Autumn is here and Licking County Family YMCA staff members are working on events for Halloween.

These events are some of the many family-friendly activities the Y offers throughout the year.

The Y’s special events go beyond simply a fun night out: They often are free and open to the community, with opportunities for children to interact with positive role models outside of their parents and activities to strengthen families through fun, laughter and time to bond.

October is Family Health Month, and although exercise, childhood obesity and resources for seniors are serious and valuable conversations, we miss focusing on some of the benefits that come from simply spending time having fun together.

Throughout the year, the Licking County Family YMCA in Newark and the Western Branch in Pataskala schedule a number of events, including those around Halloween, Healthy Kids Day, a father-daughter dance, a mother-son event and the Bunny Brunch. We have a blast planning and implementing these events, but we also are motivated by the impact these events have on the families who attend.

The Y mission focuses on putting Christian principles into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all.

This October, I encourage you to not only focus on the physical health of your family, but also to strengthen family members' spirits and minds.

Make down time, laugh together, play together without concern for score or skill and remember that sometimes the teaching moment is the love of family. Although there can be no questioning the importance of making sure our families are cared for, nothing can be more impactful then spending time together.

In short, use Family Health Month to celebrate and strengthen your family.

To learn more about the Licking County Family YMCA's programs, events and how we can help your family lead a healthier lifestyle, contact your local branch in Newark at 740-345-9622 or in Pataskala at 740-964-6522.

Dana Moore is the Y Western Branch director and handles marketing and communications for the Licking County Family YMCA. Email her at The Y branches are at 470 W. Church St. in Newark and 355 W. Broad St. in Pataskala.