Every Step Counts

That’s the name of the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program that I helped kick off yesterday. Used up a few more of those discretionary hours by helping run a bean-bag toss game, which was one of the series of “Challenges” that the BBBS kids went through yesterday as part of the inaugural event.

It was fun! The point of the upcoming program is to get kids moving and being more active. One of the key components is a pedometer and a corresponding log, which lets the kids keep up with and log their steps over the next several months. During the program, kids will get various incentive prizes for logging steps (one assumes the more steps logged, the bigger the prize but that is just a guess). The whole thing kicked off yesterday with a fun event full of cool challenge stations that the kids completed and checked off of their Challenge Card. The challenges focused around health and fitness, such as “Fear Factor,” where the kids were blindfolded then asked to identify a food that was put into their mouths by the volunteers (avocado, chickpeas, olives and pineapple chunks were some of the options), and the soccer challenge, where they practiced kicking a soccer ball into the net from three increasingly distant cones.

I manned the “Food Groups Bean-Bag Toss,” where the object was to toss bean bags at a bean bag target, the pockets of which had been modified with printed food-group labels. The idea was to just let them toss the bags until they got one in each pocket. Of course, I got creative with it pretty quickly, since that seemed kinda boring. What I did was have the kids tell me what “dinner” they were preparing and then translated that into the food group targets. For example, with a pizza dinner, the kids were shooting for the crust (grains), the sauce (veggies), cheese (dairy), meat or meat-substitute toppings (proteins) and fruit as either a dessert or as a topping (like pineapple). It made the game more fun and gave the kids a chance to think through what the components of a healthy dinner look like “in action,” as it were. To my mind, this helps cement the learning a bit better. Either way, it did make the game more fun, and it seemed to focus their attention better.

A good time was had by all, especially once they realized that spending time on the exercise bike down in the gym gave them oodles of “steps” on their new pedometers. Sneaky, sneaky BBBS staffers “leaked” that info out early on, and so the kids spent a lot of time running around and pedaling furiously on the bike. Probably shoulda told them how much exercise you get whitewashing fences, but there didn’t seem to be any around in need of repair. 😀

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