NEWS | Oct. 2, 2017

Youth center hosts Day for Kids

By Staff Sgt. William A. O’Brien Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

The Joint Base Charleston Weapons Station Youth Center participated in the Day for Kids Sept. 21, 2017, to encourage children to unplug from technology and participate in physical activities.

Day for Kids, an annual event started by Nickelodeon in 2004, where all U.S. Nickelodeon channels suspend programming from noon until 3 p.m.

“This is a day we unplug all electronics while encouraging active play and healthy lifestyle through activity and healthy living,” said Amber Early, Youth Center child and youth program assistant. “All the activities we set up for the day requires the kids to get up and physically play.”

Early believes habits picked up in childhood are hard to break. That’s why the Youth Center promotes healthy living for all participants. Two major components of healthy living are physical activity and healthy food choices. Early says they promote those things by showing the children how fun physical activity can be and how delicious nutritious foods are.

“Not just today, but every day we promote a healthy lifestyle and personal interactions with one another,” said Early. “Health issues from eating poorly and not being active are a growing problem and here we try to promote a healthy life through active fun.”

Early started planning the event by asking children what games they would like to have during Day for Kids. Based on their input, she researched games and activities that would appeal to everybody. Day for Kids featured about 19 activities and games varying from Chinese checkers to a “laser maze” made of yarn.

“This is one of my favorite events because I get to introduce the kids to new games they’ve never seen or their favorite board games, however the board and pieces are as big as they are and they have to be active just to move the pieces. I also research games and activities related to their favorite topics or computer games.”

The youth center has a program known as gator cash, which is a voucher system. Youth program attendees can earn gator cash by participating in activities like Day for Kids, good behavior or acts of kindness. This encourages the kids to try new activities, to earn the vouchers and exchange them for healthy snacks and prizes at the gator cash store.

“I save my gator cash up so I can buy really cool things with it later,” said Briana Miller, youth program attendee. “Today was so fun and I hope we have more days like this.”

The two-hour electronics-free event gave kids the chance to try new games and practice team building skills.

“The event went great,” said Early. “It was terrific to see the kids meeting new people, trying new things and learning sportsmanship.”