(Moncton, September 25, 2017) – The YMCA of Greater Moncton is once again offering free Grade 5 membership in hopes of helping local youth develop healthy lifestyles.

“When we started the free Grade 5 membership program in 2013, the idea was to get local youth moving and inspired to maintain an active, healthy lifestyle,” says the local Y’s CEO Zane Korytko. “We’ve had lots of great feedback from kids and parents over the years and are really pleased to offer the program again."

The free ‘Get Active!’ memberships – available starting Oct. 1, 2017 until June 19, 2018 –  give Grade 5 students access to swim lessons at the YMCA, 30 War Veterans Ave., as well as to some free group exercise classes and other activities.

“Physical activity is an important part of healthy living at any age and especially for our youth,” says Korytko. “Children who aren't active enough are at a higher risk of developing chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other cardiovascular illnesses. We need to get our kids moving and continuing to do so throughout their lives.”

Federal guidelines say children and teenagers should participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day but the vast majority don’t reach that target, he says.

“We know that obesity rates among children and youth in Canada have nearly tripled in the last 30 years,” says Korytko. “Getting kids active should be a priority for everyone and we’re hoping our free Grade 5 membership helps with that goal.”

As of Oct. 1, Grade 5 students must bring a school ID card or report card and a parent/guardian to the Y to sign up for a Grade 5 ‘Get Active!’ membership. Parents complete membership paperwork and sign a registration form. Students can use their memberships immediately.

The YMCA of Greater Moncton is a registered charitable organization dedicated to building healthy communities. It is committed to nurturing the potential of children, youth and families, promoting healthy living and fostering social responsibility within the community. Its focus on inclusiveness and accessibility means it serves people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities through all stages of life.