit on her face. The Noon Optimist had a face painting booth set up at the event.

“I liked bouncing in the bounce house,” Amelia said of the large inflatable bounce house in the center of the YMCA gymnasium on Saturday.

While at the YMCA, Amelia went swimming and signed up to be on the Wapak Waves Swim Team.

Amelia said she loves swimming, and during the summer she enjoys swimming at the Wapakoneta WaterPark.

“The Wapak City Schools gave flyers to us about signing up for the Wapak Waves, and we came to do that today and we didn’t realize all this was going on,” Amelia’s mother Ashley Sammetinger said. “The kids are having a blast.”

Amelia won a hula hoop on Saturday as a door prize to take home.

Addison Melson, 4, of Lima, and her brother Dylan, 3, had swim lessons at the YMCA and decided to stop by and enjoy some activities in the gym.

“My favorite is the balloons,” Addison said.

Addison and Dylan also got to visit with Wapakoneta Fire Department firefighters, who told them about fire safety and then gave them stickers and a helmet, which they continued to wear during the event.

Dylan said his favorite activity was the bounce house.

“They had swim lessons and wanted to do this,” Addison and Dylan’s grandmother Linda Melson said.

Schnippel said many children in the United States do not get the daily recommended hours of physical activity and reading, and daily amounts of healthy food.

Only 19 percent of children get 60 minutes of physical activity, only 17 percent read books for fun and only 12 percent eat at least eight fruits and vegetables daily, according to a survey of the YMCA’s Family Health Snapshot  — which is a survey of parents that gauges their children’s activity levels during the school year.

“At the Wapakoneta Family YMCA, we know parents struggle to keep their kids physically and intellectually active every day,” Schnippel said. “We want to help ensure fewer kids are at risk of childhood obesity and more kids excel in school.”

She said research shows without access to out-of-school physical and learning activities, youth fall behind academically and gain weight twice as fast during the summer than the school year.

One of the goals of the Healthy Kids Day is to help parents begin thinking early about what their kids need to grow and achieve all summer long.

“It doesn’t have to be an organized sporting event, it can be fun with family,” Schnippel said of a way children can be active.

Schnippel said the numbers were up this year at the event, and this has to do with the special fun run the local YMCA incorporated into their schedule this year for the program.

“It went extremely well,” Schnippel said of the fun run that 56 children ages 3 to 10 participated in prior to the start of Healthy Kids Day. “We want to educate kids and expose them to different avenues them and their families might not be exposed to normally.”