Elementary students, families getting active

MORRISONVILLE - When it comes to finding ways to get kids and their families more physically active, Morrisonville Elementary School will do whatever it takes.

The school hosted a two-hour event March 6 that showcased various forms of exercise children and their families could do together, including yoga, pilates, martial arts and even belly dancing.

"I really wanted us to do something that was informative, yet fun," said Shelley A. Vachon, organizer of the event and president of the school's family-school organization.

After researching on-line what other schools and family-school organizations were doing across the country, Vachon said hosting a night of workshops and activities seemed to be the way to go.

Apparently it paid off. Approximately 300 people turned out for the event, far exceeding Vachon's expectations, she said.

"I was very happy about the turnout. I couldn't believe it," said Vachon.

In addition to traditional forms of exercise, students and their families were introduced to forms of Middle Eastern dance and zumba, a fitness program inspired by Latin dance. The demonstrations, which encouraged participation from audience members, were coupled with blood pressure screenings and informative displays from organizations like Cornell Cooperative Extension and Hannaford Supermarkets.

"We wanted to get something that appealed to all different tastes. I guess it worked," Vachon said with a laugh.

Physical education teacher Ryan LaTulip said he was excited about the event because families had fun, not realizing how good a workout they were getting at the same time when participating.

"It's nice because this kind of event exposes people to different forms of exercise they might not otherwise be exposed to outside of school," said LaTulip. "I think it's wonderful to see parents and teachers spreading the word about being healthy and physically fit."

"I think it's a great idea to get kids out, especially during the winter," added Christine Myers, a parent of three young children from Morrisonville. "They have a lot of pent up energy and this is a nice, positive way for them to get it out and have a lot of fun."

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