YMCA (2)

By Matt Helm


BELVIDERE ─ The Belvidere Family YMCA held the 10th Annual Boone County Children’s Health Fair on Sunday, May 1 from noon to 2 p.m.

The event was sponsored by Alpine Bank, SwedishAmerican Medical Center, and the Cosmopolitan Club of Belvidere.

“The Health Fair exists to get families to start thinking about wellness in their lives,” Jennifer Jacky, Chief Executive Officer at the Belvidere Family YMCA, said. “It’s become a community tradition. We want to get families together to learn about the healthy choices that are out there.”

With Cinco de Mayo just around the corner, the Health Fair was “fiesta” themed and kids could take pictures with sombreros, fake mustaches, and blow-up cacti and piñatas.

Plus, the first 150 kids through the door received a free t-shirt.

“It’s a one stop shop to let families know about the different programs and agencies available to them,” Jacky said.

YMCA (3)The Health Fair had 12 informational booths, including Children’s Home and Aid and Child and Family Connections.

“Our program helps children under the age of three who have developmental delays,” Lynne Riley, a Child and Family Connections representative, said. “We just want the people of Boone County to know we exist. I know there are going to be kids at an event like this and if we can help them the earlier the better, it makes a huge difference for the child and for the community in general.”

The YMCA also had plenty of activities available for the kids to enjoy, including Bob the Balloon man, obstacle courses, carnival games, crafts, an Imagination Playground full of foam tinker toys, and a fire truck and an ambulance to explore.

“My son went to a station on bicycle safety where he learned the importance of wearing a helmet when riding his bike,” Gaby Nunez-Reagan said. “He’s very energetic so he loves all of the games the Health Fair has.”

The YMCA emphasized healthy eating habits with a food craft and by giving away organic strawberry toothpaste.

“We want to promote the fact that healthy eating and physical fitness don’t have to be boring,” Jacky said. “We have a healthy food craft which is a fruit snake made out of sliced up bananas and strawberries with grape eyes. It’s fun activities which can really make a difference in children’s health.”

The Belvidere YMCA promises the “Best Summer Ever” with their 2016 Y Kids Camp, which provides daily arts and crafts, gym and outdoor games, swimming, weekly field trips and team building activities. Registration is open now.

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