by OCSC’s Youth Programming Director Melissa Rimpici

In today’s crazy world, playtime is more important than ever.  Children grow up too fast.  Once they become adults, we tell them to slow down and enjoy life.  So stop! We all need to slow down and play more.

Find Time To Play
As children we play unaware of everything around us.  Here’s a secret…I have not changed as I’ve grown up.  I play a lot and enjoy being active.  Many of you may know me.  Perhaps I once taught your preschooler or strength trained your teenager or danced next to you in Zumba.  I am Melissa Rimpici, and I am a very lucky person.  As Youth Program Director at OCSC I have the opportunity to play on the job.  I love what I do, but my playtime is not just on the gymnastics floor, jumping with kids, I also love to work out and strength train.  It’s fun!

Body Awareness Is Important
Children need to be taught to slow down and be aware.  When I am coaching an athlete a main part of my goal is to get them to be more aware. Teaching children body awareness is not that easy.  A lot of athletes come to OCSC already excelling in a sport such as snowboarding, diving or skiing.  They are already highly motivated and they have come to OCSC for a reason: to progress and excel.  I ask them many questions encouraging them to actively think the process through and not just do.  If I am teaching a twist in the air, I ask:  How are we going to make a complete turn, 360%?  Or I’ll ask:  Turning faster or jumping higher, means using our muscles more.  Which muscles and when?

Nutrition Is Too
What you are eating at the right time fuels your workout, your muscle growth and injury prevention, and is necessary for everybody.
   Educating our children about proper nutrition is first encouraging them to make the right choices and then giving them the opportunity.  Having the right choices in the fridge, cupboard with an X-large fruit bowl on the counter is a step in the right direction.

So…whether your child is an artist, musician, techie or gamer, encourage them to be active and play.  Encourage all types of sports, or work out and play as a family.  OCSC has great membership rates for families or parents with children in Youth Programming!  Being able to sit and relax on the bleachers is great but taking the hour to get you moving is even better!  Remember….We are the #1 influence on our children.  Let’s encourage playtime and come to OCSC to play together!

Our Family’s Story
At five years old, my daughter’s natural talent and hard work motivated me!  She is a self-motivated, natural athlete, and a high level gymnast.  So I became a certified USAG Jr. Olympic Instructor.  I also have a 12 year old son who is a self-proclaimed techie and not an athlete having grown up in the gym and just not into sports.  But like almost 20% of our youth he is overweight so…he is now training with Mommy.  We are not on a diet.  We are training for a healthy long life.  On a regular basis we play racquetball or go paintballing or hike, but we move 3-4 times per week.  Recently after hearing an announcement at school for the wrestling team, he came home excited and wants to tryout!  Super exciting!!

How to Be A Role Model

  • Make time for play.  Find an activity you love and do it!
  • Set small goals to challenge yourself to do more…work out for one more song on your ipod!
  • Breathe.  During workouts, during hikes or family walks and remind your kids to do the same!
  • Make healthy food choices by reading labels and teach your kids about them too!
  • If you need to eat on the run, research healthier fast food menu choices WITH your kids so they learn too!

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