Staying Active and Healthy as a Family
Teanna first learned about YWCA Minneapolis’ Strong Fast Fit program when a community member mentioned it to her — she did some digging to find out how to enroll. Her sons, Anthony and Jayden, were happy to do something other than being at home after school and Teanna thought it would be a great way for the whole family to stay active. Anthony is in 8th grade and Jayden is in 7th grade now and they’ve been a part of the program for three years.
Strong Fast Fit is a fitness and nutrition afterschool program. As a part of it, the whole family receives a YWCA fitness membership and the youth meet after school to play games and learn how to make nutritious meals and snacks. It’s designed to empower youth to live healthy and active lifestyles.
Sports, Games and Nutrition
When asked about a memorable part of participating in Strong Fast Fit, Anthony jokes about the time he slipped and fell during the program. But, his mom is quick to roll her eyes and ask, “What about all the awards you received for racing, like for the Medtronic race?” His brother, Jayden, adds that one year they even finished a race in the pouring, freezing rain. That one was memorable!
Anthony and Jayden say some of the games they play with Strong Fast Fit are kickball, LaCrosse, basketball, football and floor hockey. Being more active after school has had its benefits. Jayden says he runs better and is getting better at football. Teanna mentions they have gotten more confident trying out for sports at school. They’ve also made some good friends.
Learning about Native Culture and Language
A major part of the program is that it is culturally specific. The afterschool program is a safe space where youth feel comfortable making healthy choices in a way that makes sense within their culture. Parents and youth in the program talk about how it is one of the few spaces where people from similar ethnic backgrounds can gather and learn about their cultural heritage — particularly as it relates to food, fitness and sports. Teanna says that being around kids who are similar to them has made a difference. The program has helped emphasize that part of their identity and they’ve learned more about Native culture and language. Teanna says they now express, “I’m Native and I’m proud of it.”
A Valuable Experience
Overall, the program has been a benefit to Teanna and the boys over the years. Teanna says, “Strong Fast Fit has been a valuable experience for my family. My kids have definitely gained more confidence. The fitness membership, swimming lessons and programming have all made a difference for us.”