Organizations often want to do more to keep kids active, but don’t have the equipment or supplies to do so.
Thanks to the Rural Health Network of Oswego County, that challenge has gotten a little easier.
The Rural Health Network’s County Health Issues subcommittee is collaborating to improve access to health care and preventative services; to improve healthy behaviors by addressing chronic disease, tobacco use, physical activity and nutrition; and decrease the impact that co-morbid conditions have on the physical health of Oswego County residents.
As part of its physical activity objective the committee surveyed every municipal and YMCA recreation program in Oswego County that serves low-income youth.
The goal of the survey was to discover how many youth are being served, what activities are offered, how to increase physical activity for the youth and what these programs would need to do so.
“We wanted to know what activities youth were involved with and what new activities they would be interested in,” said Danielle Wert, program coordinator for the rural Health Network.
“We visited the sites, spoke with staff members as well as the youth they serve to determine what their needs were,” she said. “We identified recreation programs at Selkirk Shores, Palermo, and the Oswego YMCA as programs that were need of equipment.”
“Dick’s Sporting Goods and Gopher Sports worked with us so that we were able to purchase the additional equipment these programs were in need of.,” Wert said.
“From portable basketball hoops to soccer and playground balls, soccer nets, lacrosse equipment and more, we were able to provide them a wide range of equipment that will help to increase the physical activity of the youth participating in these programs,” she said.
Wert said in addition to the benefits of increased physical activity, participation in these programs will also aid youth in their character development.
“Many of the playground balls that we purchased have positive character messages such as ‘honesty’ and ‘courage.’ Activity coordinators will be able to incorporate these character traits into the activities as a learning tool,” said Wert.
For the Rural Health Network’s County Health Issues subcommittee, chaired by Senior Public Health Educator for the Oswego County Health Department Diane Oldenburg, this purchase of recreational equipment is just the beginning of its mission to encourage and enhance physical activity for youth. “We will continue to assist recreation programs throughout Oswego County and do what we can to help them meet the physical activity needs of our youth,” added Wert.
Operating under the auspices of OCO Inc., the Rural Health Network is a consortium of health care providers and human service providers in Oswego County.
For more information on the Rural Health Network of Oswego County, contact Danielle Wert at 592-0827, or visit www.oco.org.