Kids are always welcome at the YMCA—whether it’s attending a Group Exercise class as a family, spending time in the family-friendly Fitness Center, or engaging in other scheduled activities.

In addition to the kid-focused amenities available at your local Y, we also use two initiatives throughout YMCA programs that help motivate children be more physically active, eat healthy—and have fun doing it:

  • Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards
  • Coordinated Approach to Children’s Health (CATCH) curriculum

HEPA standards

This set of guidelines focuses on nutrition and physical activity for kids in early childhood and afterschool programs—like Child Care and Preschool at the Y. The HEPA standards strive to:

  • Engage kids in at least one hour of physical activity a day
  • Offer water as the primary beverage, and fruits and veggies as options with meals and snacks
  • Limit screen time
  • Educate parents about healthy living behaviors to incorporate at home

CATCH curriculum

Used in classrooms, afterschool programs and summer programs for preschoolers to eighth graders, the basic CATCH messages are designed to promote physical activity and healthy food choices, plus engage families and communities. The CATCH curriculum includes:

  • Movement and physical activity
  • Hands-on snack preparation and gardening
  • Reduced screen time
  • Inclusivity and teamwork
  • Family fun nights