For families, happy healthy summers deserve a fun, immersive kick-off event to remind us all about the joys of good mental and physical health. On April 30, 2022, YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit will join YMCA locations all over the country and Costa Rica to celebrate YMCA Healthy Kids Day, the largest single event celebrating youth.
“This year is so special because it’s our 30th anniversary of Healthy Kids Day, which means 30 years of connecting communities and creating fun memories for families,” says Jacqueline Kippen, Executive Director of Volunteer and Virtual Services at YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit.
YMCA Healthy Kids Day isn’t just a single event, but a celebration of each child’s well-being, today and in the future. “At the Y, we believe in the potential of all children and each day we work to help kids find that potential within themselves through our programs,” Kippen says. “Healthy Kids Day is a fun, free, community-wide event to kick off summer and remind us all how important it is for kids to stay active, physically and mentally, throughout the summer.”
Summer offers so many opportunities for healthy activity, but it’s also a time for the academic “summer slide,” so YMCA Healthy Kids Day incorporates plenty of ideas to keep kids’ brains tuned in during the summer, too. “Summer learning loss is a big issue across the country and we try to combat that through programming,” Kippen explains. “One day won’t make up for that summer learning loss, however, we do give families a taste of youth programs that we offer during the summer that combat learning loss.”
At Healthy Kids Day, kids and families can enjoy literacy games, STEM activities and crafting, plus information about weekly themed activities that are so popular in the Y’s summer day camp program. In the past couple of years, the YMCA rolled out a fun summer learning curriculum that is woven into the camps’ weekly themes, and kids don’t even realize they are learning while they are having fun.
“The cool thing about camp is yes, they are learning, but it’s all dressed up as fun games. They don’t even realize they are benefitting because they are just having fun with their friends. That’s the best part of it,” Kippen says.
Join in YMCA Healthy Kids Day
On April 30, at each of the Y’s seven metro Detroit locations, families can get a taste of all the fun summer programming available, plus a lot of family-oriented activities to get everyone’s body moving.
“There will be family field games, games, crafts and prizes and just overall family fun, with everyone moving and playing together,” Kippen says, adding that some locations will have open gym and swimming, and at the Boll Family YMCA, families can try out the climbing wall.
“We are big advocates for playing with your food, too, so there will be some great taste testing and snack-tivities,” she says.
The Y: safe space for the whole family
Turning 170 years old this year, YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit has grown and changed throughout the years — so even if you think you know all about the Y, Kippen is certain there’s something new and different happening that you’ll want to learn about. And Healthy Kids Day is a great opportunity to do just that.
“The Y is all about staying current but also staying true to its roots,” Kippen says. “We focus on our core, which is families and communities. We’re all about expressing ourselves as an organization that embraces whole families, wherever they are. To come into the building with your entire family for $86 a month and there’s something for everyone to do — that’s pretty incredible.”
There aren’t too many spaces where young kids, tweens, teens and parents and grandparents can have fun and build healthy lives, Kippen says.
“It’s a no-brainer if my child is 4 to 12, they can have fun at summer camp, but kids 13 and older can come in with a parent and do group exercise and use the open gym to play basketball where basketball was invented, and everyone can jump in the pool to swim laps and hang out as a family. That’s what the Y is all about,” Kippen says.
“Check us out at Healthy Kids Day and see what the Y has to offer you and your family. It’s going to be fun.”