Make A Splash For Youth!

Nearly 6,000 school-age children throughout southern New Hampshire are engaged in Southern District YMCA programs each year. More than 100 kids from 95 families receive financial assistance so they can attend before and after school programs, as well as summer camp at YMCA Camp Lincoln. No one is ever turned away from the YMCA for inability to pay.

Financial assistance is supported through generous community donations and fundraisers such as the 5th Annual Paddle Plunge on April 11 from 10AM – 1PM. Paddle Plunge participants will don their best costumes and take a freezing dip in Kingston Lake to raise money to send local youth to camp and safe after school programs.

Community members are invited to join a team, donate online at www.crowdrise.com/ymcaplunge and attend FREE Family Fun Day, which will be held during the Paddle Plunge. Guests can participate in FREE activities like face painting, playing carpet ball and camp games, s’mores and a free lunch!

Some local organizations are hosting their own fundraisers. Parishioners at Stratham Community Church recently raised $400 to help a camper in need attend summer camp at YMCA Camp Lincoln. Donations like this make it possible for the Y to offset the costs of child care and summer camp for families in need.

WHAT: 5th Annual Paddle Plunge and Family Fun Day

WHEN: Saturday, April 11 from 10AM-1PM

WHERE: YMCA Camp Lincoln, 67 Ball Rd, Kingston, NH 03848

WHY: No one is ever turned away from the Y for inability to pay. More than 100 kids from 95 families receive financial assistance so they can attend before and after school programs, as well as summer camp at YMCA Camp Lincoln. The Paddle Plunge is a fun way to celebrate the end of winter and raise money to support financial assistance.

DONATE: Join a team or support an existing one at www.crowdrise.com/ymcaplunge

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Choose to Eat Healthy

With so much information and so little time to plan and prepare meals, it can seem that eating healthy is nearly an impossible task in today’s world. There are small steps that even the busiest families can take in order to improve your family’s health each day. Here are some simple steps you can take to improve your daily approach to healthy eating:

Aim for Five Every Day

Be intentional about making the delicious crunch of fruits and veggies a significant part of every meal and snack your family enjoys throughout the day.

Choose Your Drinks with Care

A simple way to improve the overall health of your family is to adjust your approach to beverages. Try cutting out drinks with sugar added and focus on drinking more water, 100% fruit juice and milk.

Check the Label

Look at ingredient lists; if you can’t pronounce it, you shouldn’t eat it. By learning to make sense of the information that all food packages are required to provide, you can begin to make choosing healthier foods a little easier.

Control Your Portions

Sure, we all over do it from time to time, but by being careful to consume food portions that are in line with energy output from physical activity, everyone can eat healthier. A good trick is to take 5 deep breaths between bites. This gives your stomach time to tell your brain that you are full, helping to avoid overeating.

For additional tips and strategies for building these and more healthy habits, visit the YMCA’s Healthy Family Home.

To help you celebrate National Nutrition Month, we will post simple, healthy, delicious and fun recipes here all week!

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Art Impact

The Arts leave a lasting mark on youth, inspiring self-expression, self-esteem, and critical and creative thinking. According to research by the John F. Kennedy Center, youth who regularly participate in arts programs tend to display more intellectual curiosity, experience higher levels of excitement from their school work, and apply more effort during their attempts to complete school projects and assignments. Parents of these youth noticed their children taking more risks, solving problems with ease, and respecting other people’s ideas and opinions. Students in the Kennedy Center’s Arts in Education Research Study were more confident, intellectually curious, and positively challenged citizens who may be better equipped to generate original ideas to improve their communities and contribute to a creative global economy.

To help nurture the potential of our youth, the Y offers a Y-Arts programs to help improve creative and tactical skills, learn to socialize and build relationships. The Y-Arts program can make all the difference for some children, keeping young minds creating and discovering.

Community member and parent to a former Y-Arts student, Rosanna Salcedo tells us “the Y-Arts program gave my child the freedom to express his creativity, and encouraged him to explore new forms of artistic expression, in a supportive environment. Thanks to Y-Arts, he has experience using a variety of materials and techniques.”

Learn more about Y-Arts! Registration is open for the next Y-Arts Session. Classes meet once a week from 4-5 pm for 6 weeks at the YMCA in Exeter, 30 Linden St. Each class costs $85 for 6 weeks. All classes are taught by local Exeter artist, Marissa Vitolo.

Y-Arts Session 2: Tuesday, March 10th – Thursday, April 16th

Tuesdays: Painting and Drawing

Thursdays: Hand building (clay)

Register today!

Fall in Love with Heart Health during American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month and as a leading voice on improving the nation’s health, the Southern District YMCA urges everyone in our community to take steps to make sure they are heart healthy so they can lead longer, healthier lives.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the nation’s number one killer, responsible for 1 in 4 deaths each year in the United States. The Y offers community-based healthy living initiatives that support people in changing their lifestyles, and encourages organizations and communities to adopt behaviors that promote healthy living and promote the public’s health through advocacy.

