Being active is important at every age. That’s why the U.S. Surgeon General and the Y partnered to bring young people and older adults together to engage in fun physical activity – together – from Aug. 1-Aug. 8.
Throughout the week there were at least 200 activities hosted by Y’s across the nation. These Y’s brought thousands of individuals of all ages together to participate in a variety of intergenerational activities, including yoga and group exercise classes, Zumba classes, dance parties, swimming, older adults teaching children how to play pickleball, young campers and senior groups doing the hokey pokey, Family Fun nights, baseball and basketball games and much, much more!
Y’s posted their activities on social media using the #NewWay2Move hashtag, sharing their excitement and inspiring each other to participate in the initiative. The Surgeon General and Y leaders engaged in the initiative by participating on social media and highlighting many of the local events on their accounts.
A common theme at all the participating Y’s was that both the young people and older adults had fun! Here are a few examples of activities from around the nation:
Let’s Do This More Often: Philadelphia Freedom Valley YMCA
Philadelphia-area Y’s held 36 activities with 12 branches participating. In fact, to make things more fun, there was a competition among the branches to see who could get the most activity throughout the week. Activities included intergenerational dance parties, group exercise classes, pickleball, swimming and more!
One event at the Haverford Area Branch brought the Y’s Small Feet – ages 3-5 – camp together with the Active Older Adults Basic Fitness class for 30 minutes of physical activity and fun. Instructors led the group of about 60 people through exercises, stretching, passing balls around a circle, and dribbling and catching “drills.”
“This was a fun activity. It made the grownups smile and the children giggle,” said Sally Mahoney, an Active Older Adult program participant. Another member commented, “During one of the changes in activities, one of ‘my’ kids looked at me forlornly and said, ‘I hope it’s not over already!’”
The two classes weren’t the only ones participating – other branch members who saw how much fun they were having joined the group in the gym! Their time together culminated with the participants doing the “YMCA dance” together. “That’s not exercising, that’s just fun dancing!” said 5-year-old Madison.
Both the young people and adults had a great time participating. Y staff indicated they overheard an active older adult say, “We should do this more often!”
A New Way: The Shih Yu-Lang Central YMCA
Boeddeker Park is a special place in the heart of one of San Francisco’s most challenged neighborhoods. YMCA programs ─ including cooking and fitness classes, after school care and camps ─are housed in the public park and open to the whole community. With a high density of single-resident occupancy housing in the neighborhood, shared community space is paramount, and often over the summer months, grandparents will bring their grandchildren while their parents are at work, and stay at the park all day. Kids will play on the playground while grandparents take Zumba, or they’ll cook together in the shared kitchen.