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Health and safety are key components of Children's Wellness Day

May 02, 2007|by JENNIFER FITCH

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A chorus of "cool" and "awesome" echoed through the gymnasium when a dozen third-graders were asked Tuesday what they thought of Children's Wellness Days.

It was at the event, co-sponsored by Summit Health and Susquehanna Bank, that the children learned "to be safe and healthy and to not pick up guns if you see them," Kyle Chatfield said.

Wellness Days, which will host 30 schools, continue today and Thursday at the Falling Spring Presbyterian Church.

The 1,487 children expected to participate this year bring the grand total to almost 12,000 for the event's eight years, according to Nickie Fickel, community health coordinator with Summit Health.

"Wellness is a Rainbow" features eight stations covering topics like conflict management, tobacco, positive identity and safety. One hundred and five volunteers representing various organizations were expected each day.

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In the food and nutrition station, students also learned about the importance of washing hands. They were taught to sing "Happy Birthday" twice while washing.

"Your hands are not smooth," Ann Baker said. "They have nooks and crannies for germs."

An interactive experience called for students to plan healthy meals using the U.S. Department of Agriculture's MyPyramid, said Baker, who represented the Pennsylvania Health Department.

The goal was "emphasizing your body is fed with good fuel, but you also have to burn that off," she said.

Children in an adjacent classroom were learning about tools to handle anger, focusing on four steps - stop, think, options, plan (STOP).

Anger was compared to happiness to explain how it can be displayed, said Stacy McCole from WIN Victim Services.

"They're both emotions," McCole said. "It's how you handle them."

Police talked to the children about gun safety, which Kyle said involves telling a parent if you see a weapon on the ground.

For Beverly Henneberger's students, the day ended with the exercise station's obstacle course.

"The hardest thing would have to be jumping jacks," Miguel Henson said.

The children said the obstacle course and "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" game were the best parts of the day.

"You should come here," Brenden Fortenberry said.

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