New year brings healthier kids, thanks to FCCLA

102SLPFCCLA_mid.jpgYoga, reindeer chow and the Cha Cha Slide were the order of the day
recently for a group of Westwood Middle School (WWMS) students.

Spring Lake Park High School’s FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) members recently hosted a session teaching 28 Westwood Middle School students after school how to live a healthier lifestyle. (Photo submitted)


by Elyse Kaner
Staff writer

Yoga, reindeer chow and the Cha Cha Slide were the order of the day recently for a group of Westwood Middle School (WWMS) students.

102SLPFCCLA_mid.jpg

Rachel Miller, a member of Blaine High School’s marching band, will march in the world-famous Tournament of Roses parade on New Year’s Day. (Photo courtesy of Rachel Miller)

That and a resolution to change at least one thing in the new year.

Spring Lake Park High School’s FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) hosted a session last month called New Year … New You for middle schoolers interested in seeking a healthier life style.

The session was part of FCCLA’s yearly theme Healthy Living Across the Life Span.

“Unfortunately, we’re seeing an increase in obesity because so many things kids do are sedentary,” said adviser Lori Henry. “It’s important to get them moving, to get them active.”

During last month’s session, Westwood kids remained after school and got a chance to visit four stations for 15 minutes a piece, where they partook in quick courses in exercise and nutritious snacking.

They also played Grooming Bingo and a board game on nutrition and healthy eating.

At the stations, they stretched and learned yoga. They danced the popular Cha Cha Slide.

They selected an activity card asking them to do 10 jumping jacks or five push ups, for example, and the kids made reindeer chow, a trail snack mix with Cheerios, pretzels, Chex mix and peanuts. Yum!

For Grooming Bingo, students learned the importance of good hygiene. Kids walked away with soap, body wash and wash cloths for prizes.

When all was done, the 28 middle schoolers were asked what one thing could they do in the new year to change their lives into a more healthy lifestyle.

Some admitted to drinking too much pop and eating too many chips.

Others said they were already getting exercise playing hockey and basketball everyday.

“It’s a good reflection for them to know it’s important,” Henry said.

This year FCCLA has sponsored one project a month to promote healthy living.

The group invited fifth-graders in November to exercise 15 minutes outside of the school day for five days a week in an activity called Fitness + YOU=Fun. Prizes were awarded.

In October, the group made a nutritious snack cookbook and gave it to District 16’s Early Childhood Family Education participants and area day cares.

In September, the group collected baby supplies for the infant center at the Learning Alternatives Community School and Alexandra House, a battered women’s shelter.

During the new year, FCCLA has plans to run sessions on positive self image for teens and the perils of alcohol/binge drinking. The group has tentative plans for a health fair in the spring.

Students for December’s sessions signed up through their WWMS homerooms, or, as they say in Panther territory, their Prides.

“The workshop was a lot of fun for the FCCLA members and the middle school students,” said Morgan Croft, chapter reporter and historian.

“It was a great way for the younger kids to learn how to keep healthy and set goals for the New Year.

“It was also beneficial for the high school students who got to work with the kids and learn how to teach them about important things like being healthy.”

Founded in 1945, FCCLA is a national student organization that helps young men and women become leaders.

It addresses important personal, family, work and societal issues through family and consumer sciences education.

Elyse Kaner is at elyse.kaner@ecm-inc.com.

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