The Westfield Area Y along with UnitedHealthcare is kicking off the 7th Grade Initiative on Tuesday, October 28, from 7:00-8:30 pm in the Gym at the Main Y Facility, 220 Clark Street in Westfield.
Seventh grade students in Cranford, Garwood, Mountainside and Westfield along with their families are invited to attend the kickoff.  The evening will include fitness testing, a climbing wall, advice from personal trainers and a nutritionist as well as other activities for 7th graders and their families.  Healthy refreshments will also be served.
This program is intended to heighten awareness and combat the epidemic of youth obesity that our community/nation is currently facing.  Research indicates that seventh grade is a key year in a child’s development of attitudes and behaviors regarding body image, nutrition and self esteem.  The goal of the 7th Grade Initiative is to help kids pass through this critical time of development with a healthy self-image and a thorough understanding of the importance of exercise and nutrition throughout the teen years and into adulthood. More than 330 students from 8 schools participated this past school year.
All participants who do not currently have an active Y membership will receive a complimentary Westfield Area Y limited pre-teen program plus membership for the school year in addition to physical, nutritional and educational opportunities throughout the 2014-2015 school year. 
The program also includes:
• Use of exercise equipment, open swim and gym time
• Free orientation to use exercise equipment
• Pre and post-fitness testing
• Access to Friday night teen nights
• Family fitness lectures and events
• Free classes and programs including Youth Conditioning, ZUMBA for Teens, Fencing and  
  Cross Country
• Access to more classes & programs at member rates
Parents will have the opportunity to register their children for the 7th Grade Initiative at the kickoff. The 7th Grade Initiative also offers students the opportunity to participate in the Annual UnitedHealthcare Health Bee, a quiz-show style competition that test students’ knowledge about health and fitness topics.