Let’s be clear: It’s not OK to run backward down the hallways of Webb Middle School – most of the time.
But about 20 area children and a few parents got away with it and a whole lot more in the Reedsburg school Jan. 12 during the latest session of the Move It! Club.
The club is all about combating childhood obesity by teaching kids about healthy living and getting them to exercise by making it fun.
The Reedsburg Area Medical Center sponsors the club, which grew from a community needs assessment early last year that targeted public health problems, including childhood obesity.
“It was one of the things that came up as being a need for the community,” said Chris Weihing, marketing secretary at Reedsburg Area Medical Center.
The club, which began meeting last September at the start of the school year, holds sessions Mondays and Wednesdays after school from 3:45 to 4:45 p.m. at Webb Middle School.
Club sessions were held outside at the adjacent Webb Park until winter forced the group indoors.
“I’m also an avid runner, so this is right up my alley,” said Jenny Schneider, one of several physical therapists from the medical center who led the club session Jan. 12.
Club activities vary and include yoga and Zumba, a dance fitness program. Leaders also incorporate education about nutrition, exercise safety and the importance of warming up before strenuous exercise. At the end of sessions, kids are encouraged to complete a diary entry about the day’s workout.
On Jan. 12, the physical therapists put the kids, and a few parents, through an action-packed pump and praise routine that involved lots of movement, as well as shouting and clapping.
“It’s a great program,” said Melissa Brandt, a parent who helps out at club sessions.
Brandt’s daughter and son, who attend Sacred Heart Catholic School in Reedsburg, both are members of the club, which is open to kids who attend any area school.
“Any kids from third grade to eighth grade are welcome,” Schneider said.
About 35 kids are members of the club, though all don’t participate in every session. Kids who participate are bused to Webb Middle School, which makes it easier on parents.
Donors – individuals and businesses – participate by providing a healthy snack for the kids.
“We try to incorporate healthy snacks because after school the kids are generally pretty hungry,” Schneider said.
Weihing said the club is open to new members any time. The medical center also seeks more individuals and businesses who’d like to participate by providing snacks.
Parents who’d like to participate or people interested in sponsoring snacks may call the medical center at 768-6245. More information about the club and registration forms are online at ramchealth.com/moveit.