Our students provided feedback last spring, through the Search Institute's 40 Developmental Asset Survey, that they do not feel valued and appreciated by adults in the Bexley community.
They also indicated they wanted to spend more time participating in high-quality interactions and activities with their parents.
In addition, the survey results indicated that maintaining good personal health contributes significantly to youth being able to thrive in their schools, homes and community environments.
Betty Brown, chairwoman, and members of the Health and Wellness Committee hosted the Family Fit & Fun Expo a few weeks ago at the Cassingham Complex. This event provided for the development of a community asset for children by helping them to feel highly valued, providing them with a safe school environment, exposing them to positive adult role models and allowing them to interact with parents in high-quality activities. The event also provided an opportunity to learn firsthand how to maintain good personal health.
The committee of parent volunteers worked with Bexley Recreation and Parks as well as the Bexley Community Foundation to present a variety of fun activities for young people of all abilities in grades K-8. Participants were able to try rock climbing, karate, yoga, basketball, dancing and Futsal.
Additional features included the kids' cookoff, raffle prizes, healthy snacks and a Bexley Quidditch match, modeled after the fictional game in the Harry Potter books.
Brown recalled that the idea for the Expo came up during a conversation after her yoga class last winter.
"A few of us have kids who are not interested in the typical sports activities for several reasons, (either) they are not athletic, they haven't played a sport since they were five, or they have other interests. As parents, we want them to be interested in some type of fitness activity for their health," she said.
The goals and objectives of the Expo were to focus on the total health of the child, to include nutrition, exercise and wellness and stress management. It was the hope of the Expo organizers that students and their families will be motivated to continue working together to keep fit and have fun by biking, walking and cooking healthy foods. They also hope that clubs will form where families can join in experiencing these activities together well into the future.
I want to thank Brown and her committee for organizing the Family Fit and Fun Expo to promote lifelong fitness and healthy habits. I want to express my appreciation to the sponsors and supporters, including: Yoga on High, Team Karate Center Columbus, Nationwide Children's Sports Medicine, Kingdom of Bounce, Body-Mind Connections Massage Therapy, Pixelwinx, Local Matters, Wayward Seed Farm, DNO Produce, American Institute of Alternative Medicine, Shelby Bakies Dance Experience, roll:, Bexley Natural Market, Columbus Fencing and Fitness, the Capital University women's soccer team, Step by Step Pediatrics and Central Ohio Urology Group.
It is my hope that Family Fit and Fun Expo will become an annual event.
Michael Johnson is the superintendent of Bexley City Schools.