MARYSVILLE – From scaling a climbing wall and striking a yoga pose to walking with YMCA staff and leaving with starter seeds from the local farmers market, Healthy Communities Challenge Day got residents in the fitness mood before summer arrives.
The event at Allen Creek Elementary School last Saturday celebrated its 10th anniversary connecting residents with dozens of health and fitness organizations committed to helping them get on a path to healthier living.
“From our standpoint, with our emphasis around healthy communities, this event is really important because it provides a lot of options to people, everything from youth sports to healthy nutrition, and all kinds of things,” Mayor Jon Nehring said.
City officials figure 2,000 people stopped by, while 78 vendors provided a healthy mix of fitness, nutrition and public education, many of them regular participants since the event launched in 2008.
City Recreation coordinator Andrea Kingsford said there were some new vendors. “They have amazing activities, lots to do and really great ways to engage the community. “
The key to the event’s success lies with having vendors incorporate at least one hands-on interactive component at their booth. For groups like Pilchuck Soccer Alliance, that meant kicking a ball. For others like Sound Salmon Solutions, the goal was dropping a fishing pole into a kiddie pool with a magnet attached, and lifting out cardboard cutout species of salmon that came with a question for kids to answer for goodies.
Kelly Frazee, an educator with Sound Salmon Solutions, a regional fisheries enhancement group, said they participate in Challenge Day for a couple of reasons.
“We teach fifth-grade classes in the Marysville School District about watersheds, water quality and salmon,” Frazee said. “And, this event gives us a chance to talk with community members about things that they can do to be better stewards of local watersheds.”
Spark Hot Yoga, Rising Stars Gymnastics, Kung Fu 4 Kids, Bubble Mania, a Step it Up walk led by the YMCA, and music with the Snohomish County Music Project also were there.
The city, Marysville Together coalition, school district and YMCA hosted the event, making it free to the community with support from local sponsors.
Parents and kids raved about the event. Ethan Prendergast, 12, conquered the climbing wall, and he can’t wait to do it again.
“I was kind of stressed at first, but when I got my legs going to help take the pressure off my arms, and how roped in I was, it was cool getting to the top and looking down at everybody,” he said.
Beth Landau of Marysville said she brought her girls to learn about activities that they might become interested in.
“There are so many youth organizations and businesses – a lot of them I’m familiar with – and I thought this would be a great way for my kids to gain a better appreciation for what all is out there in the community,” Landau said.