The Community Fitness Initiative (CFI) is a community based approach to improving the health and well-being of Lexington's citizens. Beginning with the support of Tri County Hospital, Lexington Public Schools, Lexington Community Foundation, the City of Lexington, various businesses and community members CFI brings together a diverse set of stakeholders with the common goal of improving the quality of life in Lexington through the development and implementation of sustainable wellness programs.
The CFI group formed in response to the emerging national and local obesity epidemic. The initial program targeted children age K-5 but is expanding to include the middle school children as well. BMI percentiles indicate that more than 50% of Lexington's children are overweight or obese.
CFI is currently sponsoring a list of programs to give kids a chance to participate in activities that might not be offered to them otherwise. These programs are all FREE for all kindergarten through middle school students. This year CFI has sponsored a wrestling camp, and is currently sponsoring a dance camp every Monday and Thursday 6:30-7:30 until the end of April. CFI also sponsors a crossing guard program to promote safety so students can walk to school in the spring and fall which was initially funded by the Nebraska Department of Roads Safe Routes to School grant. The school Superintendent is supportive of the CFI goals and programs and just this year added 20 minutes of mandatory exercise during the school day. Finally, CFI collaborated with Dr. Kate Heelan, a member of the CFI steering committee and Department Chair of the UNK Human Performance Lab, to analyze health data and send healthy report cards home to all elementary school children.
On April 18th, CFI will host our second "April Healthy Kids Day". This fun-filled day includes education for parents and both education and activities for the kids. There will be several different stations set up with different activities at each station including relay races, a boot camp style obstacle course, home safety education, basketball and a Jumperoo. The day will end with a fun run/walk for parents and children. All pre-registered kids will receive a free t-shirt-cut off for pre-registration is April 15.
Additional Summer CFI-sponsored activities include a "Pool Day" where students swim for free at the Lexington City Pool. This event will held in June. In July we will bring the UNK based "summer camp" to Lexington. This month-long camp will happen every morning 9 - 12 the entire month of July. We hope to attract children from Overton, Cozad and Elwood. It will be held at the middle school every weekday morning in July. These programs are Free and open to ALL students.
The monthly "Healthy workshops" are new to CFI this year. These workshops were modeled on a program from Creighton University in Omaha. They will be held on the last Thursday of each month throughout the school year. These workshops target the entire family. Kids are encouraged to play, make new friends and enjoy healthy, size appropriate snacks while parents receive information and share ideas about how to incorporate activities and healthy snack choices into everyday life. The goal is to give parents and kids the right tools to properly balance busy lives thereby creating a healthy, active lifestyle for our community's children and adults. Our first month was a huge success with >90 participants. Dr. Fran Acosta-Carlson shared information about BMI percentiles and how to read the "Healthy Report Cards" all children and parents received this year. This month, in response to feedback from our first meeting, we will be talking about how to get and keep the family moving. We will share 12 different ideas for outdoor activities for the family. We will also talk about developing fitness goals and the impact making small changes has creating healthy lifestyles.