YMCA: New traditions for a meaningful Thanksgiving season

By Christine Rivers - Program Coordinator, Regional Community YMCA Family Center
Putnam - posted Mon., Nov. 18, 2013
- Contributed Photo

Thanksgiving. For most of us, it's an opportunity to spend a long holiday weekend with friends and family... and food and football! The last thing anyone wants to think about is work, but this Thanksgiving, I'm asking you to bring some of my work home to your family. Wait! Don't throw down that newspaper!

Everyday at the Y, the work we do is inspired by three pillars that lead us to serve our communities through Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility. While you and your family are giving thanks for the blessings in your life, consider incorporating new traditions to your repertoire to help make your family and your community stronger.

I challenge you to add to this list of what you can do to place some extra emphasis on the giving part of the holiday this year.

Youth Development: Don't let Thanksgiving Day pass without encouraging your children to be responsible family members. Youth development begins at home; Traditional Thanksgiving tasks of helping to prepare dinner, clean and serve others are skills that will carry forward for a lifetime. Have youth development to spare? Between the parade and football, think about how you can help kids in your community through volunteer coaching, tutoring or mentoring.

Healthy Living: Set a good example and head outside to play some football instead of just watching it on TV. Take a family walk around your neighborhood or local park to burn off some of those turkey dinner calories. Better yet, update a few classic recipes with lighter choices.

Social Responsibility: If 2013 has been a year that's found your family is on the receiving end of charitable giving, be thankful for those who have given, and have hope for a more prosperous 2014. If prosperity has found its way to your door this year, find a way to use your prosperity to help lift up those in need. Either way, volunteering makes our community strong and doesn't cost a thing.

What will you be doing this Thanksgiving to strengthen your family and your community? Share you ideas on our Regional Community YMCA Family Center Facebook page.

May blessings find their way to you and yours this Thanksgiving season.

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