Tessi Mumbuluma breaks a board at the martial arts booth.

Tessi Mumbuluma breaks a board at the martial arts booth.

Healthy Communities Challenge Day keeps kids, families active as they head into summer

ARYSVILLE — The eighth year of Marysville's Healthy Communities Challenge Day at Allen Creek Elementary June 4 saw hundreds of attendees of all ages working up a sweat, and not just from the sweltering sun.

ARYSVILLE — The eighth year of Marysville’s Healthy Communities Challenge Day at Allen Creek Elementary June 4 saw hundreds of attendees of all ages working up a sweat, and not just from the sweltering sun.

Greg Erickson, director of athletics for the Marysville School District, again supervised elementary, middle and high school students as they completed the physical fitness challenge, running them through rounds of push-ups, sit-ups and step aerobics.

“As always, we’re just just stressing the need to be and stay fit, which is both a challenge and a choice,” said Erickson, who saw about 150 kids cycle through the course, some more than once. “This day is a great way for families to get connected to the community, identify health-related resources in the Marysville area and share a nice afternoon together.”

As summer vacation approaches, Erickson noted that staying fit can become a family routine, through simple steps such as walking the dog, parking farther away from the store when shopping to increase your steps for the day, and drinking plenty of water.

“And keep moving,” Erickson said.

John Paul Kunselman of the Marysville Youth Football League watched about 100 kids toss footballs and try out the tackle-sleds that Saturday. Not only did he hope to promote the league’s new equipment and partnership with Marysville Junior Cheerleading, he also wanted to let folks know about their annual “Powder Puff” game June 24 at 7 p.m. at Marysville-Pilchuck High School.

“All these moms have worked hard to raise money for our equipment and field costs,” Kunselman said. “Football is a family sport. Parents coach, boys and girls play, and siblings cheer-lead for the teams. Its a one-stop shop.”

Kunselman is impressed with how challenge day has grown.

“We’ve loved being part of it, year after year, and I’d encourage any youth program to be there next year,” Kunselman said. “It’s especially helpful when you’re new to the area, to get information on all healthy activities kids can get involved in.”

Marysville Youth football registration remains open until June 14 for ages 6-13, while Marysville Junior Cheerleading will be open until June 19.

Carlton Doup, headmaster of Kung Fu Northwest, watched kids break almost 300 boards, as he and his fellow instructors let families know about their summer camps. Doup said weekly character building themes are part of the camps.

“In addition to all our regular Kung Fu classes, games and activities, we’ll be teaching important life skills like confidence, compassion and responsibility,” he said.

Another new program is its free self-defense lessons for girls.

“Over the past twenty years, I’ve taught self-defense to hundreds of women,” Doup said. “One thing that always surprises them is that self-defense techniques are only a tiny fraction of what they need to stay safe and protect themselves in a violent encounter. It’s not the moves, but the knowledge that keeps you safe.”

Kung Fu Northwest also is offering free online lessons, including weekly videos via Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest, as well as quick tips on Instagram and Snapchat. And a live, low-cost, in-person class will be available this fall, in partnership with the city Parks and Recreation Department. For details, call 360-653-2820.

City recreation coordinator Andrea Kingsford guessed this year’s challenge day saw about 2,500 attendee. She touted the hands-on demonstration stage, where instructors led participants through martial arts, gymnastics, Zumba, hula hooping and even dance rounds of the Electric Slide and Macarena.

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