Let’s P.L.A.A.Y!! Swing Set Ground Breaking! National Get Outdoors Day! Saturday, June 13, 2015

Healthy Parks, Healthy People: On Saturday, June 13, 2015 National Get Outdoors Day the Willingboro Recreation & Parks Department hosted a day of events encouraging healthy, active outdoor recreation opportunities and a day of fun in the sun!

The event partners included: Burlington County Community Action Program Head Start/Early Head Start; Pi Mu Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated; G3 Health & Fitness; Burlington County Health Department; Rita Water Ice; Chef Delilah Winder – Food Network Winner and Chef Dante Foggy – Food Network Teen Chopped Winner

The highlight of this day was the Swing Set Playground Ground Breaking Ceremony!

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Swing Set Ground Breaking holding the shovels from left to right: Mr. Nathaniel Anderson, Deputy Mayor of Willingboro; Cynthia Carpenter, Founder and President of G3 Health & Fitness; Philippa Chaplain, President of Pi Mu Omega Chapter of AKA Sorority Incorporated.

Ground Breaking Picture above also includes from left to right:  Mr. Kendall Brunson, Willingboro Recreation and Parks Department Supervisor; Willingboro Recreation & Parks Staff; Mrs. Linda Williams-Barnes, BCCAP Head Start/Early Head Start Director; BCCAP Head Start/Early Head Start Staff; Victoria Goyins and G3 Health & Fitness Staff and officers and members of Pi Mu Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated.

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The Burlington County Sheriff Department,YMCA, Burlington County WIC, Family Success Center of Burlington County, Fire Department; SNAP –Ed Rutgers Cooperative Extension Program, Rancocas Nature Center, Burlington, Camden Health and Wellness Coalition and other community organization shared and provided information on health, fitness, learning, summer fun, bike safety and wellness.

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The day of events included: 9 AM Fishing Derby – Mill Creek Park, Willingboro, NJ; 10 AM Healthy Fun Walk – Mill Creek Park, Willingboro, NJ; 10 AM Car Show – JF Kennedy Center, Willingboro, NJ; 11 AM Millcreek Park Swing Set Playground Ground Breaking Ceremony with Deputy Mayor of Willingboro; 11 AM Kids Health Fun Day – Millcreek Park, Willingboro, NJ; 11:30 AM Healthy Cooking Demo with Chef Delilah Winder & Chef Dante Foggy – Food Network Winners; 12 noon – Tennis Fun – Millcreek Park, Willingboro, NJ and Outdoor Movie Night at Dusk – JF Kennedy Center.

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Next steps include the installation of the new swing set, ribbon cutting ceremony and the creation of a short DVD promoting walking for all ages.  Continued team meetings and evaluation of June 13, 2015 event in order to prepare for 2016 National Get Outdoors Day. P.L.A.A.Y. grant team meetings regarding 2015 – 2016 community goals to support a culture of health and address policies focused on community health, fitness, nutrition and wellness.

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Healthy Eats

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Candy or an apple? Ice cream or vegetables? Decisions, decisions.

Eatontown Community Center Preschool, as part of the Eatontown Recreation and Community Services Department, recently took a field trip to learn about healthier eating options. Believing that 3 and 4 year olds can benefit from smart food choices, the Eatontown Preschool visited a local grocery store. Stop and Shop® provides a Kid Healthy Ideas Program in which groups, starting at the Preschool age are toured around the grocery store to learn about different healthy foods.

The program focused on nutrition, our environment where food comes from, and overall wellness related topics. When children first arrived they were quizzed what healthy foods are. A tour was then offered throughout the entire store, aisle through aisle, in which healthier options were pointed out. Children were encouraged to ask questions. This grocery store made it a point to explain to the children that healthy eating choices can be easy and fun. Our preschoolers were able to sample fruits, vegetables, healthy grains as well as many other foods. For some, it was the first time they had such foods, as they asked excitedly for more. It was clear for most of the preschoolers that this was their favorite part!

Children were encouraged to go home and talk with their families about what they had learned on this field trip. Eatontown Preschool hopes that this program, along with lesson plans taught at the school, will provide an education for children at an early age. These baby steps (or Preschool steps if you will) are being made to help grow a healthier tomorrow.

Ready, Set, Eatontown Rec!

Allow us to introduce ourselves! We are Eatontown Recreation and Community Services located in Eatontown, New Jersey. Our department, consisting of four sub departments, reaches a multitude of residents. These residents range from our students in the three and four year old Preschool classrooms to the dozens of members in our Adult/Senior Center and even our youth and adult program members in our Library. But that’s not all! Our Recreation department reaches resident’s youth to adult with a variety of programs and events consisting of sports, fitness, and wellness activities!

