CYS Services: making fitness fun for kids
CYS Services Gym Ratz participant Caleb Elliott, 9, expertly negotiates the climbing wall in the Panzer Fitness Center June 25.

STUTTGART, Germany -- Turn off the television, shut down the computer and put that IPod down.

That's what U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart's Child, Youth and School Services wants kids to do this summer.

With childhood obesity on the rise in America, CYS Services is intent on getting all children - not just the athletic, competitive ones - moving.

"A lot of kids don't want to participate in team sports, so we offer camps and clinics to accommodate them," said Jeff Carpenter, the CYS Services Sports and Fitness program director.

Scheduled sports clinics include tennis, cheerleading, flag football, soccer, bowling and golf.

The idea is to introduce children to the sports, teach them the fundamentals and get them active.

Twenty-seven youngsters participated in a basketball clinic held June 23-25 in the Patch Fitness Center.

Payton Paro, 11, signed up to improve her technique. "I want to work on controlling the ball," she said.
Payton, who has played basketball since she was 4, recommends the clinic, especially for beginning players. "They walk you through everything, and teach you the basics," she said.

Mini-fitness camps are slated throughout the summer at youth and school-age centers on Patch and Kelley Barracks, and Panzer Kaserne.

The fitness camps will focus on speed and agility drills, according to Caitlin Smith, fitness specialist for CYS Services.

The drills help to promote fitness, and build balance, agility and speed skills. "The program mirrors what you'd do in an athletic training program," said Smith.

Smith is also leading an eight-week summer program for 12- to 18-year-olds called Start Moving' Start Livin'.

Adolescents can take part in weight training, indoor cycling and what Smith calls "boot camp in a bag."
Another program, Gym Ratz, runs through August. "It's an incentive-based program to encourage kids to keep moving," said Smith. Participants earn points for activities such as Frisbee, rock climbing or dog walking. The points can then be redeemed for prizes.

The programs are all part of a CYS Services fitness initiative that began last fall with a virtual "walk across Germany."

"We've been adding new programs ever since," said Smith.

Page last updated Thu July 1st, 2010 at 06:23