To address the prevalence of heart disease, the Y has made a national commitment to the Million Hearts campaign, an initiative that aims to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes. As part of this commitment, the Y is developing a new national program that will help people with hypertension lower their blood pressure through coaching support and a proven self-monitoring practice. Research shows that the simple process of checking and recording your blood pressure at least twice a month over a four month period, along with regular physical activity, proper nutrition and reducing sodium intake, may lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.

Here are some tips on how to live heart healthy.

  1. Get Physical: Being physically active every day is fun and can improve the function of your heart. Plan and schedule opportunities for active play; for example, include a brisk 10-minute trip around the block after meals or a 10-minute walking break during the day. If your family enjoys active video games, select versions that require moving the body’s large muscle groups while playing.
  1. Take a Snooze: Lack of sleep has been associated with elevated cholesterol and blood pressure. Adults need at least seven, but no more than nine hours of sleep at night to aid with the prevention of heart disease. Children need 10-12 hours of sleep per night. Develop bedtime routines for the whole family to assist with falling asleep faster and staying asleep.
  1. Shape Up Those Recipes: Makeover your family’s favorite recipes by reducing the amount of salt and saturated fat and substituting a lower fat food without sacrificing tastes. For example, use low-fat yogurt instead of sour cream and skip the seasoning packet and use pepper and olive oil instead. Read food labels to learn more about what is in the package, select foods that have less than 1,000 mg of sodium per serving.
  1. Feeling the Pressure: According to the American Heart Association, lowering or maintaining normal blood pressure can greatly reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke. Nearly 1 in 3 adults (about 78 million people) has high blood pressure and more than half of them don’t have it under control. Start self-monitoring your blood pressure and know the numbers. Discuss the results with you doctor.
  1. Play Together: Spending time together as a family is a great way to reduce stress, which is important to heart health. Make homemade valentines for your children’s classmates or build a snow fort together in the yard or the park.

Heart disease is critical issue for all New Hampshire residents and it’s never too late to get heart healthy!

WINTERFEST 2015 at YMCA Camp Lincoln

YMCA Camp Lincoln chose another perfect winter day to host WINTERFEST. More than 70 people braved the cold, with sleds and skates in hand, and made their way to the shores of Kingston Lake for sledding, ice skating, snow-angel making, and hot chocolate drinking and s’more eating by the campfire.

The skating was perfect; Camp Lincoln staff had shoveled a skating area and trails, but skaters discovered that they could skate through the light snow anyways. Conversation and laughter echoed across the lake.

How are you staying active with your family this winter? Here are some ideas for creative ways to stay active and healthy this winter.

Thanks to all who joined us for a fun WINTERFEST at YMCA Camp Lincoln! Check out photos from WINTERFEST on Facebook.

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Naturally Curious in October

October is a sensory month in New Hampshire; the summer has ended and hints of cooler weather remind us that winter is on its way. There is a flurry of natural activity! Let’s take a look.

Look up! Approximately 500 species of land birds leave their northern breeding ground for southern wintering grounds every year. Migratory flocks of birds travel during the day and at night. Night fliers call back and forth to one another to maintain contact. Listen — do you hear them?

Look down! Wooly bears are on a mission to find their winter shelters, and Eastern chipmunks are busily collecting nuts and seeds to store for winter. Chipmunks collect and transport their winter food supply in two large cheek pockets. Watch — do you see them?

Listen! The woodlands are alive with the dropping of deciduous tree leaves and the dispersal of many seeds. Plants rely on wind, water, animals, and gravity to distribute their seeds to distant locations. Some plants grow all over the world because the wind does such a good job of moving their seeds. Can you feel the wind?

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Mary Holland’s book Naturally Curious is a month-by-month journey through the fields, woods, and marshes of New England; a truly phenomenal resource for nature education. Check out her blog: Naturally Curious with Mary Holland.

Fun and Friends at Family Camp

Each fall, Camp Lincoln opens it’s doors, cabins, and activity areas to families for a long weekend. We call it Family Camp, and it is exactly as it sounds. Children, parents, grandparents and friends settle into lakeside cabins, unroll their sleeping bags onto wooden-framed bunk beds, pull on their wool socks and hats (or bathing suits!) and enjoy and challenge themselves at camp activities. From kayaking to hiking, pumpkin carving to campfires, families enjoy a relaxing and fun weekend at camp!

Thank you to the ten families who joined us for a beautiful weekend at camp! Family Camp 2014 was a great success. We look forward to seeing all of you again next fall.

Does this sound like your cup of tea? Learn more about Family Camp at Camp Lincoln, and join us in 2015!

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