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Active kids can be healthy kids at Chambersburg YMCA

April 16, 2007|by KATE S. ALEXANDER

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Sunday might be considered a day of rest, but hundreds of children spent the afternoon bouncing, jumping, running, stretching, swimming and working nearly every muscle in their bodies at the Chambersburg Memorial YMCA's fifth annual Healthy Kids Day.

Michele Sheppard, assistant executive director of the YMCA, said the annual event is part of the national initiative to "Activate America."

Sheppard said the event focuses on physical fitness and good eating habits.

To promote wellness, children were given a passport on arrival and asked to participate in a variety of athletic demonstrations and games, talk to vendors, make crafts with their parents and even learn about healthy snacks.

Those who filled their passport were given a T-shirt.

"Many of the kids sit all day and don't get the recommended hour of physical activity," Sheppard said. "It is sad they are only told to get one hour each day."

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While the government recommends only an hour of activity, the YMCA gave children three hours Sunday to burn tons of energy.

Unlike the last four Healthy Kids Days, Sheppard said the 10-member committee designed this year to be more interactive for children and parents.

"When a child sits and interacts, they build a relationship," she said. "In the past, families could walk through, pick up some free stuff and leave."

About 12 vendors set up tables to provide information on everything from healthy teeth and fire safety to games and inflatable moonbounces.

With so much to offer, Sheppard said the Healthy Kids Day at Chambersburg YMCA is used by the organization as an example for other YMCAs.

"This was a great day. I got really hot and sweaty," said Michael Provard, 10, of Chambersburg.

"It was pretty good," said Michael's friend, Raymond Barry, 10, of Chambersburg.

Bounding out of an inflatable moonbounce, one small boy reached up to wipe sweat from his forehead and summed up the day.

"Oh man, I feel good," he said.

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