By Becky Bennett
4-H Youth Development Agent
Boot-camp??!! Is that a bugle I hear in the background?? Before you get into too much of a panic, let me put your mind at ease about 4-H style boot-camp…it is nothing like the grueling task that our honored service men and women experience! 4-H boot-camp focuses on three important things food, fun and fitness (emphasis on fun!). Healthy lifestyles is a prime component in 4-H. We strive to teach our youth the importance of maintaining one’s nutrition and fitness levels. As with any 4-H program, teaching youth about healthy lifestyles involves methods where we “learn by doing.”
The week of July 11-14, youth of all ages gathered at the Madison County Extension Office to expand their knowledge on nutrition, fitness and teamwork through fun-filled, hands-on experiences. Each day youth made a nutritious snack or breakfast that could easily be made at home by themsleves, participated in fun activities that transformed boring exercise into “fun-tas-ter-cises” and gained powerful life skills in communication through teamwork.
On Thursday, the first annual Madison County 4-H Olympics were held to put the participants’ knowledge and skills to the test. Youth competed in both individual and team events to earn their very own 4-H Olympic medal. Teams also competed for the coveted Golden Clover Award; this award was given to the team (Green or White) who won the most team events during the 4-H Olympics. Events included foot races, tug-o-war, obstacle courses, team challenge games, water relays, jumping duct tape and much more!
Although anyone who participated in this weeks’ events can tell you it was fun, exciting, challenging…and yes even exhausting. You can ask any of those 4-H Olympians and they will be able to give you a recipe for a well balanced meal and tell you how long everyone should “fun-tas-ter-cise” each day. It is events and activities like these that we need to encourage among youth and adults to curb the unhealthy trends that are sweeping our nation.
Ask a 4-H’er and you’ll soon find out the meaning behind “60 minutes a day, fun-tas-ter-cise your blues away!” Youth aren’t the only ones who benefit from playing for 60 minutes a day; I challenge each adult reading this to grab a friend, or your child, and go outside and play for one hour everyday for one week. For just one week, be a kid again for an hour each day. Try to eat three balanced meals per day and watch your sugar intake; I bet you will feel so good you’ll want to keep it up! Life is here for our enjoyment and what better way to enjoy life than with the enthusiasm of a child.
Try this healthy snack to help kick off you challenge:
Clover-Olympian Chex Mix
- ½ c Oatmeal Squares cereal (or another high fiber cereal)
- ½ c Life cereal
- 2 T Peanut butter (or try almond butter for a healthier option)
- 2 T Craisins (or other dried fruit)
Combine all ingredients in a zip-lock bag or bowl. Grab a spoon and dig in!