Community News                                         Sunday May 30th 2010

Mind, body & spirit


A Healthy Turnout

YMCA "Healthy Kids Day" a big hit with young and old

Craig Hill/Voice 


                                                                                                          Craig Hill/Voice photos

A young girl is shown how to shish kebab veggies Saturday during "Healthy Kids Day" at the YMCA on Hodgins Ave.


t's hard getting kids away from their playstations these days, and in an attempt to do that and like the Cheam Leisure Centre did two weeks ago the YMCA threw open their doors Saturday for an open house too.


The theme was "Healthy Kids Day" and it took place in the parking lot as well as inside the Hodgins Ave. facility and featured kiosks with bicycle safety techniques, Search & Rescue tips, a Tai Kwan Do brick-smashing demonstration and even a magic show.


Every few months the "Y" lets the public try out their fitness equipment, pool, gym and racket ball courts gratis. If someone wanted to find out what an elliptical trainer is or check out the pool, then that was the day to do it.

                                Malcolm McLean at the Bike-to-Work display.


Among the kiosks set up in the lot was the Bike-to-Work campaign and City of Chilliwack Environmental Services employee, Malcolm MacLean, was on hand to talk about the program. One of the incentives to get people onto two wheels is the bike draw. "The city is giving away a Norco Vermont hybrid," said MacLean. "Each day a person rides to work they are eligible for an entry to win it."


Manager Shari West, was elated with the numbers of people that showed up despite a steady downpour. "It's been great and we're happy with the turnout considering the bad weather," she said. "We're really pleased with the demonstrations that have gone on, and we have the opportunity to talk with parents about what it means to have healthy children and the parts that the "Y" can play in that."


Hamburgers were cooked up by the staff on the BBQ and dished out free to those who didn't mind waiting in an abbreviated lineup. Even though burgers aren't exactly the healthiest of foods, it was a cost-effective way for the fitness


SAR volunteer Bob Casey teaches kids Saturday

about the Hug-A-Tree program.


organization to show it's appreciation for the support of the community and also a way to teach kids how to eat well and not overdo it.


"We've got fruits and vegetables as well and really it's about teaching kids that they don't need to give up anything in particular, but just that they need to do everything in moderation and its about balance," said General Manager Sheri Josephson.


"It's about being physically active and the reality is that they go to birthday parties and they go to friends houses and they eat things that are maybe not so healthy for them, but as long as they balance it off with some other choice during the day which is a healthy choice."


Cultus Lake resident and avid cyclist, Gary Baker, was at the event on a voluntary basis and passing on his knowledge of bicycle safety. "We're teaching kids a little bit about the safety gear, safe practices and tips on commuting," he said. "It's (cycling) something that more people should consider as a option and Chilliwack is great, for the most part it's so flat."


Baker has been riding many years and currently he belongs to a club called "Randoneering" a French word which means "to wander about," he said. "It's a worldwide organization and very much like car rallying, only on a bicycle."       Bicycle safety expert Gary Baker at the YMCA.


"We do 200km, 300km, 400km, 500km and ultra-marathon rides of 1000km and 1200km non-stop," he said.


Baker is planning on traveling to Europe in the near future to join the "Paris Breast Paris" ride which sees about 5000 cyclists taking part. But first you have to prove your skills are adequate for the ride.


"I hope to qualify and go," said Baker. "You have to qualify by doing all the distance rides and this year you have to do the1000km ride which I will do in a series of rides in about 3 weeks from Vancouver to Hope, Coquilhalla, Merit, Kamloops, Salmon Arm, Armstrong and back."


Another group onsite was Chilliwack Search & Rescue. Volunteer member Dave Casey told the kids about the Hug-A-Tree program and handed out whistles and bright yellow rain covers.


The Hug-A-Tree Program is designed for smaller kids and was started in the 80s stateside. The main idea is to teach the kids to stay in one spot if they are lost. Find a tree, make lots of noise, make themselves larger so a searcher can find them.


"You hug a tree and you stay there until someone finds you, even if you have to stay there all night long, it's so much easier for people to find you if you stay in one spot," he told the kids. "You can keep blowing the whistle and that will scare away the animals, they don't like loud whistles at all."


Casey has been with SAR for about six-years and says all too often they have to go out on rescue missions.


"We've had a pretty busy year this year already and a very big call volume so we have lots of resources on our team," said Casey. "We have a jet boat, a zodiac, rafts, kayaks, we have ATVs plus two rescue vehicles capable of going off road and there is our command vehicle that we use on searches. We also use helicopters when necessary so we can go down on a 150-foot line or 200-foot line and rescue people."


Casey's message is simple. "If you're going out, just let people know where you are so if you do have trouble, if you get hurt, broken down or whatever, we know where to start looking for you," he said. "It's a big open wilderness out there so if you are out in Chilliwack hiking, we just have no way of knowing where to start looking.


Casey recommends people use a trip planner that shows how many people are in your group, where you're going, what you're driving with, what kind of supplies you have, and then leave that behind with somebody so that in case you're not back when you're supposed to be, the RCMP can be contacted and then they in turn will alert SAR.


The YMCA has all kinds of programs for everyone in the community. Kids with special needs are welcome and encouraged to participate in programs that they a capable of handling.


For more information on YMCA programs visit their website:  To find out more about the Bike-to-Work program visit the city's website: 


The food was generously donated by Hofstede's at 45796 Luckakuck Way 604-824-1192  and Mcgavin's Breadbasket at 100-45428 Luckakuck Way 604-824-2077


To view the photo gallery go here


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