Kansas Kids’ Fitness Day was pioneered by the Kansas Council of Fitness to teach children how fun fitness can be and to recognize the benefits of making physical activity a lifetime habit. Participation has grown from 600 students in May of 1991 to nearly 20,000 across the state of Kansas.
USD 475 physical education teachers developed its’ own Kansas Kids’ Fitness Day to help children recognize the importance of physical activity, nutrition, the importance of healthy choices in regards to tobacco and drugs, and to help prevent the complications of chronic disease by establishing healthy behaviors at an early age.
On Friday, April 28th, the 9th Annual Kansas Kids’ Fitness Day was held at the 12th Street Community Center. Approximately 700 USD 475 3rd graders participated in various fitness stations incorporating fitness components, such as cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, agility, and flexibility.
This year’s event was funded by a grant from the Geary County Schools Foundation. With the help of Joe Handlos, Wellness Coordinator, funds were also received from the Kansas State Dept., and Wal-Mart. Dr. Jill Ellner with the Dental Health Group of Manhattan also provided funds.
District Physical Education teachers worked as a team to organize and set-up the ten fitness stations. They also spent time on the internet and making phone calls to come up with educational materials regarding exercise, nutrition, drug awareness, and the dangers of tobacco use. These materials provided classroom teachers with curriculum to reiterate healthy choices with their students.
Kansas State University students from the kinesiology and physical education departments volunteered as station helpers and leaders for the 3rd graders’ fitness fun.
The 3rd graders all received a healthy sack lunch provided by Shelly Gunderson and the USD 475 food service staff. The food service staff also provided a healthy snack which was handed out to each 3rd grader at the conclusion of the event.
Mr. Aaron Yoder, Guinness World Record Holder in the fastest Backwards Mile Run (November 2015), furnished his expertise as our motivational fitness speaker. Mr. Yoder is from Peabody, KS and was raised on a dairy farm. He now teaches and coaches cross country and track at Bethany College.
Miss Kansas, Catherine Carmichael, from Junction City, also made an appearance at the Kansas Kids’ Fitness Day. She, too, shared her message of keeping fit and eating healthy to the 3rd graders.
At the conclusion of the event, all 3rd graders received a jump rope, a KKFD water bottle, and a KKFD knapsack, provided by Central National Bank of Junction City.
Written by Kelli Thissen, Physical Education Teacher, Franklin Elementary