Thursday, June 21, 2012

Children Encouraged to Get Moving

John Ferguson, fitness instructor at the Fauquier Health Wellness Center, faced a sea of brightly colored T-shirts and eager faces Tuesday afternoon when 150 children from kindergarten to fifth grade gathered in the gym at P.B. Smith to try their hand --and feet -- at Zumba. The children attend Fauquier Community Child Care’s summer camp.

John used simple steps, lively music and lots of energy to encourage the kids to move -- and that was the point.

Fauquier Health has entered into a partnership with FCCC, Piedmont Pediatrics, Old Town Athletic Club and the Piedmont Community Foundation to create a program called Let’s Get Moving. The program is being piloted at FCCC’s three summer camp locations.

Each location has a yoga and a Zumba session from Wellness Center instructors each week, and the teen camp also gets a lesson in Parisi Speed School through Old Town Athletics. (It helps kids move more effectively and therefore, more confidently.) In addition, Aren Dodge, Wellness Center dietitian, holds healthy eating classes on Fridays.

Each location also received an activities box with 400 ideas on how to get active. Old Town Athletics purchased two of the boxes and Fauquier Health purchased the third. Camp counselors are putting the boxes to good use. The equipment to play the games described in the boxes -- balls, jump ropes, hoops, scarves and parachutes -- was purchased with a $5,000 donation from Piedmont Pediatrics. $1,500 from the Piedmont Community Foundation is covering other program costs.

Elizabeth Henrickson, manager of Community Outreach, says that the health system wanted to do something to combat childhood obesity after learning that an estimated 22 percent of local children are overweight or obese. “We sought out local partners because this is a community issue. It’s been great. I heard that the boys were hesitant about yoga,claiming it was ‘just for wimps,’ until Denise (DeCarlo Yantz) challenged them with ‘Oh yeah? Try this pose!’ They loved it!”

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