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Thousands attend fifth annual event focused on healthy lifestyles, getting active | SLIDESHOW

MARYSVILLE — The fifth annual Healthy Communities Challenge Day at Allen Creek Elementary on Saturday, June 1, was the event’s “biggest year yet,” according to city of Marysville Parks and Recreation Director Jim Ballew.

“We had more than a couple of thousand attendees and at least 85 vendors,” Ballew said. “And again, we enjoyed perfect weather for the day.”

Ballew himself took part in the X8 Interactive Drumming exhibition, and deemed the Hot Dog USA Jump Rope Team a definite draw for the day’s crowds.

“Participatory activities attract large audiences, so we’ll be focusing more on those next year,” Ballew said.

The Get Movin’ campaign unloaded nearly all of their 1,000 T-shirts during the four-hour event, which Marysville YMCA volunteer Rick Lawson saw as evidence of how entrenched the Healthy Communities Challenge Day has become in the Marysville community.

“People are a lot more in tune with getting healthy than they used to be,” Lawson said. “This event gets bigger every year.”

Greg Erickson, athletic director for the Marysville School District, was again supervising groups of elementary, middle and high school students as they completed the district’s physical fitness challenge, running them through rounds of push-ups, sit-ups and step aerobics.

“They select which levels they want to perform at, and are rewarded by having their names written down on our boards,” said Erickson, who estimated that more than 130 Marysville students had tackled the physical fitness challenge. “Our philosophy is that any type of physical activity is awesome.”

John Paul Kunselman and Kevin Gallo of the Marysville Youth Football League watched close to 200 kids toss footballs and try out the tackle-sleds at Allen Creek Elementary that Saturday.

“Some kids who are heavier aren’t embraced by all sports, but there’s a place for every size and shape of kid in football,” Kunselman said. “When they show up, they might not be in the best of shape, but we’ll work with them, to help them develop discipline.”

“It teaches them responsibility and structure,” Gallo said. “You’ve got to eat good all week long before a game.”

While Dawn Mosteller, owner of Rising Stars Gymnastics in Marysville, supervised at least a hundred kids as they tumbled on her mats, Carlton Doup, the senior instructor at Kung Fu 4 Kids in Marysville, estimated that the kids who stopped by his booth broke as many as 300 wooden boards.

“Gymnastics is great for physical fitness even if you don’t go competitive with it,” Mosteller said. “A lot of folks think you have to compete if you do gymnastics, but it can be just a fun way to get fit without even realizing that you’re exercising. It builds a lot of self-confidence for kids, who love a challenge.”

“It’s awesome that a lot more people are getting involved in health and fitness,” Doup said. “Of course, it’s easy when this day makes it such a fun deal.”

“It’s hard to pick a favorite activity,” said Josiah Frank, a third-grader at Grace Academy. “I like that there’s new things every year we come. I enjoyed seeing the jump-ropers this year.”

“Any community event is great, but this one lets us see things that we might not find out about otherwise,” said Melaina Smith, who brought sons Montaeo, 4, and Kilean, 10. “Kilean is more into soccer, but Montaeo wants to play football very bad,” she laughed.

 

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