Wellness and Trail Adventure Make Kids Smile



Saturday's sunshine and clear blue skies were just what the doctor ordered for Follow the Trail to Family Wellness, the theme of this year's Children's Wellness and Trail Adventure in Broomfield.  More than 500 gathered at Aspen Creek School to stroll and bike with picture perfect views of Longs Peak. The landscape was quickly dotted with children clad in bright green shirts as Mayor Patrick Quinn led the crowd across the Lake Link Trail. This was just the beginning of a perfect wellness day.

Crowds mingled through the tents with tons of hands on activities like Head Injuries to Brain Matters presented by Theresa Dorsey and Anita Roberts, nurses from Avista Adventist Hospital and Dr. Nancy Greer, a Broomfield pediatrician. The Children's Hospital Junglemobile shared safety tips with families, including bike helmet use. Safe Kids Ride This Way gave kids the chance to show off their skills during the bike rodeo where North Metro Fire Rescue passed out bike helmets donated by Exempla.  Another safety message came from Bill Hayes, PACE team Lead, who explained how to properly dispose of medications to prevent contamination of our water.

Young and old were fascinated to meet live raptors with an up close and personal touch thanks to the Laramie Raptor Refuge. Children petted the coyote display, as the Colorado Division of Wildlife offered tips on how to safely co-exist with coyotes.  In efforts to keep West Nile Virus at bay, the Broomfield Environmental Services handed out mosquito-eating fish to anyone who could provide a good home.

Upon arrival of a fire truck with whistling sirens with Amanda aboard, a child recovering from aplastic anemia, scores of children waited anxiously to have photos taken with the giant firemen who were not at all dwarfed by the truck. Less than a year ago, Amanda was looking for a bone marrow match. During last year's wellness event, the Broomfield community rallied with over 130 new donors added to the registry. Amanda has undergone a successful transplant and is on the road to recovery. The bone marrow drive tradition was continued in honor of Mr. John Di Palma in hopes of finding a match for him. Thanks to the Broomfield Rotary, over 60 individuals have committed to join the bone marrow donor list.

A very popular stop was Snappy Summer Snacks where kids prepared yummy snacks led by Karrie Bach, registered dietician for Healthy Learning Paths. Grandparents to preschoolers created veggie pitas that were enjoyed by all. Next, kids hustled outside to practice stretching techniques to prevent joint injuries from Keith Christianssen, Physical Therapist from Impact Sports Medicine. Next stop, water safety where kids recited the "Safe Swim Promise" with Kathy Nowak, Swim Otters Swim School.  Since the sun was out in full force, kids built simple PV cells that powered toy cars with Kristi Dahl, CU Science Discovery.  After all, clean energy makes a healthier environment too.  Finally, music makes the soul smile and there was lots of laughter while kids tried out musical instruments under the direction of Jylian Hart, DaVinci Center.  Up A Creek band supplied toe-tapping tunes and Dance Arts Studio was on hand for dance lessons.

With all these activities, the crowd worked up an appetite. Applebee's saved the day by serving a delicious and healthy lunch. During lunch, Mayor Quinn and Broomfield Rotary President, Larry Haas presented awards to winners of the Kids' Wellness Art and Essay Contest, including gift cards and congratulatory letters from Lt.  Governor Barbara O'Brien. The proud students included:  Carrisma Cha, Emerald Preschool, Sophia Steen, Meridian Elementary, Callista Zaronias, Peak to Peak School, and Lindsay Jo Kirby, Legacy High School. Kailey Zaronias, Peak to Peak School, received an honorable mention. Kim Moroze form Emerald Preschool was the teacher winner.  Healthy Learning Paths presented community wellness awards for contributions individuals and business make to improve wellness. Community Financial Credit Union received the Visionary Wellness Award, Lesley Clayton, Manager of Children's Services, Mamie Doud Eisenhower Public Library, received the Faith in Humanity Wellness Award and Sean McGaughey, received the Courage Wellness Award.

So what did the crowd think of the day?  Rotarian, LuAnn Dixon comments, "This snack program was just wonderful!  You need a bigger room next year."Rotarian president, Larry Haas remarked, "This event is something that the Rotary is proud to support for our community and we are grateful to help Healthy Learning Paths provide wellness programs for children."Jen Kuzik, a Broomfield resident, said with a smile, "Great fun and learning for the entire family."  JJ Schermerhorn summed up the day, "I am proud to be part of the community and to be part of something bigger than myself.  It's all about making kids smile." 

Thanks to everyone who made this day a success.It takes a community and Broomfield stepped up to the challenge with open arms.

What a day for a walk, what a day to Follow the Trail to Family Wellness!

(To learn more or to plan a wellness program in your community visit www.healthylearningpaths.org.)