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Healthy Kids Day brings colorful start to summer in Berks

It started as controlled chaos.

About two dozen children and their parents lined up at the starting line in an open field at the Berks County Heritage Center in Bern Township, waiting patiently for the whistle to signal the beginning of the color run. Volunteers lined the path before them armed with bags filled with brightly colored chalk.

A few seconds later they were off — the kids and parents weaving between the bags being hurled in their direction. By the time they turned around to face the attack again, most had suffered a direct hit and were covered in pink, blue, green and purple splotches.

That’s when complete chaos broke out.

The color run suddenly devolved into a color battle, with children and adults chasing each other around as a thick cloud of chalk dust rose over the field. Shrieks of delight and laughter followed.

Which was exactly the point. The YMCA of Reading and Berks County and the Berks County Parks and Recreation Department partnered to host the color run as part of their Healthy Kids Day event.

Lucy Bucks, 5, and her mom, Angie Bucks, both of Shillington, participate in the color run during the Healthy Kids Day at the Heritage Center in Bern Township. The event was made possible by a partnership between the YMCA of Reading and Berks County and Berks County Park and Recreation Department. (SPECIAL TO THE READING EAGLE: SUSAN L. ANGSTADT)
Lucy Bucks, 5, and her mom, Angie Bucks, Shillington, participate in the color run during the Healthy Kids Day at the Heritage Center in Bern Township. The event was made possible by a partnership between the YMCA of Reading and Berks County and Berks County Park and Recreation Department. (SPECIAL TO THE READING EAGLE: SUSAN L. ANGSTADT)

The mission of Healthy Kids Day is to encourage families to get outside and be active, turning fun and play into lifelong memories.

The color run was definitely something Dominic Vaccaro will remember. The 7-year-old, who was covered from head to toe with chalk at the end of the event, gave it two enthusiastic thumbs up when asked if he had a good time.

“That was awesome,” he said.

His mom, Natalie, was just as excited.

“This was a great way to spend a Saturday outside doing something active,” she said. “I want to promote a healthy lifestyle, and this was something fun we could do together.”

April Fatzinger of Kutztown felt the same way. She said she is always looking for activities she can do with her 5-year-old daughter, Hadley, that will get them outside and on the move.

“Fitness is paramount,” she said. “We were looking forward to getting out in the fresh air and getting a little messy. This is a great opportunity for both of us to have fun.”

Lucy Bucks, 5, and her mom, Angie Bucks, both of Shillington, participate in the color run during the Healthy Kids Day at the Heritage Center in Bern Township. The event was made possible by a partnership between the YMCA of Reading and Berks County and the Berks County Park and Recreation Department. (SPECIAL TO THE READING EAGLE - SUSAN L. ANGSTADT)
Lucy Bucks, 5, and her mom, Angie Bucks, Shillington, participate in the color run during the Healthy Kids Day at the Heritage Center in Bern Township. The event was made possible by a partnership between the YMCA of Reading and Berks County and the Berks County Park and Recreation Department. (SPECIAL TO THE READING EAGLE – SUSAN L. ANGSTADT)

In addition to the color run, the event featured a variety of activities like a kite building station, games, a crafting area and a flower planting station.

Chrissy Faller, vice president of marketing and communications for the YMCA, said the focus of the event is making families stronger through fun activities that foster both physical and mental health.

“It’s exercise and learning disguised as fun,” she said. “We have found those kinds of activities are best to promote a healthy lifestyle. It’s all about having a healthy body, mind and spirit.”

Angie Bucks of Shillington said that message resonates with her as a mother. She said finding experiences that she and her 5-year-old daughter, Lucy, can do together while being outside in the sunshine is very important.

“I want her to be outside — not sitting inside looking at screens,” she said. “I was one of those kids sitting inside playing video games instead of being outside, so I want to make sure I do things differently as a parent.”


Source: Berkshire mont

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