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‘Camp ECFC’ offers activities for kids to promote good health – Herald

QUINCY — Four-year-old Morgan Hanlin worked her way through the obstacle course, even conquering the hardest part – jumping over a plank.

Once she’d figured out how, Morgan did it several more times, laughing with each jump.

Combining fun and fitness, along with a few teaching points for students and their families, was the goal of Family Fit Night, held Thursday at the Early Childhood and Family Center.

ECFC partners with nursing students from Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing and Health Sciences and John Wood Community College, and staff from the Medical Health Alliance to sponsor the annual event, with a theme of “Learn More About Good Health at Camp ECFC.”

“It is a lot of fun,” said Sharadan Parks, ECFC’s community resources coordinator. “They have a meal, wander around the building to different stations, get some good information and activities.”

Nursing students design and staff stations for families to visit on topics that include fire safety, dental hygiene, car seat safety and the importance of immunizations.

“Doctors help patients,” 4-year-old Averi Doellman said after giving a giant stuffed bear an immunization and getting a nurse’s cap to wear.

Averi and her little sister had fun trying all the activities, and their mom, Bridget King, said they were learning at the same time.

“It’s important for kids to be able to make healthier life choices, whether it comes to food or exercise, just so they can get on the right track as they grow up,” King said.

Six-year-old Matthew Tyler liked the obstacle course and the lessons about how to be healthy, one in particular: “Eat vegetables,” he said.

Sophie Downey, a junior nursing student at Blessing-Rieman, played catch with youngsters as a way to emphasize the importance of hand washing. After playing, the youngsters held their hands under a black light to see the “germs” from a special powder dusted on the ball, then learned how properly wash their hands.

“They come back and see if they got them all off or not,” nursing student Ashley McNamee said. “They get a bar of soap and a piece of candy. They can eat the candy, then wash their hands.”

But the night was more than just about health and fitness because it also brought families into the ECFC.

Kristin Hanlin, Morgan’s mom, said her daughter had been looking forward to the fitness night for a month or more.

“It gets her to spend time with her brother and sister. It’s usually all about them. Now it’s all about her,” Hanlin said.

“The more engaged families are, the more engaged students are. If parents think school is important, then kids will, too,” Parks said. “At this age, the kiddos are so excited when their parents are in the building. They can show off what they work on and how proud they are to be here.”

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