Washington’s Kids Need More Access To Healthy Movement/Open Gyms
What once was old, is new again.
(Not a quote attributed to Michael Jordon.)
A drive to the hoop. past one defender, stopped by another, the ball passed out to the corner where the open shooter drains the three!
Basket scored! Midnight basketball, at its peak in the late 80s and early 90s was intended to get local kids off the streets while other social programs endured cutbacks.
It seems to be making a comeback.
In Long Beach, CA the program reaches youth from 17 to 25 years, and includes six teams with about 12 to 14 players each. There are two sessions per year, for fall and spring. Youth are not required to be in school, but they are trying to lead them into college or trade school.
Well, if it's good enough for California, it MUST be good enough for Washington State!
Task Force says Hey Kids, Get Moving
A task force commissioned by the Washington State Legislature is recommending increased sharing of school and community athletic facilities as a way to increase physical activity for youth, especially those underserved.
A new report shows that before the pandemic, only about 24 percent of Washington kids in sixth through twelfth grades were getting an hour of physical activity daily. (the CDC recommended amount) The national average is a dismal 28%. The problem is worse for the youth of color, girls, those from lower-income families, immigrant youth, and those with physical disabilities.
Access To Movement For Equity
Gov. Jay Inslee:
Kids who don’t have those opportunities are more likely to live shorter lives with greater health care costs and fewer chances to succeed. We must look for innovative ways to get more kids to exercise and to get the most out of our existing facilities.
Most schools in the state have shared-use agreements but community user groups often find it difficult to access schools, which has created broad, pent-up demand for access to spaces for recreation
The legislature's task force recommends
- Establish 1) a policy that designates schools as community hubs or civic centers; 2) a model policy supportive of schools as community hubs 3) a policy that offers financial incentives to school districts
- Create a communications campaign to help school leaders and policymakers understand that recognizing schools as community assets and connecting them to community needs will help pass bonds and levies.
- Fund four pilot shared-use projects.
- Change state grant criteria and review processes to embed shared-use and equitable facility access.
- Use the newly created Athletic Fields and Facilities Inventory as a planning tool to provide information on local assets and inform needs.
- Fund a statewide study to explore the patterns associated with declines and inequitable gaps in youth physical activity a
You can find the task force’s report on the State Recreation and Conservation Office’s website.