- Author: Steven Worker
Members of the Siskiyou County Hi 4-H project recently created a “Take a Hike” program to teach healthy living skills to youth in the Big Springs Afterschool Program.
“4-H Healthy Living encompasses a holistic approach including healthy eating habits, physical fitness, the capacity to manage emotions, and the ability to develop and maintain positive relationships,” stated a press release.
The University of California 4-H Youth Development Program is focusing efforts on increasing healthy living opportunities and strengthening the presence of healthy living themes by encouraging members to develop service projects in their local communities.
The “Take a Hike” program is based on the principle of connecting youth to their outdoor environment. The members created the program to teach the importance of healthy eating, physical activity and first aid basics while taking a hike.
To add to the teaching experience, members have included an outdoor photography lesson, journaling, as well as wildlife, wildflower, and tree identification to the activities.
Prior to heading out on a trail the teens in the Hi 4-H program developed lessons to teach youth to identify and prepare healthy snacks that provide vitamins, protein, and are low in sugar.
Youth were shown how to make discovery journals to keep a record of their discoveries. Each participant received a pedometer to track their steps and they were shown the importance of keeping their heart healthy with proper exercise.
Each youth was able to learn why a heart rate monitor is helpful while exercising and what heart rate they should be at for different activities and fitness levels.
The youth were able to finish the project by taking a hike at Greenhorn Park. They were provided first aid-basics lessons, assigned a photo scavenger hunt, and given a step tracking guide to document their travels.
The group knew that the project was a success when the participants wanted to know, “Can we do this everyday?”
“Hi 4-H encourages teens to plan and implement new service learning projects that fulfill needs within their communities. They develop strong leadership and communication skills. Once a project is completed they have learned what it means to provide generosity to the community, gained independence by learning essential life skills, and fostered a can-do attitude,” stated the release.
The release continued, “As a part of a group that is making a difference they are instilled with a sense of belonging; their voices are heard. They have gained mastery of communication skills that set them apart in the classroom and amongst their peers.”