The vast number of available summer camps can be overwhelming. One way to narrow the pool is to focus on an interest be it art, religion or sports.
We caught up with Carmen Sognonvi, Owner and General Manager of Urban Martial Arts, to discuss the benefits of enrolling your child in a sports camp. Here is what she said:
Urban Martial Arts offer a sports camp for spring break and for the summer. Why sports? What does being active offer kids?
Being active is so critical for kids, and it’s something that kids are getting to do less of as time goes on. Recess is being cut at schools, many city kids don’t have outdoor space in their apartment buildings, so it’s challenging for parents to allow their kids to stay active.
How much exercise should kids be getting every day? Why?
The Center for Disease Control and Protection CDC recommends that children get at least 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day, including aerobic activity, muscle strengthening, and bone strengthening. That’s the beauty of karate classes: every single class incorporates all three forms of exercise.
How does plenty of exercise help kids develop mentally and physically?
Researchers have found that physical activity levels have been positively linked to cognitive function during development in school-aged children. Giving kids an outlet to move their bodies can actually help them academically by improving their memory and increasing their attention span.
What does exercise look like for young kids? Kids shouldn’t be lifting weights, right? Do they need to join a team sport or is running around the playground adequate?
Children don’t need to lift weights, but doing exercises that involve working against their own body weight is very important. There’s a reason we incorporate push-ups and sit-ups in an age-appropriate manner even in our classes for younger kids (aged 4 to 6). They help develop strength and coordination, so that as they grow up, they’re at somewhat of a physical advantage to other kids their age who are not used to this kind of exercise.
Because you are a martial arts studio can parents expect that your camp will be mostly focused on the martial arts? What other activities do you do? Would a child who hasn’t shown interest in the martial arts still enjoy summer camp at Urban Martial Arts?
While karate is of course the cornerstone of our camp, it’s not an intensive training camp where that’s all they’re doing all day long. We cross-train daily in other sports like basketball, soccer, track and field, and football, and every morning starts with a cardio warm-up that gets the aerobic activity rolling. At Urban Martial Arts we believe that martial arts is not just about kicking and punching, but also about developing character. That’s why every week of our summer camp focuses on a different character development concept: like courage, respect, and generosity. We reinforce the lessons on these themes with various activities like arts and crafts and drama skits so there truly is a little something for everyone in the camp.
You also run an after school martial arts program. Can you tell me about that?
Absolutely! Our transported karate after-school program includes free transportation from five different schools in our area (PS 217, PS 130, Brooklyn Dreams Charter School, PS 315, PS 152). Students receive karate and character development lessons, and work towards their goal of earning a black belt. Each day’s schedule also includes a large block of free time during which students can do homework and have a snack. Parents can pick up anytime before 6 pm. It’s great for families who are looking for an alternative to babysitting or daycare, and allows working families to have their evenings and weekends free to spend with their child.