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Children took advantage of the health screening inside The Be Fit bus from the Michigan Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs. (MyBayCity Photo by Pati LaLonde.)

Be Fit Festival combines health screenings with a day of fun

July 6, 2016       Leave a Comment
By: Pati LaLonde

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When the big blue bus pulled into Cramer Junior High School, 8-year-old Kennedy Foster knew it wasn't going to be just another day at the Essexville site of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Great Lakes Bay Region.

Called the Be Fit Festival boys and girls ages 5 to 19 and adults 55 and up were not only given the chance to take part in health, dental and eye screenings but have some fun as well during the 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. event.

"We are doing this from a grant from the Michigan Health Endowment," said Kayleigh Kessler, executive assistant. "It's part of our funding for various programs and for the kids. Instead of making it just a health day, we draw the kids in with a fun event."

More than 100 kids stopped in during the day.

In spite of temps in the high 80s, children took advantage of the bounce house.
Photo by Pati LaLonde

The fun included working with the Garber High School football team and cheerleaders, as well as a bounce house, face painting and games. Lunch was on the agenda as well.

"A good percentage of children do not have health care," said Ginger Drzewski, chief executive officer of the club. "(With this program) we can identify those kids and get them on MI Child. We can identify problems and get them extra help. Last year we identified two kids with vision problems. The Bay City Lions Club got them a more in-depth vision screening and bought them glasses."

Also on hand for the day was the Bay County Health Department, the Bay County Health Plan, and the CAN Council Great Lakes Bay Region.

As for Kennedy, who enters the fourth grade at Verellen Elementary in the fall, she pretty much enjoyed everything offered to her.

"It was special today because the health bus came," she said. "The most fun was doing cheers and playing dodge ball."

That's not so say the youngster didn't get into her screenings. When she graduates from college, the daughter of Toukisha Foster of Essexville, plans to follow in her mother's footsteps.

"I want to work at the Department of Human Services, that's where my mom works," she said. The program will be repeated from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday at Bay City site, 300 W. Lafayette.

Dylan Heidtman of Munger checks in with workers in the big blue bus.
Photo by Pati LaLonde

Linda Van Tol of Essexville paints a soccer ball on Bridgeport resident Bella McDonald's cheek.
Photo by Pati LaLonde

It was a rainbow for Bella's sister Madilyn.
Photo by Pati LaLonde

Kennedy Foster enjoys her nacho lunch.
Photo by Pati LaLonde

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Pati LaLonde

Pati is a freelance writer with experience in all things pertaining to Bay County, Michigan.

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