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At Chambersburg YMCA, kids, parents get the skinny on healthy choices

April 14, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- Stevie Updegraff, 7, had a complaint about the Healthy Kids Day event held Sunday afternoon at the Chambersburg Memorial YMCA.

The boy looked exasperated as he hoisted up his yellow bag of giveaways to make a point.

"I've got too much in here," Stevie said.

Children left Healthy Kids Day not only with pencils and brochures, but also T-shirts, balloon animals, ribbons, crafts and painted faces.

Chambersburg was one of about 1,700 YMCAs across the country to host Healthy Kids Days recently to promote health in body, mind and spirit. While most YMCAs held Healthy Kids Day on Saturday, organizers in Chambersburg felt that competing youth activities might limit turnout and opted to hold their sixth annual one on Sunday.

"It's been a huge turnout," April Wood said. "We'll definitely call it a success."

Wood, community outreach and teen director, said a revised layout and schedule resulted in fewer lines for the approximately 500 children expected to attend.

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"The national theme is 'Put Play in Your Day,'" Wood said.

Dave Matthews, the Y's executive director, pointed to the Phantom Shadows inflatable games as a major draw to get children through the doors.

"The kids are here to ride the inflatables, and we use that as an attraction. We also then use (the event) as a chance for education," Matthews said.

Vendors provided parents with information covering a variety of topics like healthy eating and autism.

"We just try to think of area organizations that are out there to benefit kids," Wood said.

Peter Bellows, 9, of Fayetteville, Pa., wore a medal won when he placed first in the 100-yard dash at nearby Chambersburg Area Senior High School. His forehead remained damp with sweat afterward.

Peter, who also ran the 1K race, said it was "really good to be here for fitness and fun."

"You learn about all sorts of things and do some fun things. It's great for kids," Peter said.

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