YMCA Encouraging Healthy Perth Amboy Teens

Over the last 6 weeks, every Saturday from 7pm-10:30pm, we opened our doors to the neighborhood teens.  ALL Perth Amboy teens are welcome, not just Y members, as we wanted to ensure every local teen had access to exercise and a safe environment where they could thrive.

We have seen the attendance at our Teen Center nights more than double each week!  As the word gets out to the community, more and more teens are taking advantage of this great opportunity to come together just for the sake of exercise and of course FUN!  The teens are lining up in front of our building at 6:30pm waiting to utilize the gymnasium, weight room, athletic training center, aquatics and dance/exercise studios.  Last week’s Teen Center night brought in 300+ neighborhood teens to our facility.  We are so pleased to offer over 300 community teens the opportunity to exercise!

Teen Center night is helping to foster a sense of belonging with the community teens.  The first time they attend a Teen Center night, they join a 30 min session to learn about the facility and how it is “their place” as long as they respect it, and each other.  We want them to feel the Y is their home away from home, to incorporate exercise into their daily lives and create a sense of pride and accomplishment when they care for their community assets.

They come to Teen Center nights for exercise and leave with friendships, stronger interpersonal skills and a sense of belonging.  Our hope is that it also creates a big impact on their overall health.

To learn more about our Teen Center, please follow us on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/RBAYMCA

RETURNING SOON!!  Community Garden and Farmer’s Market

SAVE THE DATE: April 25th Healthy Kids Day

Photos courtesy of Jack Heidelberger

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Our Sports Director, Louis Quinones working with first-time Teen Center attendees

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Whether baseball, basketball, dance, weights or just walking the track, the teens take full advantage of THEIR NIGHT at the Raritan Bay Area Y!

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YMCA Shaping Healthy Teens in Perth Amboy

Raritan Bay Area YMCA Perth Amboy is thrilled to continue its partnership with ShapingNJ for 2015.  At The Y, we are advocates for a healthier community and we are committed to providing our community with new avenues toward healthy living.  Last year, we began our community garden and farmers market. We will continue these efforts as Spring approaches. Currently, we are focused specifically on our neighborhood teens.

The CDC reports that; “In 2013, only 29% percent of high school students had participated in at least 60 minutes per day of physical activity daily” and that “15.2% percent of high school students had not participated in ANY KIND of physical activity on ANY day” over the weeks surveyed.  We found these numbers astounding!  We know that lack of physical activity causes many health risks, as such, our goal is to help change those statistics.

Keeping in line with this goal, our focus has been on creating opportunities for our neighborhood teens to be more physically active. With the help of the ShapingNJ grant and in collaboration with the City of Perth Amboy, Raritan Bay Medical Center and The Municipal Alliance to Prevent Alcoholism and Drug Abuse we plan to make this happen!

To begin, we have created “TEEN CENTER” nights in which every Saturday night, we will open our facility to ALL community teens (whether they are Y members or not).  Keeping the focus on healthy living and healthy bodies.  We plan to offer different programs for all teens 13-18 years of age, as well as open availability to our aquatics, gym, fitness and weight rooms.  We are confident that this will provide the opportunity for all teens to get the exercise they need while at the same time, bonding with their neighborhood teens to create a stronger sense of community.  Keep checking back to see how this program impacts our community.

Photos courtesy of Jack Heidelberger

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We SHAPED Perth Amboy in 2014!

Children’s Community Garden: We all know the saying “What a difference a day makes.” Well I must say “What a difference a garden makes!” Over the summer we had children volunteer to keep up with our Children’s Community Garden. The Children came faithfully every day at 4:00 in the afternoon, and at times they would bring their friends as well. They watered, pull weeds, and pick vegetables and herbs. Afterwards, the children took vegetables and herbs home. They were given projects to do at home, like making a salad with all the vegetables they were given and to write down the recipe. Witnessing their expressions, to hear and see our members support when the children were in the garden was a great reward. A volunteer wrote a letter saying “Thank you for allowing us to eat”.

This year the Farmers Market has grown and continues to be an affordable access to healthy choices. We’ve had requests to stay open later and to have a farmer’s market on Saturdays. We will consider these requests for next year’s season. Our Farmer’s Market will remain open until October 28th.

On September 27th the YMCA will host its last play streets of the year. Play streets is going out with a big bang. We added fitness challenges such as a jump rope mania. Where kids and families have a chance to jump, jump and jump and beat out the time. Also we added two new obstacles to challenge kids of all ages. Involving kids and families in recreational activities in the previous Play Streets was our goal and we have exceeded it… What a wonderful year of Play Streets!

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A Healthier Perth Amboy!

Our last Play Streets at Sadowski Parkway in Perth Amboy was a success! The children and families who attended participated in every activity we offered from tennis, beach football, beach soccer, dancing and the bouncy house. We are achieving our goal of keeping children and families active during the summer months. We look forward to our next Play Streets at the end of August, and continuing to see the impact that Play Streets has in our community.

Our Children’s Community Garden… How exciting it has been watching children and young people water the vegetables, pick them, make a fresh salad at the Y and/or take them home with them. Also, our 2 week Cooking Camp learned about the garden and had a chance to pick and take home vegetables. They were able to use the fresh tomatoes and cucumbers for a salad to share with members and staff at The Y.

The following is a story of the impact of the Children’s Garden: Two young girls were walking by the garden and saw we were picking some beans, cucumbers, and some herbs. They asked if they could help pick the vegetables and herbs, afterwards we gave the girls some of the freshly picked vegetables and herbs to take home. The following day the girls came back and said their mom used all the vegetables and herbs for their dinner that night. Our Community Garden has been a great addition to the community and the Farmer’s Market.

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SHAPING Perth Amboy!

Great day at The Y! with the opening of our Farmer’s Market, today Tuesday, June 10th, 11am-7pm. Farmers Markets are more than places to buy food; they are important parts of the community and a place to meet neighbors and farmers. At the farmers market, city meets country, people learn about where their food comes from and the people who grow it. With the help of our partners, we started the implementation of a small community garden. Our preschool children, after school program students and students from the Middlesex Regional Educational Services have helped plant. They have learned how to take care of the garden and learned about the different fruits and vegetables.

Our first Play Streets was a success, with more than 30 families, including 60 children who attended and enjoyed the day’s activities. The City of Perth Amboy, Perth Amboy Recreation Department, Perth Amboy Board of Education and other organizations joined us in making a great day for the children and families we served. Below is a list of some of the activities that took place:

• Bounce House
• Fitness Obstacle Course
• Carnival Games
• Instructional Sports
• Our most popular game ….GAGA PIT!

Below please see pictures of Play Streets and the Community Garden:

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