Healthy Kids Day sets a course for successful summer

George Browning

Saturday is usually an active day at the Washington County Family YMCA, but there was an exceptional amount of energy Saturday, April 17 as the annual Healthy Kids Day took place.

“We were pleased with the event,” said Youth First Coordinator Chelsey Miller. “We knew the rain would keep some people away, but we had lots of happy families and tired kids and that’s the goal.”

Healthy Kids Day is a nationwide YMCA event, but it is not necessarily held on the same day. Miller said the goal is for Ys to hold the event before summer.

She said the idea is to get families and kids to think about moving and eating healthy as they head into their summer breaks.

“Not all Healthy Kids Days look the same,” she said. “Basically the YMCA wants to showcase a kickoff into a healthy summer. The idea is to give families in every individual community the knowledge of available options for summer day camps to resources that might be available.”

At Saturday’s events, vendor booths consisted of free vision screenings and things that kids might need when they are heading back to school in the fall, as well.

“We want our event to be a fun, party atmosphere for the kids, but also resources for things to do during the summer and what’s available in our community when school is out,” Miller said.

The YMCA met prior to the event with the Washington County Health Department to make sure COVID-19 requirements were met.

The event, safety measures and all, seemed as if the pandemic was a thing of the past.

“Our volunteers and our vendors wore masks and that was part of our safety plan,” Miller said. “We didn’t know what the event would look like post-COVID, but getting to see the faces and people wanting to get out and get back to a little normal, it was wonderful.”

There was an eclectic group of vendors including Nurse-Family Partnership, Pekin United Methodist Church, Ireland Home Based Services, Choices Life Resource Center, Hoosier Uplands Head Start & Early Head Start, Dr. Black Eye Associates, First Baptist Church, Mosier Family Chiropractic.

Miller said there were also 14 YMCA volunteers who ran booths organized and set-up by the Washington County YMCA.

“Our number of vendor booths was down a little this year,” Miller said. “Part of that was COVID, because there are businesses and organizations who haven’t cleared their people to go out yet. We were still happy with the people who did come. We try to get a nice mix. Setting up is free, the only thing we ask is they do a giveaway or do an activity with the families and kids. Churches for example promote their VBS events and Choices promotes their events and things like that.”

The event wasn’t all about the vendors, there was also a lot of fun. One of the most popular rooms was the Nerf wars.

Miller said they had that a few years ago and it was so popular it has become a mainstay.

“That’s a perfect example of what we do each year,” Miller said. “We try some things and they don’t work and we scrap them and then other things, we do, like the Nerf wars and they are popular and they stick.”


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