Can Children Help Change the Unhealthy Sweet Paradigm

Well boys and girls, it’s that time of year again when we’re faced with choosing how many fine extra curricular clubs and activities to support. High School Teams, Girl Scouts, Rodeo, Jumping Rope for Diabetes…. After years of buying kudos from kiddos I’ve finally developed a spine and some personal criteria for saying yes. For better or not, here it is:
– I must be approached (in person or phone) by the child selling  goods or services.
– If edible, goods must be ‘healthy’ (no high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, sugars as first series of ingredients, etc…)
– A high % if not all proceeds must support local efforts (and ideally local economy) as best as possible

I talk with 1000’s of parents and community members a year, I know I’m not alone. If kids want to sell more to folks like me, then I encourage them to share these criteria and others they think may be helpful, w/ their leaders, and encourage some sort of creative change to broaden their marketing efforts and income.

I understand there are some good lessons and ethics to be learned when children are expected to take this bold initiative to sell things to support their interests. But shouldn’t we as adults take the next step and make sure their efforts really support the bigger picture of their initiative and healthy childhood? Maybe it’s time to change this long engrained (and commercially laden) paradigm.

How about Farm to Scouts (supporting local bakeries and not mass manufactured corn syrup fortified cookies or popcorn). Chocolates for Cheers- selling local chocolates and mixes rather than low quality high calorie candy goods to support the Cheerleader squad. Raking for Racers- raking leaves to support athletic teams (and get in shape while doing it).

Do I sound like a scrooge…? There are groups that get it that I do support. It’s been a fun experiment and interesting feedback from kids and parents. I haven’t seen any community wide changes yet, but I continue to have hopes some entrepreneurial kiddos will run with a creative idea and rake it in big time for their sport or club.

Need a new uniform anyone?

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