4th Grade Initiative: Keeping Kids Active
The YMCA is proud and very excited to introduce its new 4th grade initiative program. The 4th Grade Initiative (4GI) offers free one-year Y membership to all existing and incoming fourth-graders throughout Tippecanoe County. Made possible by the 100 Men Who Cook fundraiser this past March which provided the Lafayette YMCA with $75,000, 4GI aims to provide 4th graders with opportunities for fitness and sports as well as a chance to socialize with peers in a safe, supervised environment.
4th grade is a critical transition period for many young kids. The mission of the 4GI program is to assist children in this transition by providing programs that encourage well-rounded development that benefit kids physically and mentally.
Why is childhood activity important?
In 2012, the childhood obesity rate for children between ages 6-11 was 18%. Obese children are more likely to display risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and 70% of children between the ages of 5 and 17 already show at least one risk factor. Obesity can also cause high blood pressure, pre-diabetes, a greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and many other health problems in young children.
Because of these risks, it is becoming even more important for children to stay physically active in order to develop healthy lifestyle habits that follow them into adulthood. According to the USDA, many benefits of physical activity include:
- Increased life expectancy
- Improved sleep
- Increased flexibility and mobility
- Strengthening muscles and bones
- Assists in maintaining a healthy weight
- Decreased risks of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol levels later in life
Many mental and emotional benefits go hand-in-hand with physical activity as well. Children who regularly participate in physical activity not only experience higher levels of body confidence, but also experience greater increases in self-esteem when learning how to play a sport or accomplishing a task. Physical activity has also been known to lower levels of anxiety in children and reduce the risk of depression. There are also many social benefits associated with exercise as well. Participating in a sport provides children with a chance to interact with their peers and meet new people. Working out has also been proven to increase learning capacity in children, helping them develop health, social and cognitive skills, benefitting them in school and in their career path later in life.
The 4GI Program: What is it?
The 4GI program aims to help develop well-rounded approaches to healthy living for all 4th graders. By signing up for the 4GI program, students receive a free one year membership to the Lafayette YMCA. Special programs are designed for 4th grade students specifically, and include fun activities throughout the summer such as pool parties, scavenger hunts, crafts, ice cream socials, photo/video club, garden club, giant inflatables, and more. Homework help is also included once students return to school in the fall. It’s a time for 4th graders to have fun, stay fit, and meet friends!
- Sunday Family Time: FREE admission for 4th grader’s immediate family members to YMCA facilities on Sunday’s from 2:30-5pm.
- $25 program credit to be used for any YMCA program
- Special 4th grade fun nights (to be announced)
- Receive member rates for 4th graders when participating in additional YMCA programs
- Receive member rates for families of 4th graders
- Monthly newsletters which include 4th grade activity schedule, special events, program reminders, and more
How do I sign up?
To receive a membership, 4th graders must present a valid school ID or proof of grade (school roster or schedule) at the Lafayette YMCA. 4th graders must then complete a membership application as well a parent/student membership agreement. Once granted membership, each 4th grader is allowed access to the YMCA facilities including the gym, game room, racquetball courts, swimming pool and locker rooms. Please call the YMCA at 765-474-3448 with any questions or concerns.