Let’s Move! Outside – Omaha

September 26th, 2016 by Live Well Omaha Kids

During Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, Live Well Omaha Kids is spotlighting various organizations and programs which promote physical activity and healthy eating to youth. Today, Angela Eastlund, the Let’s Move! Outside Community Connections Coordinator for the YMCA OF GREATER OMAHA tells us about this new initiative.

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picture1Bright eyes, big smiles, and hands covered in dirt. Memories of my childhood hours spent outdoors in our backyard gardens with my parents filled my mind as I watched Omaha students, many of whom were planting flowers for the first time, enjoy feeling pride in the rain garden they improved.

With a warm, humid breeze brushing by and the sounds of a flock of geese taking flight overhead, a unique group of Omahans joined together to dig into building a love for nature in our community. Let’s Move! Outside, an initiative aimed at inviting, engaging, and educating urban community members to Play, Learn, Serve, and Work outdoors, launched on August 3rd, 2016 at Fontenelle Park. Let’s Move! Outside is a branch of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative, and is driven by a partnership between the Department of the Interior, the National Park Service, the YMCA, and AmeriCorps. Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, flew into Omaha to join in the celebration and helped Park Rangers, students, and community leaders plant pollinator gardens and hang bluebird and bat boxes in the park. At the launch, Secretary Jewell praised the efforts already being made in Omaha towards getting kids and families outdoors; saying, “We don’t pick every city for Let’s Move! Outside. We pick cities that already embrace the outdoors.”

letsmoveAs one of 51 cities taking part in Let’s Move! Outside, Omaha will serve as an example to other communities nationwide. While seeking to identify and celebrate all the ways Omaha is already utilizing public lands, the Let’s Move! Outside initiative also challenges us to partner together to grow these existing opportunities and encourage the creation of more. Created especially to serve as a liaison and community resource, my position as the AmeriCorps Community Connections Coordinator with Let’s Move! Outside allows me to support the initiative and its partners to ensure success in our goals to get more kids outdoors.

In an era where it’s more likely for a young student to have mastered navigating a smartphone than the art of creating a mud pie, there is a need for changing the ways we approach connecting upcoming generations with the value of outdoor public spaces. Let’s Move! Outside invites Omaha to join this national conversation, but also encourages us to determine our own goals for creating a healthier Omaha through use of local public lands.

At the Omaha Health Summit on September 9th, the National Park Service and the YMCA of Greater Omaha hosted an action lunch session, where community members were invited to join the conversation and create a plan of action for Let’s Move! Outside Omaha.

For more great opportunities to be a #Changemaker for our community, follow us on Facebook! Want more information? Contact Angela Eastlund aeastlund@metroymca.org or call at (402) 977-4326

We hope you make time to enjoy the outdoors today!

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