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Keeping Kids’ Minds & Bodies Active this Summer

Most adults remember their childhood summers as a time when kids and families were active and outdoors, spending time swimming, reading, hiking, and taking family vacations. Maybe they remember eating healthy fruits like watermelon and vegetables like corn-on-the-cob. But for most Americans this reality is far from this picture.

As school doors close during the summer, many children face safety concerns, laziness, learning loss, risk for obesity, and food insecurity which set children back developmentally and academically.

The Y of Central Florida recognizes summer as an opportunity to develop the potential of our children. During Healthy Kids Day we encouraged parents and kids to TAKE ON SUMMER by committing to keeping the body and mind active this summer. That’s why the Y of Central Florida is implementing reading activities in our camps and providing summer activities to keep kids healthy.

Here are a few tips you can use to keep your kid’s mind and body active this summer.


Reading Tips for Keeping Minds Active

  • Create a calendar. Help your child feel in control of their summer vacation by laying out a calendar and ask them to fill it in with certain educational activities. For example, “When I get up in the morning, after breakfast, that’s when I’m going to start my reading for the day.”
  • Read together. Make sure your child picks the books that they want to read and take their time reading. If you are a working parent, take 15 minutes before bed and read a book together, especially if it is a more challenging book.
  • Every day. Encourage your child to read daily if it fits into your schedule. Offer incentives for reading. A good stretch to read is 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Consistency is key. The goal is to set a time of 20 minutes, but they say they want to keep going. You want them to become hooked to reading. As a parent, read a book while your child is reading to model consistency.


Tips for Keeping Bodies Active

  • Take a family class. The Y provides family classes so that families can get healthy together. Working out together can bring you closer and keep you motivated and encouraged.
  • Transform the family room. Sometimes family rooms are the center for laziness: a comfy couch, video games, and the television. Place subtle reminders that promote physical activity: resistance bands, dumbbells, a yoga mat, and a jump rope. These small reminders will get you moving in no time.
  • Make chores fun.One thing that sets summer apart for kids is the list of chores that parents leave during the day. Instead of delegating each member of the family to do separate chores, turn chores into a game you can all do together. Race to see how fast you can get the house cleaned.
  • Keep toys handy. Stashing balls, racquets, jump ropes, hula hoops and such in your garage can encourage your kids will find something to do.


Find programs at your Y that can keep your kids active mentally and physically.

2012 Press Releases

Stay informed about the latest news and developments about the Y of Central Florida’s efforts to strengthen community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.


17th Annual Celebration of Prayer

Join us for our 17th annual YMCA Celebration of Prayer on April 21. We will be hearing from our special guest speaker, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. She wants to share a message of faith and inspiration with you and nearly a thousand community and business leaders during Central Florida’s official Holy Week prayer breakfast. The celebration takes place from 7:00 a.m. – 8:15 a.m. at First Baptist Church of Orlando located at 3000 S. John Young Parkway.

Townsend, who was Maryland’s first woman to serve as Lieutenant Governor, is also former U.S. Deputy Assistant Attorney General and a notable child advocate. She is the author of “Failing America’s Faithful: How Today’s Churches Are Mixing God with Politics and Losing Their Way.” Townsend’s faith grew in large part because of her Catholic upbringing. Her father, Robert F. Kennedy, made the connection between faith and justice, which inspired her to write about connecting faith for a fairer society. Her words have inspired many, and you will not want to miss out.

Our reason for being remains unchanged, and we are committed to strengthening the community by connecting individuals, inspiring leaders and providing community solutions through spiritual growth.

“The Celebration of Prayer is a unique opportunity to celebrate the YMCA Christian heritage and mission that has guided our organization for over 150 years,” states YMCA of Central Florida President and CEO Jim Ferber.

Everyone is welcome as we celebrate the arrival of the Easter season. Come and be a part of our mission by putting Christian principles into practice. Tables of 8 are available for $500 and individual seats are $40 each. Please call (407) 895-4288 or [email protected] to reserve your ticket.

Celebrate with us.

News & Events

Join the Cause

The Martin Luther King Prayer Breakfast honors the lives of civil rights leaders, Martin Luther King and Orlando’s own Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy, Orlando’s first African-American elected official.

Learn More

Yvonne’s Story

Yvonne BootsYvonne Boots’ story is an inspiring one. She had a challenging pregnancy with insulin-dependent diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, which fatigued her and made getting back in a shape even more difficult than she imagined. Determined to change the way she felt and to get re-involved with her local Y (The Oviedo YMCA), Yvonne approached the then brand new center to take up teaching classes, something she had previously done and enjoyed. She credits the genuine support and and encouragement from the staff and members to be a cornerstone in her success to getting back into shape and to discovering a life of wellness for herself and others.

She started teaching beginner step and low-impact classes, which was a great way for her to get back into the rhythm of exercise and to encourage others who were just starting out as well. She then began teaching muscle toning, intervals, water aerobics and Latin cardio and felt her energy return in a big way.

