Adolescence can be rough.
With all the stress that comes with school and friends and family and changing social structures and bodies and a myriad of other things that pepper older children and teens on a daily basis, it can mean the world for an adult to just listen and help guide them through safe and healthy ways to handle their stress and other things life throws at them.
That's where Teen Fit, led by Y Wellness Coordinator Kim Beard, comes in. The program is designed to combine mental, social and physical health and improve the lives of local youth.
“Rosie [Morehous] threw this together for me, which was amazing,” said Beard. “Our goal is to reach out to kids and show them a healthier way to deal with issues they may have. Instead of going home and sitting in front of the TV and eating the bag of chips and drinking the Coke, I’ll sit down with them and teach them, you know, you can go outside and play or work out or you can dance and we talk about bullying, we talk about self confidence, whatever they want to talk about.”
“I think with this program in particular, you look in the media today and, what are they being told?” asked Morehous. “You’re having a bad day — your boyfriend breaks up with you, your parents are giving you a rough time — what are you supposed to do? Let’s do some drugs, drink alcohol, cutting, social media. You can eat too much or too little. These are the things the media, our culture, is telling kids is OK by our culture for coping. Of course, that’s not an appropriate way for our youth to address their issues and Kim shows them a better way to handle them.”
Morehous said Beard has provided some excellent outlets for youth.
“They need to know there are positive ways to handle their stress and she has been a wonderful, positive role model for them and an adult they can interact with,” she said. “She’s been a mentor for them to really give them options. It’s been very, very rewarding to see the growth and confidence in the youth.”
Teen Fit is a six-week course that meets for 45 minutes each session, where teens get to experience different types of exercise and, using the established curriculum, discuss various aspects of what teens struggle with.
“I think the most impactful classes are when they really start opening up with you and you start bonding with them,” said Beard. “You learn a lot and some is good and some is bad, but to know they trust you with that is rewarding.”
The program runs on Monday afternoons from 3:30 to 4:15 p.m., starting Monday, Aug. 14 to Sept. 25. The cost is $20 for members and $35 for non-members.
If at least three youth do not sign up, the session will be dropped and the next session will open later in the fall.
You can learn more about the variety of programs offered through the YMCA by visiting wcfymca.org or calling the Y at 812-883-9622 (YMCA). You can sign up for Teen Fit over the phone and through the Y website or at the front desk of the Y.
Interested in the other ways the Y's youth program benefits mental and physical health in children and teens? See tonight's paper for more!