By Jana Jones
Farmers Market Manager
Have you heard of GoJoCo? Governor Bill Haslam began the ”Healthier Tennessee Communities” initiative in 2014 through the Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness with the vision of the entire state of Tennessee working together as citizens, employers, school systems, community organizations, health-care systems, and local government agencies toward a single goal – a Healthier Tennessee. In the summer of 2016, Angie Stout, Public Health Educator at Johnson County Health Department, invited over 30 community members to a meeting to determine interest in developing a working group to work toward reaching the goal to have Johnson County named as one of these “Healthier Tennessee Communities”. From that meeting a new wellness committee was formed and created the logo “GoJoCo, A Healthy Johnson County.” The committee designed a plan based on Healthier TN Communities criteria and began implementation of that plan in November 2016. A website was launched in the fall of 2017– GoJoCo.org – which was designed to be the go to place to find all of the activities offered in Johnson County, encouraging our community to move more, eat smarter, and enjoy a life free of tobacco products.
Out of this think tank GoJoCo Wellness Committee, the GoJoCo Kids Club was born. Beginning Saturday, May 5th and continuing every Saturday morning through October at Ralph Stout Park from 9am until 11:30, there will be a tent at the Farmers Market designated as the GoJoCo Kids tent. Parents will be able to bring their pre-school through elementary school aged children to the tent to participate in the new GoJoCo Kid’s Club.
The activities consist of a variety of exercise games including a type of Kids Ninja Warrior obstacle course where the Kids Club leader will chart each child to see how they improve each week they visit the GoJoCo Kids Club tent. Children MUST wear suitable shoes to participate. Tennis shoes or something similar are best, while flip flops or clogs would not be appropriate. A second Kids Club leader will be showing children how to make their own healthy snack and talk about the benefits of making healthy choices. Children will learn how to make fun snacks that look like flowers, trees, animals, and plants and try some foods they may never have tried before. Parents will be able to learn as well in order to help their child re-create these fun snacks at home. Children can participate in one or both activities. Each station will take approximately 5 to 8 minutes to complete.
At the end of October, if a child has participated at least 10 times during the summer, their name will be placed in a drawing to win a new age appropriate bicycle. Additional incentives are planned throughout the program. The GoJoCo Kids Club is sponsored by the GoJoCo Wellness Committee, the Johnson County UT/TSU Extension office, the Johnson County Diabetes Coalition, and the Johnson County Farmers Market. Volunteers are needed to staff the GoJoCo Kids Club each week. Interested high school students or adults may contact [email protected] To learn more about the Healthier TN Communities initiative visit www.healthiertn.com.