Hundreds turn out for safety fair at Tulalip Boys & Girls Club

TULALIP — The Tulalip Boys & Girls Club’s safety fair and carnival offered kids fun and games with a purpose Aug. 26, as an estimated 300 attendees turned out in spite of dark skies and rainy weather that forced the event’s activities indoors.

“The Tulalip Boys & Girls Club is fantastic for our community,” said Tulalip Tribal Police Chief Jay Goss, who was joined by other members of the Tulalip Tribal Police Department in dispensing free gifts and information to the kids. “Their summer activities ensure that kids stay educated and engaged even when school is out. Our officers have never been treated with disrespect by any child here.”

Craig Poirot was among the Tulalip Bay firefighters who showed kids how their oxygen tanks and heat sensors help them fight fires.

“The masks and the lights can be scary for kids if they see them for the first time during a fire,” Poirot said. “If they’re already familiar with the gear, then it’s not as scary.”

Eric Spencer, managing librarian of the Marysville Library, passed out fliers on the library’s programs and supervised children as they did arts and crafts at his table in the Tulalip Boys & Girls Club gymnasium.

“Wherever members of the community gather, we want to be there and be a part of it,” Spencer said. “Our message to these kids is that we welcome them at the library. We hope they’ll recognize the library as a go-to source for information. We appreciate the invitation to this event and we’re happy to be here.”

Patrice Gates, fitness coordinator for the Tulalip Tribal Health Clinic, led children in brief rounds of side-stretches, toe-touches and Jumping Jacks.

“It teaches them that they can do exercise anywhere at any time,” Gates said. “Even a 15-second burst of activity is better than nothing at all.”

Gates thanked the Tulalip Boys & Girls Club for leasing equipment and providing gym space for her programs.

“They’re awesome,” Gates said. “They really care about the welfare of children, especially getting them fit.”

Karina Walter, principal investigator for the Healthy Heart Study that was attracting children to their tables with face-painting and Plinko, echoed Gates’ views.

“We want to help whole families maintain active lifestyles,” Walter said. “After you have children, it can be hard to keep up with physical fitness. We want people to take good care of their bodies and to pass those habits on for generations to come.”

Tulalip Tribal Youth Projects Coordinator Alison Bowen addressed a safety concern even closer to home for the Tulalip Boys & Girls Club. The safe walking path near the club that had previously been forecast to be complete by the time of the safety fair is now expected to begin construction nearly a week later, so Bowen had kids draw colorful maps of safe walking routes that they could take to school.

“This is very welcoming,” said Norene Warbus, who had her son and two daughters in tow the day of the fair during their first visit to the Tulalip Boys & Girls Club. “It’s a nice building and I’m eager to find out about their after-school programs.”

“I like that my grandkids are in a nice, fun, safe place where they can run around and I don’t have to be concerned,” Jene Yon said. Granddaughters Emily Bennett, 8, and Nicole Courtney, 17, both enjoyed the fair’s activities, from the face-painting to the bouncy houses.

“I like that everyone can come together here,” Courtney said.

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