OCMS Health & Wellness Fair a Win/Win

April 4th, 2014 | By Gary No Comments

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Those of us who have already made it through the middle school years look back and remember a time when everything was changing. We were growing (although the girls were often taller than the guys), becoming more independent, and trying to be cool and confident because we discovered that the opposite sex did not have cooties.

With all that going on, middle school students often don’t think much about their health and wellness. Health and PE classes are great, but recently Oconee County Middle School raised the knowledge bar by offering a health and wellness fair. Each grade took turns gathering in the gym, where they were met by a variety of fun activities and information booths designed to engage and educate them about different health and wellness topics. Various organizations and volunteers from around the community came together to provide the demonstrations and information.

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Nursing students from the Georgia Regents University had several booths that gave information about hand washing, food labels, and sugar in drinks. The Health Department gave out free tooth care products and focused on oral hygiene.  The 706 Project cycling team (featured in this issue on page XX) was there to do demonstrations and promote cycling and exercise. Organic foods were available for sampling, and Clay from Bluebird Bee Supply taught kids about natural products produced by bees (beyond just honey).

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There were also opportunities for students to move during the OCMS Health and Wellness Fair.  Hula hoops were provided and used continuously by students, and Jazzercise was led by Dara Buczynsky from Oconee Jazzercise Center. You would think that most middle school kids would be “too cool” to Jazzercise, but a surprising number jumped in and had fun doing it.

Kathleen Miller is the OCMS school nurse and led the effort to put together the health and wellness fair. Nurse Miller (as kids call her) is passionate about the importance of being active and eating right.As a long distance runner, cyclist, hiker, and lover of just about any sport or activity, Kathleen (and her family) live very actively, but she is quick to acknowledge that “some kids – just like adults – don’t like anything that looks, smells, or sounds like exercise.  If we can get them moving without them realizing that it’s exercise, then it’s a win/win.”

Based on the smiles and laughter I saw, this health and wellness fair was a win/win for everyone. I encourage other schools to consider doing their own event like this.

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