Healthy Kids Out of School: One Mom’s QuestPosted June 10th, 2013 by Molly B. Newman MS, RD
Taking the pledge to support healthy out-of-school programs: One mom’s quest to provide healthy environments for kids to learn, play, and grow.
Shannon is a champion. She is a mom, a Girl Scout Troop leader, and an advocate for children whose passion for living a healthy, active lifestyle has influenced her work as a Girl Scout Troop leader. “When I think of children, I think of them playing and being active. At Girl Scout summer camp, I would see that some kids couldn’t perform all of the activities,” Shannon said. “I realized I had to do something to help.” Having recently lost 100 pounds to improve her own health and to be more active, Shannon knew she could be a role model to her Scouts.
A few months later Shannon received an invitation from the Girl Scout of Kansas to participate in a focus group with Healthy Kids Out of School, an initiative of ChildObesity180 that aims to connect out-of-school-time leaders like Shannon with the resources they need to create healthy environments for all kids.
In 2011, Healthy Kids Out of School brought some of the country’s leading out-of-school-time organizations together to provide greater consistency for healthy snacking and physical activity across programs. These meetings resulted in the creation of three principles for guiding healthy choices: Drink Right, Move More, and Snack Smart. Earlier this year, Healthy Kids Out of School launched the Healthy Kids Hub website to connect out-of-school-time program leaders with free educational materials, discounted products, and other special offers to help them implement the these principles.
Taking the Healthy Kids Out of School pledge on the Healthy Kids Hub was Shannon’s first step in adopting the principles. Using the principles and a variety of resources from the Hub, she found simple ways to make small changes to her Girl Scout Troop meetings, like swapping sugary drinks out for water. Those small changes quickly blossomed into a statewide effort.
“The girls started planning how they could get other Girl Scout troops to take the pledge at the Girl Scouts’ 100-year anniversary celebration in Greensburg, Kansas,” Shannon said. “They were really excited to see how many people they could get to take the pledge.” Shannon is also encouraging other out-of-school-time program leaders in her community to take the pledge to adopt the principles.
To Shannon, the Girl Scouts and other out-of-school-time programs are the perfect environments to promote health and well-being for all kids. Visit www.HealthyKidsHub.org to join Shannon and thousands of other people from around the country in taking the pledge to promote healthy environments for children to Drink Right, Move More, and Snack Smart.