Healthy Places Kids Stay Busy with Spring Break Outdoor Events

Staycantion LCC (2)Despite chilly morning temperatures and brisk wind, dozens of local kids turned up for activities for Spring Break 2016, sponsored by LiveWell Prowers County and Healthy Places in Lamar. During the break from classroom studies, students from the third grade and up registered for a week of outdoor events, March 14-18 at various locations around town.  The new event gives area students an opportunity to experience structured activities outdoors as opposed to spending their week off, playing video games indoors.

It's Bigger on the Inside. Warmer Too.

It’s Bigger on the Inside. Warmer Too.

Fifty youngsters were on hand at the LCC Wellness Center Monday morning, March 14th,  to get a first-hand look at birding trails behind the college campus along Willow Creek.  Volunteers took the students on a short trek through the woodland area, accompanied by local natural-life photographer, Jill Smith.  While some students toured the area, others were busy sketching the types of birds they had observed.

Drawing Birds at LCC

Drawing Birds at LCC

Tuesday brought the youngsters out to the ballfields at the Sports Complex and Merchants Park for the morning, while Wednesday had them at North Gateway Park bright and early. The day was brisk and breezy which was a perfect opportunity to learn about the basic elements of camping taught by volunteers from the local Boy Scout Group.  Once the tent was up, everyone huddled inside away from the wind to learn about tying various knots.

Boy Scout Tent Provides Shelter from the Wind

Boy Scout Tent Provides Shelter from the Wind


Two other groups were into fish for the day. One group of 15 students tried their luck at landing a catch while others decorated foot-long wooden fish plaques which will be showcased at points along the main pond adjacent to the Arkansas River.  Healthy Places co-director, Renee Beebe said one young girl told her she had never been fishing before in her life and was, “kinda scared” about the venture, especially the part about taking her catch off the line.  Beebe said after her first time efforts, the young girl stated she’d be happy to try it again sometime.

Temperatures were just a little warmer on Thursday, and springtime breezes were just what were needed for everyone to fly their kite that morning as the group re-convened for more activates at North Gateway Park. Kids built their own kites and had no trouble sending them aloft for the morning.

Younger Circle of Knowledge at HOPE Center

Good weather can’t last forever and winter like temperatures returned on Friday, just in time for indoor activities at the HOPE Center at the former Lincoln School on North 10th Street in Lamar.  It had been planned as a day of planting with a trip to the city’s tree farm.  The students made do with starting their own vegetable or flower seedlings in paper cups to be planted in the HOPE Garden later in the season, and students were each given a small sapling for a lilac bush they could plant at their homes.

Susan Hansen Displays Proper Planting Methods

Susan Hansen, a member of the HOPE Coalition instructed the students in the best way to plant and care for trees.  The plants were donated from the Lamar Housing Authority.  The trees were donated from the CSU Extension nursery.  The day indoors gave some time to do work on the Inspire Grant from GOCO.  One Step Up students have held brief interviews with Lamar residents concerning their awareness and use of Escondido Park on 14th Street.  Fifty students have been engaged in this survey for the past several weeks.  Escondido Park has generally been used for soccer games and is large enough for several matches to be held at once.

Emily Nieschburg of Healthy Places said the first Staycation Week was a success. “It was planned to give the students something to do during their week off from school as well as visiting some of the parks in town.”  She added that the students had a great time at North Gateway Park in Lamar, “For many of them, it was the first time ever that they had been to the ponds to see what was on offer for them.”  Nieschburg said elementary and middle school students only spend about four or five minutes in outdoor activities once a day and that just isn’t enough for a healthy lifestyle.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: AgricultureCity of LamarEducationEntertainmentEventsFeaturedHealthSchoolSportsYouth


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