Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas: Boys and Girls Club Gets Kickapoo Youth Moving
More than 80% of children and teens in the United States don’t get the one hour or more of daily aerobic exercise recommended by health experts. This hour or more of daily exercise helps young people develop healthy bones and muscles, control their weight, and reduce stress. Regular exercise also reduces their risk of becoming obese and developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. The Kickapoo Boys and Girls Club in Kansas was created to give children and teens a place to gather, play, and exercise, but it offered limited activities and had too few staff to engage kids and keep them interested.
The Kickapoo Tribe used its Preventive Health and Health Services (PHHS) Block Grant funds to help the Kickapoo Boys and Girls Club hire a physical activity coordinator and additional staff. Funding also helped provide game equipment for Kickapoo children and teens aged 5–18. The Club was able to increase the number of sports and games offered, including new activities like volleyball, tennis, and basketball.
The new staff added more age-specific activity options and enabled the Club to sponsor four teams for official basketball league play. A nearby college, sports fans, and parents also got involved with the Club activities year-round. Many of the kids had problems getting to the Club, so the new staff worked with schools to help them get transportation.
Average daily participation at the Kickapoo Boys and Girls Club increased from 17 kids in 2011 to 59 for the after-school program, and 72 for the summer program by 2014. The kids were exercising more, averaging one hour per day during the school year and two hours during the summer.
Strong partnerships and a stable workforce are expected to expand the Club’s growth and help more children be healthier.
Story year: 2015