Our Health & Wellness priorities, or Health Kicks!, provides Lawrence youth with important, year-round access to healthy, active living initiatives that give them the tools and self-confidence to lead healthier, happier and more productive lives. Through consistent exposure to nutrition education, sport and health & wellness programming, Health Kicks! is designed to reverse the City’s negative health trends. By directly influencing the behaviors and attitudes of our young participants regarding the importance of physical activity and the foods they eat, we are also indirectly affect their families and the greater Lawrence community.
In addition to reinforcing the importance of physical fitness through weekly speed sessions, proper game nutrition and strict “water only” rules during travel soccer practices and games, Health Kicks! programs include:
Cooking Courses: We host cooking courses over the summer and winter months utilizing fresh ingredients, especially in-season fruits and vegetables harvested at local farmer’s markets. Each class begins with an educational component, followed by a nutrition theme and a kitchen skills demonstration. The kids then break into groups to create their recipes.
Speed and Agility Training: This 10 week indoor and 8 week summer-outdoor program helps kids improve footwork, coordination, strength, endurance and explosive speed. We partner with MacFitness to deliver high quality instruction that is especially popular among high school students trying to increase their fitness for their respective sports seasons.
Summer Running Club: An 8 week summer running program initiated by our Summer Coach-Mentors in July 2017, and led by Lawrence High School Track and Field Coach, Luis Cruz, culminated with the Groundwork Lawrence Greenway 5K. We expect to grow this program in 2018.
School-Day Health & Wellness Program: Since 2012, more than 2,000 Lawrence students, attending 8 different Lawrence Public Schools, have benefited from our school-day soccer and wellness instruction. See School-Day Program for more about our impact in the schools.
Alternative Fitness & Outings: Beyond Soccer always looks for other off the field experiences that reinforce the importance of healthy, active lifestyles. We sponsor hiking and farm trips, participation in local road races and Zumba events.
Whats on the horizon for Beyond Soccer kids this winter? Our first Beyond Fit program, plus a new Active Science partnership with the Merrimack Valley YMCA and Merrimack College. More info to follow.