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Kids get busy and active at Healthy Kids Day

April 10, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The duo of 10-year-olds Deborah Featherly and Alyssa Singley was in the jaws of a shark Sunday afternoon.

"You go really fast," Alyssa said, glancing at the inflatable slide that propelled youngsters through the shark's belly and out its mouth.

Deborah said she had been down the slide two times, and as she literally hopped with excitement, said it was "soon going to be three."

The girls were two of hundreds, if not thousands, of participants in the third Healthy Kids Day at the Chambersburg YMCA, which featured crafts, inflatable bouncing games, a 1K run/walk, McGruff the Crime Dog and puppet shows.

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"This is our best turnout so far," said Carla Christian, senior youth director with the Chambersburg YMCA.

Event organizers weren't sure how to count the number of visitors, with the line stretching around the building and down a back street at the festivities' start. Two hundred free T-shirts were distributed within minutes, Christian said.

"All the toothbrushes were gone in like 45 minutes, and I had hundreds," said Vanessa McDowell, at an exhibit from Keystone Health Center.

Christian recognized people from the Waynesboro, Pa., and Mercersburg, Pa., areas making their way around the several rooms of activities.

"Every year, we get really positive feedback," she said. "It's a great community day."

New this year was the 1K run/walk, which meant extra credit in physical education classes for many of the Chambersburg Area School District children.

The 1K was added in cooperation with the physical education teachers in a push to get children moving, according to Christian.

Healthy Kids Days were held at both the Chambersburg and Waynesboro YMCAs this weekend in conjunction with National Public Health Week.

Kelly Christman, 13, carried her 5-year-old sister, Katelyn, on her back for half of the walk. Each girl, like all the young runners and walkers, received a medal and ribbon.

Tristan Pilgrim, 8, enjoyed the 1K outside, while younger brother Kohl, 4, and parents, Shawn and Cindy, waited in line for information and giveaways from vendors like the 4-H Club, Summit Health and Franklin County Children and Youth.

"The education for us starts very, very early," McDowell said.

Before joining the line for vendors, Kohl played in an oversized treehouse at the YMCA he has visited regularly for three years.

"He enjoys seeing his friends and swimming," Cindy Pilgrim said.

YMCA member Nicole Hewitt of Chambersburg brought two youngsters with her to the event, which had a better turnout than what she expected.

"The Y did a really good job with the publicity," Hewitt said, adding that the boys enjoyed the inflatable games.

"They're just amazed with the size," Hewitt said.

Many of the children darted from one inflatable game to another as laughter emanated from the giant shark, Candy Land, and Scooby-Doo and Dora the Explorer adventure worlds.

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