Mt Pleasant News
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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 20, 2017

HHCC pulls out the stops for Healthy Halloween Walk

By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News | Oct 24, 2017
Photo by: Grace King

It was kismet as Moana and Te Fiti stumbled upon one another at the Healthy Halloween Walk. The two little girls shyly observed each other as Moana offered Te Fiti her stone “heart,” reminiscent of the Disney movie Moana, which debuted late last year.

These were just two characters that could be found around East Lake Park on Sunday, Oct. 22. This was the fifth Healthy Halloween Walk, put on by the Healthy Henry County Communities (HHCC). Although it threatened rain, over 200 children and their families came out to engage in healthy activities and learn about how to lead a healthier lifestyle.

As Bethany Miller and her brother John Miller walked with their mother, from the Mt. Pleasant police officers handing out pencils and temporary tattoos to the disc golf station, they showed off their costumes from the Book of Mormon. Bethany was dressed as Emma Smith, and John said he was a warrior, although his costume was still in the works and he planned to have it completed by Halloween. The kids chose their costumes as a part of a church competition.

As a few raindrops were felt, Bethany and John’s mother, Julie Miller said that she had heard it was raining on Donnellson earlier. “I hope it holds off,” she said. “We have to get around this lake.”

And for the most part, the rain did hold off, although volunteers said the turnout for the Healthy Halloween Walk wasn’t as good in previous years, they were impressed considering the weather.

“It’s kind of chilly and threatening to be really wet, but it’s gone well so far,” Ray Vens said, who was working the disc golf station.

Vens, who has played disc golf since 2006, was explaining to participants the rules and good form. “If they start now, they can be way better than I could ever dream to be,” he said.

Up the trail a little way, Boy Scout Troop 27 was demonstrating soap box, working with kids to shoot a sling shot and holding toy boat races.

“The Scout slogan is ‘do a good turn daily,’ and this can be our good turn for the day,” Eagle Scout Lucas Lee said. “It’s fun to help out the community.”

At the next station, Anita Hampton stood creating giant soap bubbles with kids. One of them grew to the size of her head and then tried to come for her.

“It likes me,” she shouted with a laugh. This station was a part of Public Health’s “Be a Germ Stopper” campaign. Giveaways included hand sanitizer and “clean hand” stickers.

Hampton, who has been a volunteer of HHCC for years, said, “Everybody likes bubbles. I taught preschool forever, so I’m no stranger to bubbles.” The bubble booth was in conjunction with the HHCC partner The Family Connection. “I’m such a believer in The Family Connection and the parenting they promote,” Hampton continued.

Halfway through the walk, HHCC promoted healthy snacking with three varieties of apples: Courtland, Golden Delicious and Fuji, provided from Apple Tree Orchard and Farm, and yogurt samples from Kalona Dairy.

After munching on naturally-sweetened apples, kids got to practice brushing teeth on stuffed animals with plastic teeth and a giant toothbrush. The “Keep Your Fangs Healthy” station was run by Martha Hernandez from Washington County Public Health.

“This teaches the techniques of brushing teeth,” Hernandez said. “They love it. As soon as they get here, they want to play with the toothbrush,” she said, adding that this gives her the chance to explain to them how to take care of their “big teeth” when they’re older.

“The goals of the event are to get the family active together, having fun,” said Kelly Carr, HHCC coordinator. “We want to show that Halloween events don’t have to be just about candy.”

Other stations included a car seat check and face painting station run by IW students; “Build A Stronger Skeleton,” which promoted drinking milk; Alcohol and Drug Dependency Services (ADDS) showing how similar pills and candy can look; the Mt. Pleasant sheriff and police officer, a firetruck, and an ambulance; and a bouncy house.

At ADDS station, high school student Tim Goetsch was volunteering with his mother Kim Kerr for silver chord hours. As he oversaw the activity where kids and parents chose which tablet was candy and which was medicine, he said he was surprised by how many kids guess right which one was candy when the parents get it wrong. This activity was to get parents to realize how accessible their medicine might be to their children.

At another booth, IW students were facilitating bag-toss.

“It’s a cute little family get together,” IW freshman Emma Thomas said. “We’re not used to these small-town events.”

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