Petal YMCA to host Healthy Kids Day


Petal children are invited to join their friends and “awaken their summer imagination” with new activities and healthy habits during the YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held from 9-11 a.m. April 21 at the Petal Family YMCA, 547 Hillcrest Loop in Petal.

“Healthy Kids Day is a national YMCA ‘holiday’ to focus on preparing kids and families for summertime, when activity is declining, and also learning as well,” said Catherine Brown, health and wellness director at the Petal YMCA. “It gives them some opportunities to be exposed to things in the community that they could get involved in for the summertime.”

Several vendors will be on hand to provide family-friendly activities, including an obstacle course fun jump provided by Party Box Rentals and a chance to help create a community mural with Southern Canvas staff.

“We’ll also have several other stations,” Brown said. “We’ve got a Kid Fit station, which is a program that we offer here at the Y during the summer for members where they’ll play games.

“(Kids) will be making musical instruments from recyclables. We’ll have fire trucks, police cars, garbage trucks for them to kind of explore – we know the little boys like big trucks. On Your Toes Dance Studio is going to do a dance party … so we’ve got a ridiculous amount of things going on.”

In addition, representatives from the Coleman Center for Families and Children will bring their Backyard Bus, where children can make paper bag kites and learn about healthy living.

“Partnering with community agencies and serving families and children are at the very heart of our work at the Center for Families and Children,” said Dede Smith, director of the center and assistant superintendent at Petal School District. “Our Backyard Bus will be at Healthy Kids Day to support the YMCA and to promote the importance of health and wellness for our youngest citizens and for our community.

“One of our core beliefs is ‘communities providing personalized, holistic and sustained family support systems result in opportunities for children, families and communities to thrive.’ This is just one example of those types of supports.”

Although the Petal YMCA hasn’t hosted the event in a little while, Healthy Kids Day is an annual tradition at YMCA facilities throughout the country.

“It’s really important in our community, so that we can retain the information that they’ve learned during the school year, and also keep them healthy,” Brown said. “And this is the biggest Healthy Kids Day nationally that they’ve ever had.

“This is my first time to head the whole thing up and direct it, but we’re really excited and we usually have a good turnout.”