Feature Article - October 2003
Find a printable version here

Kidding Around

From fitness to fun, creating and marketing child-friendly and family programming

By Stacy St. Clair


Eileen Jacinth watched in disbelief as her oldest daughter began to gain weight.

As a die-hard exerciser and fitness enthusiast, Jacinth didn't understand how it could be happening. Hadn't she, by example, taught her child the importance of working out and leading a healthy lifestyle?

"I was completely going out of mind," Jacinth says. "I just couldn't believe it."

Alarmed by her daughter's weight gain, Jacinth went to a local gym and asked the owners to institute children's fitness classes. She offered to run the program, which would give kids a variety of exercise options, including yoga, Spinning and kickboxing.

"Remember, children don't want
quality time with their parents,
they want quantity time."

It would be an innovative program, unlike any offered in the area. But Jacinth was convinced her background as an elementary and secondary teacher, coupled with her experience as fitness instructor, would help her create successful classes.

Fortunately, the Fitness Incentive in Babylon Village, N.Y., decided to take a chance on the groundbreaking program. With a few weeks, it became evident the gamble would pay off.

Classes were full. Students were coming several times a week. There were immediate plans to expand the schedule.

"It has been absolutely incredible," Jacinth says. "It truly has exceeded all my expectations."


In creating a children's workout program, the Fitness Incentive filled a large void in the recreation industry. The need for youth fitness classes has grown exponentially in recent years as the public has become increasingly aware of the obesity epidemic among children.