Our department loves to stay innovative and uses the resources we have to reach residents in all four departments (Preschool, Library, Adult/Senior Center and Recreation), with the most recent endeavor in wellness related programs. Our goal is to develop lifelong health, wellness, and recreational interests. With our recent integration of social media in the past few years, we have hit the “wellness ground” running! Our hunger to learn more from other communities while really stretching our own “wellness legs” has our department saying Ready, Set, Go!

Our grant project consists of an infrastructure improvement in our Community Center. With better equipped flooring, we will be able to offer a larger variety of wellness and fitness programs. This project is something all can greatly benefit from!

We here at Eatontown Recreation are excited for this new journey.

So, on your mark….

Have Farm, Will Travel

Lorraine Gibbons from Garden State Urban Farms tells the seniors at the Garfield YMCA about her "traveling farm."
Lorraine Gibbons from Garden State Urban Farms tells the seniors at the Garfield YMCA about her “traveling farm.”

Throughout the month of March senior YMCA members enjoyed visits from Lorraine Gibbons who is the garden master mind of the community garden project taking root at the Garfield YMCA this Spring. Lorraine met with the seniors after one of their exercise classes to talk with them about her “traveling farm,” earthboxes that can be located almost anywhere and can grow almost anything, in abundance! She also spent time getting to know the seniors: What’s their heritage? What vegetables do you associate with your heritage, your childhood? Who is growing food in their back yards? What are you successful growing?

Well the seniors weren’t quite ready to wait for planting season. They were all very interested in the earthbox system and started making their lists of what they wanted to plant. This brought Lorraine back for another visit. She came back with an earth box and showed our seniors how they would be growing food in the boxes and what the harvest looks like!

Many of the seniors at the Y knew about the garden that was at Jewel Street Park last year, and are excited to have the garden at the Y this year, and also to have the opportunity to help plant, maintain and harvest. This is the perfect starting point for the vision of an intergenerational garden. The YMCA  preschool plans to implement garden curriculum for the children and they will often work on activities with the YMCA’s senior members in the garden.

The preschoolers, who each have an earthbox in their classrooms, received their “grow lights” this week and staking system so they could successfully grow food indoors. Their boxes will be set up shortly and a family planting night will take place during one of the Parent Association Meetings this Spring.

The winter has been a rough one, as will anyone who is wanting to grow food will tell you. Inspecting the grounds was an issue in and of itself because snow was on the ground so long. We were finally successful mapping out our garden plan this week. Not only will earthboxes be planted off the main parking lot of our Y, we found we have space to plant some flowers, and best of all, on our playground! Our preschoolers will get a delightful treat!  Sunflowers for the Spring and Pumpkins for the Fall!

 

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Surveying the grounds for the Garden

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Some of our seniors said they are also looking forward to the social aspect of our community garden

Kids Zumba: A New Way to Get those Preschool Wiggles Out

prekzumba prekzumba2 prekzumba4When the Eatontown Community Center Preschool first incorporated fitness classes into the curriculum back in 2012, they had no idea how much of a positive impact it would have on the program as a whole. During the Winter months, the ECC preschool teachers yearned for warmer weather to let their students outside to get there “wiggles” and “sillys” out. Being stuck inside is hard on anyone, but especially energetic, “jumping bean” children! That is when kids Zumba, better known as Kids Zumbatomic, was first integrated into the program.

Children are instructed to wear sneakers for the once a week Zumbatomic class. Using the building adjacent to the preschool, known as the Community Center, a certified Zumbatomic instructor teaches a class of about 30 preschoolers.

Days when the children have Zumba, a special energy is the air. The students come to school, knowing the fun is soon to come. Thirty tiny, smiling faces congregate in the Community Center and eagerly wait for the music to begin. First the warm up, followed by 20 minutes of dancing inspired by fitness and ending with stretching. Children bop, swerve, and laugh along to the music…some to the beat and others unknowingly out of rhythm.

What the children do not know is that just because they are out of the classroom, does not mean they are not learning. They exercise their fine motor skills while being exposed to different cultural music and dance styles, like the salsa and the mambo. Their “listening ears” are present as they must learn to follow directions from the instructor. The learning never stops outside the classroom! Most importantly, they are learning that fitness can be fun!

As the giggly, children sway and shimmy side to side, the goal of the Eatontown Community Center Preschool is encourage health and love of fitness for years to come.