News and Tribune

April 29, 2013

A healthy extension: 4-H and YMCA team up on event

By JEROD CLAPP
jerod.clapp@newsandtribune.com

NEW ALBANY —

With a chance to extract DNA, eat healthy snacks and hang out with a goat named Barbra Streisand, a joint event between the YMCA of Floyd County and Purdue Extension entertained and educated children on Saturday.

The two groups held their YMCA Healthy Kids Day and second annual Purdue Extension Spring Festival in conjunction at the Purdue Research Park in New Albany on Saturday. 

Children got to check out interactive activities and learn about keeping themselves healthy.

Melissa Merida, 4-H youth development educator and Floyd County Extension director, said the partnership was natural because they both focus on the healthy development of young people.

“I hope the kids see that when we come together and work as a community, that they’ll see there are resources for them that help them grow and learn from,” Merida said. “That’s how we develop community leaders.”

She said the booths with various 4-H programs were staffed by 4-Hers to show children what they can do in the program while they’re still in school. She said science demonstrations, robot building and other activities were available.

Crystal Hardin, teen and family director at the YMCA of Southern Indiana, said children also had the chance to check out some healthy food and walk along a path for some exercise at the fair.

She said she hoped parents and children got the idea that it’s important to keep themselves healthy.

“It’s definitely great to start them out at a younger age and instill those things so it carries through their lives,” Hardin said. “Childhood obesity is a big deal right now.”

But fun was also a big part of the picture.

Christine Leyburn, a New Washington resident, brought her daughter with her to the fair. While she liked seeing the animals, Leyburn said her daughter had fun with other displays.

“We really enjoyed the nutrition information, but of course, the bouncy house was awesome,” Leyburn said.

James Laws brought his 17-old-daughter, Elise Huber, with him. He said thanks to the fair, he got her signed up for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which sends children a book every month.

“If it weren’t for this event, we wouldn’t have known about it,” Laws said. “We found out about the program, and of course you can’t complain about free stuff.”