“Wherever you’re from and whatever resources you have, with dedication and time, you can make it happen," says Lydia Jacoby, Olympic gold and silver medalist in swimming the 100 Meter and the 400 Meter Women’s Medley.
If there is anything worthy of learning from these words of Alaska’s first Olympic swimming champion, it is that a small-town girl or boy, in the right circumstances with the support of parents, friends, teachers, counselors, coaches, neighbors, and siblings - can become an Olympic champion. It really does take a village, but it also takes the drive, ambition, and talent of a dedicated athlete. Athletes are not always born talented, there may be an inherent ability, but without the supports of the community, parents, and school along with the presence of appropriate facilities, such talent may go unrecognized, let alone undeveloped.
With school starting, it becomes all the more important not just for the kids, but for the “village” or villagers to also become active. Why? The whirlwind of activities during the school year tends to consume a good deal of parents’ time running hither, thither, and yon for the sake of the kids. Yet studies now show that parents, and most specifically moms who exercise, will more than likely have children who become active. Conversely, “the less physically active a mother is, the more likely her child will be sedentary early in life, according to a new paper published March 24 in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.” Furthermore, mothers tend to have a greater influence on children’s health habits than fathers do. While many mothers fail to take the time for themselves to get the exercise they need (mostly because they are consumed with their own children’s activities,) they do both themselves AND their children a disservice. The Mayo Clinic has noted that “…mothers serve as ambassadors for the health and wellness of their family, especially their youngest children.”
Many of the offerings at The Alaska Club are appropriate for busy working parents with diverse schedules. Parents can get in a workout before their day starts in the cardio or weight room, in a yoga class, or pool to supercharge their day! The childcare center can accommodate parents’ needs any time they choose to work out. Today at The Alaska Club pool, I proudly watched a grandmother teach her eight-year-old granddaughter various techniques in swimming. Open swim sessions are a great time for parents and children to engage in healthy activities together, or parents can come work out and/or take an exercise class in between shuttling kids to various school sports activities. There is also the Family Fun Night from 4 PM to 7 PM at most locations, where one or both parents can show up with their kids for crafts, games, and sports. Swimming lessons are held every day of the week (excluding holidays) for all ages, a win-win for parents who want to get their kids active AND work out themselves. Private tennis lessons can also be had at The Alaska Club for your child.
Even though it seems daunting to parents to run their hurdles of getting kids to all their respective sports and activities during the school year, The Alaska Club takes parents' needs into consideration.
If you haven't been to The Alaska Club in a while, stop in and take a tour and see for yourself all of the offerings and programs available. Then, consider being part of “our village."
Children of active parents will live out patterns set and exemplified by their parents. Retaining good health and fitness is a lifelong gift a parent can give to their child and themselves.