Youth Health and Fitness Fund
The primary purpose of the Youth Health and Fitness Fund is to provide support to Central Michigan Community Hospital for youth health and fitness programs that utilize leadership development strategies and health education to achieve the goals of: improving the fitness level of our youth; decreasing incidents of childhood obesity, diabetes, and related health risk factors; and enhancing the self-esteem and self-confidence of youth in our community.
Nancy English, one of the fund founders, described why she helped create this program, “No one state-wide or nationally is working hard enough on these issues.” The concept of an after school health and fitness program became more realistic with the addition of Morey Courts Recreation Center. Other than a camp or clinic, most fitness facilities just can’t focus year round on our youth.
Vision 20/20 leaders Sid Smith and Bill Ervin were instrumental in “rallying the troops” and helping Nancy raise funding for the program. They established an endowment to provide sustainability for the program in the years to come and already have money committed to the fund.
The program will allow junior high and high school students to work out from 3 – 5 p.m. after school at Morey Courts Recreation Center and offers two types of structures. One program will allow students to work out after school for $1 per visit or $15 for 20 visits. The second and more structured program will run for eight weeks in the spring and eight weeks in the fall and will focus more heavily on mentoring, leadership development and achieving specific goals. Speakers will be invited throughout the session to speak on fitness, health and leadership development. Mentoring will be a key aspect of this program with no more than four students matched with each mentor, allowing for individualized attention. Mentors will be recruited from Central Michigan University and throughout the community.
Nancy and the staff at Morey Courts have been working to develop the program and hope to work closely with all school systems in the area and with the Isabella County Transportation Commission (ICTC) to nsure all students have an opportunity to participate. The health and fitness program began in the fall of 2009. Nancy hopes that someday the program can serve as a template for other communities who choose to foster the health and fitness of our youth.