YMCA spends day promoting healthy kids

PARKERSBURG – The YMCA of Parkersburg opened its doors Saturday for the annual Healthy Kids Day free community event.

Healthy Kids Day is a national Y initiative to improve the health and well-being of children. Activities included fire truck tours, face painting and basketball.

“With this program, we hope to introduce families and children to the great things we have to offer,” said Linda Kern, fitness supervisor with the Y. “This year’s theme is ‘jump into summer’ and we hope to get kids ready for summer fun and activities.”

Kern said children in today’s society tend to spend more time sitting and playing video games during summer break from school.

“We hope to show them the great fun they can have running around, swimming and playing,” Kern said. “We want them to be excited about playing and exercising now so they can make it an important part of their life.”

For parents, Kern added, Healthy Kids Day will help parents begin thinking early about what their kids need to stay physically and intellectually active in the summer.

“We are here for the parents as well as the children,” she said.

While the games and face painting were inside the Y on Saturday, kids gathered outside to tour the Parkersburg Fire Department’s truck and try on their gear as well as a city police department cruiser and the Seatbelt Convincer supplied by DuPont.

Parkersburg resident Katie Christensen brought her children, niece and nephew to meet Parkersburg Patrolman R.L. Koher and honk the horn of his cruiser.

“When I was younger I remember getting scared of police officers and firefighters,” Christensen said. “It is good for the kids to know that cops and firefighters are good guys and can be approached.”

The Marietta Family YMCA also participated in Healthy Kids Day at Marietta Middle School in a bid to make parents aware of the problem of childhood obesity and inactivity. In front of the school, stations were set up for sponsors and vendors to offer information and activities.

At both facilities children were given a card to be checked off after they visited each vendor.