W2W is an energetic program designed to introduce sports activities to school-aged children, kindergarten through 6th grade. It is intended to encourage participation in any sport for fun, fitness, or competition – with an overall goal of combating childhood obesity. W2W provides an introduction to various sports activities such as bicycling, swimming, and running so that each child can begin to maintain sports activities as a lifelong endeavor.
W2W is operated through the Meadville Family YMCA, a non-profit organization aimed at building healthy people through fitness and activities. Getting involved is easy…just click the “How to Help” button above and find out how you can become a W2W partner!
To encourage participation in any sport for fun, fitness, or competition in order to combat childhood obesity.
- To utilize community resources and talents in a collaborative effort, encouraging an atmosphere of healthy youth development.
To provide an introduction to various sports available to youth including but not limited to cycling, swimming, diving, track and field,
- lacrosse, basketball, baseball, football, weightlifting, skiing, boxing, equestrian, rugby, rowing, etc.
- To enable a nonprofit organization in partnering with local sports teams and sports participants to take further steps toward
healthier living, thereby combating childhood obesity.
- To hold weekly programs at the Meadville Family YMCA’s After-School Program sites during the school year in an effort to reach approximately 200 children annually.
- To expand into the elementary schools as the program gains notoriety.
- To write a curriculum and publish it so other communities can utilize this as a model in their areas.
W2W4Life began as a 12-week bicycling program for children ages 6 through 12. Originally known as Wheels to Wellness, the program operated as a badge-earning offering for the Girl Scouts. In its first pilot year in 2007, the program gained interest but lacked consistent participation over the 12-week period. For the second year, the program was revamped to become a 5-session program to be held over a 2-hour time period. Because of the major modifications necessary, the 2008 program was unveiled as a second pilot through the Girl Scouts with 3 scheduled tests. The first session attracted 15 girls, the second had 38 girls, and the third brought in 68 children – all of them between the ages of 7 and 12.
A program pretest/posttest revealed that the 85% of the children gained significant knowledge of bicycling and bicycling safety with approximately 90% of the participants stating their interest in increasing their cycling activity during the year. With the tremendous amount of interest in the program as well as the positive test results, the program’s stakeholders felt that Wheels to Wellness should relocate in order to reach both boys and girls. In 2009, following the two successful pilot tests, the program rolled out in full in January, operating weekly as part of the Meadville Family YMCA’s After-School Program. In order to broaden the scope of the sporting activities, the Wheels to Wellness program, which maintained the moniker W2W, became Way to Win for Life…W2W4Life!