Making healthy living fun for all

MARYSVILLE — Chill winds and drizzling rain couldn’t keep kids away from Third Street or the Marysville YMCA’s healthy living events.

The Marysville Downtown Merchants Association and the Allen Creek Community Church jointly sponsored Third Street’s annual Fit-Tastic Easter Egg Hunt on April 16, the same day that the Marysville Y drew hundreds of attendees for its Healthy Kids Day.

The wee ones’ Easter egg hunts started promptly at noon in the cordoned-off grass area in front of the bandstand, in the parking lot of the Carabinieri Bar espresso stand, but the Fit-Tastic Easter egg hunt for the older kids, for which the overall event is named, kicked off half an hour early.

“We had about 200 kids attend this year’s event, not including their families,” said Twila Crain, Next Gen director for the Allen Creek Community Church. “Because it was raining and so many folks showed up at 11 a.m., we started the fitness course ahead of schedule.”

While the small children in the wee ones area were guided toward eggs on the grass by their parents, the slightly older boys and girls who went through the fitness course had to skip across hopscotch squares, run through tires, walk along a low balance beam, clear hurdles and jump-rope to the finish line to earn their plastic eggs.

Shaley Killian, 10, went with her family and her “Big Sister,” Melissa McIntosh, to the Fit-Tastic Easter Egg Hunt for the first time this year.

“The people here are nice,” Killian said.

“There’s a lot of people here,” McIntosh said. “It’s good community involvement, and I love the band.”

Fellow first-timers Charles Cohee and his son Harley, 2, heard about the event through their church.

“It’s pretty cool that the kids can experience new things through this,” Cohee said.

Karen Samuels’ children are aged 7, 8 and 9, and while they enjoyed the activities, she appreciated that the church’s story tent also taught them the history of Easter.

According to Crain, the annual event was inspired by the city of Marysville starting its Healthy Communities Challenge Day.

“We wondered how we could make our course different, beyond just a free-for-all to grab a bunch of eggs,” Crain said. “As a church, we were looking for a fun way to give back to the community.”

Meanwhile, over at the Y, the Rotary Club of Marysville provided its miniature train for families to ride on, while Marysville firefighters let kids climb on one of their engines. More importantly, the Y’s gymnasium hosted a variety of informational and interactive avenues to help families overcome obstacles toward leading healthier lives, by learning how to become more physically active on a day-to-day basis.

“It’s great that this community is so united in addressing youth health issues,” said Reeshemah Davis, executive director of the Marysville Y. “It’s great to see kids being active. You should be aiming for 30 minutes of play every day.”

Sharilyn Lippman and her daughter Jadelin, 10, have been coming from Lake Stevens to the Marysville Y for more than half a dozen years for its Healthy Kids Day.

“We’re faithful fans,” Sharilyn Lippman said. “We believe in this event’s promotion of good health.”

“My brothers like the fast-pitch part,” Jadelin Lippman said, before laughing, “and so do I.”

“I love that the games get them all excited,” said Gwendo Grant, who brought her eight grandchildren to this year’s Healthy Kids Day. “It’s a learning experience for them. Plus, they can meet their friends here.”

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