Families are invited to Sussex County YMCA on April 29 for Healthy Kids Day, a free, fun-packed event to inspire kids and parents to stay active physically and mentally during the summer. From 1-4 p.m., families can play games, compete in an obstacle course, swim, and more. Guests are invited to enter the Family Healthy Snack Challenge by bringing a favorite healthy snack along with the recipe to be judged at 3 p.m. by a registered dietician. (The prize is 12 pounds of produce weekly between June 22 and Nov. 3 from Andersen Farms.)
All children who attend Healthy Kids Day will be entered to win one of two bicycles; the winners will be picked at 4 p.m. The event, sponsored by Eastern Propane, includes a 3 p.m. presentation about Ginnie’s House, a nonprofit child advocacy center that helps children who have been abused heal. The Y’s Togetherhood committee asks that guests drop off a new stuffed animal in the lobby for donation to Ginnie’s House.
“Healthy Kids Day showcases how enjoyable being active and eating healthy can be,” Sussex County YMCA Executive Director Jennifer Gardner said. “We hope to inspire children and parents to exercise their bodies and minds all summer long.”
Research shows idleness causes children to fall behind academically and gain weight twice as fast during the summer as compared to the school year, she noted. April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and in the week leading up to Healthy Kids Day, Sussex County YMCA is encouraging adults to learn how to identify and address child sexual abuse. Not enough people realize the magnitude of child sexual abuse — it’s estimated one in 10 children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday — and what responsible adults can do to prevent it.
Children are the victim in 70 percent of reported sexual assaults, and in 90 percent of those cases the child knows and trusts the abuser. Sussex County YMCA is a branch of the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges, the largest association of YMCAs in New Jersey. Metro Y President and CEO Richard K. Gorab belongs to YMCA Guardians Against Child Sexual Abuse, a group of Y leaders who are spearheading the awareness movement.
During the Five Days of Action, April 24-28, the Metro YMCA is urging members and the communities it serves to learn the facts, share tools and resources, and sign the Pledge to Protect Children in branch lobbies. The campaign includes a major social media component using the hashtag #5DaysofAction. For more information, go to http://www.metroymcas.org/preventnow.
Healthy Kids Day will be held at the YMCA, 15 Wits End Road in Hardyston, rain or shine. For more information, visit sussexcountyymca.org or call 973-209-9622.
ABOUT THE Y Established in 1885, the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges is the largest association of YMCAs in New Jersey, serving more than 35,000 individuals and providing nearly $1.3 million in direct financial assistance. Its six YMCAs, located in East Orange, Livingston, Maplewood, Hardyston, Stillwater and Wayne, are committed to nurturing the potential of kids, promoting healthy living, and fostering a sense of social responsibility. They offer an array of programs that build spirit, mind and body for people of all ages and all circumstances.