Healthy Family Expo engages adults, children to think about body, health and wellness

August 17, 2013|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI |
  • Madison Matta, 11, won first place in her age group at the NFL Punt, Pass & Kick event Saturday at the Fort Ritchie Community Center in Cascade. She advanced to the sectionals in Westminster, Md.
By Yvette May /Staff Photographer

CASCADE, Md. — A young girl poked at a small pink model of a brain on the eraser end of her pencil.

She had picked it up at a vendor table Saturday at the Healthy Family Expo at the Fort Ritchie Community Center in Cascade.

“Is this the color of my brain?” she asked her mother.

It was a sign to Bev Coyle, the community center’s public relations manager, that things were going as planned — that both adults and children were engaged in thinking about their bodies, their health and their wellness.

Several years ago, Coyle said, the center hosted a “boring” health fair. Response wasn’t what she had hoped. People in the community didn’t seem to have much interest.

“We decided to change it, to cater to families and health of all the family members,” she said.

One added element meant to attract children this year was the Punt, Pass & Kick event, a grass-roots National Football League initiative for boys and girls ages 6 to 15 that teaches football fundamentals. Top finishers in the competition will advance to a sectional championship. The top four scorers from the pool of sectional champions will advance to the Baltimore Ravens team championship to be held at one of the Ravens games.

Punt, Pass & Kick winners were Garrett Worth, Joe Leisinger, Brady Bigler, Devin Bailey, Alex Black and Madison Matta.

Bev Coyle’s daughter, Bethany Coyle, 23, of Cascade led a group of about 30 people in a hip-hop demonstration. She usually teaches children, but Saturday, their parents joined in. It was a welcome surprise, she said, as she typically teaches a crowd, but attendance had dwindled during the summer months.

“We are kind of hidden in the cave of the mountains until we have these events. Then, people come out and see what we are all about,” Bethany Coyle said.

Students from Kaplan University at Hagerstown’s medical-assisting program provided blood-pressure checks and information regarding diabetes and cholesterol management. Other providers offered hearing screening, free massages and reflexology.

Emergency vehicles, including a police car, an ambulance and a firetruck, as well as a Life Net 81 helicopter were parked on the lawn for display.

Professional hula-hoop performer Sue Kemp of Cascade provided demonstrations. 

“There are so many benefits to getting our local people out to this great fitness center right here on top of the mountain,” Kemp said. “We are keeping our mountain people fit. That’s what we are doing.”

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