She also began to shed the baby weight and feel like her old self again. Today, Yvonne is teaching seven Zumba classes a week and is the best shape of her life―even better shape than she was in her 20s. Best of all, she feels more balanced about her life than she ever has before.

Healthy Tips for a Healthy New Year

It’s a new year and a new opportunity to be in your best health. The Y has some great tips to help you achieve your goals. Stay on track. Your health is worth it. And we can promise you’ll feel better.

  • Exercises for weight loss – find a balance between cardio and strength activities.
  • To eat or not to eat – to get the most out of your workout, provide your body with the right fuel at the right time.
  • Just do it – set a date to start exercising and stick to it.
  • Striving toward the goal of a healthier lifestyle should be considered a new way of living, not a short term plan.
  • To stop the deterioration of muscle, incorporate progressive resistance training into your exercise regime.
  • Protein Power – an insufficient supply of calories limits the amount of muscle we can build.
  • Set realistic health goals.
  • If you are short on time, choose resistance training done in a circuited fashion.
  • If you need a quick meal, consider a frozen entrée rather than a hamburger and French fries.
  • Stretch and de-stress.
  • Variety is the spice of life… and the same applies to your exercise plan.
  • Exercise and blood pressure – by exercising on a regular basis and eating well, blood pressure should naturally come down in time eliminating the need to be on medications.
  • Find a friend, spouse, neighbor or co-worker to workout with you.
  • One of the most helpful tools for weight loss is food record keeping.
  • A great way to manage diabetes or lower your blood sugar if it is elevated is to perform strength exercises 2-3 times per week.
  • Every time you exercise you are giving your body a dose of preventive medicine.
  • Say no to crunches and sit-ups; instead focus your ab work on spine stabilizing exercises.
  • Shrink your waistline by expending more calories than you take in – know what you are eating, perform resistance training that moves your entire body and do higher intensity interval style cardio.
  • Mother really does know best… sit up straight.
  • Cardio Interval Training provides a great cardio workout, and enables you to burn more fat.
  • Drink water and boost flexibility.

Join the Cause

Each year the YMCA brings together people of all ages and backgrounds for a prayer breakfast celebrating the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. This year Dr. Benjamin Carson, Johns Hopkins internationally acclaimed neurosurgeon, spoke to a sold-out crowd of nearly a thousand community and business leaders. 

Dr. Carson is known for being the first to have successfully separated conjoined twins and for his medical techniques that have pioneered advancements in neurosurgery. Currently the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, Dr. Carson is also Professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery and pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

The Prayer Breakfast is an annual community event that celebrates the lives and legacies of Dr. King and Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy, Orlando’s first African-American elected official. At the breakfast, we also salute excellence in the community with the Lifetime Achievement Award, which is given to someone in the African-American community who, like Dr. King and Pappy Kennedy, has gone above and beyond and made a positive impact on the community. Howard Tate “Flute” Gentry is the 2011 recipient for over 30 years of work with Orlando’s youth through the Young Blacks in Action, a group he organized. An avid marching and band participant himself, he sought to provide youth in predominantly African American communities with constructive afterschool activities. He has used precision marching drills to instill strong work ethics in our community’s youth and teach the value of hard work.

And scholarships are given to high school seniors who exemplify dedication to their community and education. This year, three scholarships were presented to Sha’va Newsome of Jones High School, Valentina Fevrier of Boone High School and Jessica Allen of Olympia High School.

At the Y, strengthening community is our cause. This Prayer Breakfast is just one of the many community events and prayer breakfasts that the YMCA of Central Florida hosts throughout the year. The YMCA partners with community organizations to further our mission, bridge the gaps in community needs and increase the number of lives we impact each year.

The event was held on January 17, 2011 at First Baptist Church of Orlando.

Be a Friend

Did you know that 6,380 of your friends and neighbors donated 275,000 hours last year to support efforts at the Y? Their time and energy makes all the difference in our communities. Learn how to meet other great people and share in the power of giving, too.

This year, over $9.6 million, or 10% of total revenues, went to support our youth, health initiatives and neighbors in need in communities where the Y operates facilities and programs.

Community Investing

In 2010, the YMCA of Central Florida invested $4.2 million to support operations of 10 family centers in communities traditionally considered underserved. These Ys are South Orlando, South Lake, Wayne Densch, Tangelo Park, Osceola, Blanchard Park, Titusville, Suntree and the Teen Achievers Program in middle and high schools across six counties. You might be surprised how much you can do to make a difference right here in your community. Learn more about our Scholarship Program. And see what our partners are doing to help us achieve our goals.

Our Community is Tackling Serious Problems

The Y is dedicated to solving serious problems that we’re facing in our communities today. Like addressing childhood obesity and offering many proactive and health-minded solutions for our young members. Other strong and popular programs include preventing childhood drownings through a swimming initiative called “Safe Start.” This program is all about getting your kids in the swim of things with the very best instructors who will teach them the basics in aquatics survival and comfort. Geared towards young children who have never swam before, our “Safe Start” program is one of the most highly recommended beginner swim programs in the area. Get in touch with the Safe Start program at your local Y.