We Can!® Fun Is Contagious in Idaho Community
From grandparents to kids, entire families in Council, Idaho, are getting active and eating healthy with We Can!, as the Adams County Health Center recently kicked-off its summer program. What started out as a relatively small group of children quickly expanded to a robust group including students, their parents and grandparents. "As the program went on, all the kids saw us having fun and wanted to get involved. And then the kids brought their parents along and they got involved as well." said We Can! Coordinator Linda Rogers, "It became a family thing. Fun is contagious."
During this program, Rogers organizes a number of physically active events for the students. One event that they enjoy in particular is a game called Toppling Towers. Students make their own creations out of recyclable materials such as empty cereal boxes and plastic soda containers and take turns attempting to knock them down with wet sponges in the summer sun!
Organized sports such as baseball games also give the opportunity for the whole family to get involved. "They got right in there." Rogers says about family participation in the summer baseball games. "Grandpa Mark Edwards was our catcher and we had grandmothers and mothers on bases and pitching."
Adams County Health Center also organizes Family Fun Nights that includes We Can! programming and developed a popular classroom health education curricula for second through sixth graders.
Sensing an opportunity to engage children and their families on the importance of healthy living, Rogers went before the local school principal and staff to pitch health education as a part of the curriculum, based on elements of the We Can! program. Their creative programming was so compelling, that they now work with the school to implement lesson plans that focus on positive food choices and physical activity, and even participated in the school talent show. The We Can! participants in Adams County performed the Macarena (a group line dance) at the school-wide talent show, proving that an active lifestyle can be fun too!
Recently, the Adams County Health Center and Council Community Garden staff joined together for a Family Fun Night where families came together to participate in healthy food preparation and engage in fun physical activity. The workshop showed families a key component of the We Can! program—that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is an activity for the whole family. Kids picked vegetables from the garden and then created their own meal to share with their parents and grandparents. While the meal was cooking, the played Red Rover on a football field nearby.
This Idaho Community Site continues to run successful programming year to year. Wondering how you can learn from them? Read the tips below for your community site:
- Consider incorporating extended family members into your programs, in addition to parents. Grandparents, aunts, and uncles are often very involved in the daily lives of children and can act as important decision-makers when it comes to eating healthy, getting physical activity, and regulating the amount of time their kids spend in front of the TV.
- Try new local partners, like stores, gyms, or restaurants, to get the community involved in your site"s We Can! efforts. Use the newly revised We Can! partner presentation (1.3 MB) to help make your case with these groups. For additional partnership ideas, contact your regional liaison
- Get cooking! Adams County Health Center brought generations together with a healthy food preparation and cooking activity. We Can! offers many resources for family meals, such as the Keep the Beat™ and We Can! Deliciously Healthy Family Meals cookbook.