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Boys and Girls Club springs into fitness

Participants take an active role in the National Fitness Competition at the Hollywood Boys & Girls Club. The program is designed to boost mental, emotional and physical health. (Courtesy of Valentina Arce)

The Seminole Tribe of Florida’s Boys and Girls Club embarked on a fun-filled fitness journey in May. From May 8-12, students from throughout the tribe participated in the Spring National Fitness Competition, sponsored by the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and Nestlé.

The competition occurs twice per year — in the fall and in the spring — in an attempt to engage and inspire children to lead healthy and active lives. Participating Boys and Girls Clubs throughout the country host fitness competitions that incorporate fun activities that resemble field days held at schools, such as jump rope, hula hoop, potato sack races and relays. All activities are divided by age and gender and include three levels of competition: individual, with peers and against other clubs.

Valentina Arce, tribalwide youth events coordinator, said that participating club members “compete against themselves” by tracking their accomplishments and striving for improvement.

“[It’s] helping them build motivation, confidence and physical competence,” she said.

Many clubs say that the fitness competition is about more than just physical activity, as well.

Participants take an active role in the National Fitness Competition at the Hollywood Boys & Girls Club. The program is designed to boost mental, emotional and physical health. (Courtesy of Valentina Arce)

“The group as a whole showed significant improvement, both mentally and physically,” said Magen Clay, a staff member with the Oakland Boys and Girls Club. “Our kids’ outlook on participating in daily fitness challenges and in the competition was incredible.”

This is the event’s third year. Approximately 76,000 kids and teenagers from almost 750 Boys and Girls Club participated.

BGCA President and CEO Jim Clark said the partnership between Boys and Girls Club and Nestle makes a positive impact on the childrens’ lives.

“This partnership has created an invaluable joint effort between our organizations to help inspire young people to learn the importance of health and fitness, while also cultivating their self-confidence and motivation that will carry them outside of our Clubs’ walls.”

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Li Cohen
Li is a reporter for The Seminole Tribune. When she isn't drinking a [probably excessive] cup of coffee, she is reading and writing about local, national, and international news. She can also be seen at Nova Southeastern University working on her masters degree, running around South Florida in preparation of marathon season, and travelling to new lands. Make sure to check out her work at liyakira.com, send her an email at licohen@semtribe.com and follow her journeys on Twitter (@WritingLiYakira) and Instagram (@LiYakira).
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