Expanding the Healthy Concessions Work; Evaluating and Planning for Fall Partnerships
June, July, August have been busy months for the YMCA in keeping youngsters active and safe. We lead a county wide effort among summer camps to take a pledge to eliminate sugar sweet beverages and snacks low in nutrition from camp concessions and lunches. We found success in raising camp director awareness and renewed our commitment to further our work in this area. We are engaging new partners, particularly sports and music groups, to examine their concession sales offerings so that there are primarily healthy options on the menu.
There is resistance. Volunteers want to purchase what is low cost, easy to prepare, have a long shelf life, and high profit margins. We address this thinking by sharing our YMCA stories and experiences that have led to agency policies related to no and low sugar/fat food and drinks for concessions, vending, events, meetings, and meals. We provide a tool kit, guidebook, and resources on how to improve the nutritional content of a concession stand or convert to healthy vending.
Y staff, volunteers, parents and members have learned to accept and now expect healthy foods for their children. Families who have children or teens participating in sports, music, and theatre programs should have the same expectation. Reducing obesity among youth and adults remains a community health issue and everyone needs to do their part in helping to address the problem.
About the Grantee
The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. To learn more about the Raritan Valley YMCA programs, health and wellness, visit www.raritanvalleyymca.org or call 732-257-4114. The Y is located at 144 Tices Lane in East Brunswick.