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 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

Foxes, Trees and Squirrels

Our School Age Child Care program is currently operating in 16 local communities, to more than 660 students, facilitated by more than 80 staff members. The program’s focus is on four core content areas: Art, Literacy, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), and Health and Wellness, and consistently recognizes the YMCA’s 9 Dimensions of Well-being: Health, Character, Achievement, Giving, Meaning, Safety, Belonging, Inspiration, and Relationships.

One successful tool utilized by our SACC program is CATCH, which stands for Coordinated Approach to Child Health. CATCH Kids Club is a physical activity and nutrition education program designed for elementary aged children in an after-school setting – how perfect! For us, CATCH is an incredibly valuable resource base for nutrition education materials, snack activities, and physical activity ideas. Some of our students’ favorite CATCH games are Dragon Tails, Sherlock Holmes, Satellites, Up and Over, and Foxes, Trees and Squirrels. Have your children played these games? Which one is their favorite and why?

CATCH games have become so popular at our sites, that when non-CATCH games are played, the children “CATCHify” them – adjusting games so that everyone is included and can play the entire time. Dodge ball, a favorite, becomes dodge ball with re-entry. Knock Out, a basketball game that usually ends up with all but 2 players sitting on the sidelines, becomes a game of double Knock Out, where two games are played simultaneously, and when a child gets out of one game they switch to the other. “CATCHified” games have become a wonderful tool for teaching a few of the YMCA’s 9 Dimensions of Well-being. And best of all, everyone is having fun!


Real Results By HEPA Standards

Every day we serve fresh fruit, vegetables and healthy grains to children in communities across New Hampshire. And almost every day, in at least one community, we hear children say “I don’t like that”. We know it’s normal for a child to express disinterest in something they are unfamiliar with. We follow up with questions “Have you ever tried it?” and always encourage a “no thank you bite” – hopefully fostering a desire or willingness to try new things. Recently in Hampstead, a little boy would not try the vegetable offered at snack (red and orange peppers). He was insistent and only ate the grains; however, afterward he was still hungry. A staff member suggested he try the peppers because they taste good and he just might like them. He agreed, stiffened up, and braced himself for the taste of an orange pepper. After a big bite, his face changed and he said “Wow! This tastes like candy!” He said that because the peppers were red and orange, like the color of fire, he had thought they would be spicy and hot. Now, he is happily eating peppers!

We see similar examples endlessly, children exclaiming “Ew, beans!” at the start of a quesadilla cooking lesson, and by the end saying “yum, I love beans!”. We are proud to say we follow the HEPA (Healthy Eating, Physical Activity) Standards in each of our 16 afterschool programs.  We are encouraging nearly 700 children daily to try new fruits and vegetables, and we are providing them with 30 minutes of physical activity per day.

We have children in Raymond going home to their families and teaching them how to make “fruit salsa” and then reporting back to our YMCA staff with the results. There are children in Exeter (among other towns) who now continually add fruit to their water because one time a staff person role modeled by putting slices of grapefruit and lemon in their water. Children are watching staff and their peers try new things on a daily basis and they’re becoming more inclined to join them. Following HEPA Standards continues to have wonderful impact on our communities. We are passionate about this movement and are hopefully grooming children in our programs to be our futures spokespeople.


Precor Grant Supports The YMCA

Southern District YMCA has received a $3,000 grant from Precor to support efforts to help children throughout Southern New Hampshire live healthier lives through the implementation of the Y’s Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards in early childhood and afterschool programs. Adopting these standards is part of the Y’s commitment to first lady Michelle Obama and the Partnership for a Healthier America to help curb childhood obesity.

“As a leading nonprofit committed to strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y takes its responsibility seriously, by helping those most in need. YMCAs are one of the largest providers of before and afterschool programs in the nation. By adopting standards that will help our kids make better food and activity choices, we strive to be the healthiest.” -Kimberly Meyer, Director of Community Operations, Southern District YMCA

Southern District YMCA serves 650 children in 15 area school districts with before and after school programs every week. All before and after school programs are implementing the HEPA standards, which include:

  • Establishing a minimum of expected physical activity for children of different ages enrolled in Y programs;
  • Defining food and beverages offerings, including designating water as the primary beverage during snack times and offering fruits and vegetables as snack options;
  • Limiting the amount of screen time (watching TV, playing video games, and using computers);
  • Encouraging breastfeeding of infants in the Y’s care; and
  • Committing Ys to conducting parent education to encourage healthy behaviors at home.

“Like the Y, Precor believes that lasting personal and social change can only come about when we all work together to invest in our kids, our health, our neighbors, and our community. By collaborating, we have a greater potential to help more people make positive lifestyle choices.” -Paul Byrne, President, Precor

The Southern District YMCA is one of 50 YMCAs to receive a grant from Precor as part of the $300,000 gift to YMCA of the USA, the resource office for the nation’s YMCAs, to support the implementation of the HEPA standards in YMCA before and afterschool programs. Locally the funding will be used to support infrastructure opportunities such as purchasing supplies and equipment, and staff training that can help the YMCA to provide a healthy, sustainable environment in every before and afterschool site.

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Monthly News from your YMCA

Did you know that the Southern District YMCA sends a monthly e-Newsletter? This newsletter includes program updates, registration information, invitations to community events, and more! Sign up now to begin receiving our monthly news!


A Call To Action

We are fortunate to live in a place where people believe in helping neighbors, supporting local business, and strengthening the children and families in our community. The Provident Bank is generously donating $20,000 to area non-profits as part of their annual “Our Community, Your E-Vote”. YOUR e-vote will determine how this donation is allocated.

We need your vote! Southern District YMCA/Camp Lincoln serves thousands of children every year. With School Age Child Care programs in 15 local schools that meet morning and afternoon of every school day, and YMCA Camp Lincoln summer camp that rounds out the non-school days of summer with full day programming, a child in southeast NH can spend their entire year meeting new friends and engaging in fun, educational, and active YMCA programs. That is if they can afford it, right?

Wrong. Southern District YMCA does not turn any child away for inability to pay. Now let that sink in for a minute.

We would not be able to offer such diverse options for programs, to so many children and families, without your help. We need your vote.

Click here, and vote for YMCA Camp Lincoln. Do it today, and then share this blog and ask your friends and family to join you. Help us grow our community impact by increasing the depth of our Scholarship Program.

We are a strong community, and the Southern District YMCA is honored to be a part of it.


Sports In May

A new month means a new theme for YMCA School Age Child Care. The theme for May is SPORTS! Each school site has designed creative afterschool curriculum that involves sports. In Danville, students are participating in YMCA Olympics. In Brentwood, the focus is on team sports: Soccer, Frisbee, Basketball and Kickball. Raymond students can choose to participate in sports month as an athlete or an artistic sports fan. In Hampstead, students and staff will try a new sport each day, from Hockey to Running and Whiffleball to Cheerleading. May is an especially active and athletic month for the YMCA!