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November 05. 2013 8:15PM

Pelham parks department honored for healthy programs

PELHAM — Pelham is a town on the move, and the Parks and Recreation Department was recently recognized for its role in helping keep its residents healthy.

The National League of Cities recently honored the town for reaching key goals in the “Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties” initiative, which is part of first lady Michelle Obama’s efforts to fight childhood obesity.

Parks and Recreation Director Brian Johnson said participation in the program is all part of providing a wide range of healthy activities for all the town’s residents.

He said the town was invited to take part in Let’s Move! this year as the result of its successful involvement in the “Playful City, USA” program sponsored by the nonprofit Kaboom last year.

“Through that, we were awarded $21,000 in grants, and it was a wonderful experience,” said Johnson.

Johnson said he was happy to receive the invitation to take part in the first lady’s initiative to help fight childhood obesity.

The Parks and Recreation Department has already met the goal for having active kids at play, he said.

Over the past several years, Johnson said it has been his department’s goal to offer programs for every age group in every season.

“Whether it is a 3-year-old playing soccer or a 65-year-old going to a fitness class, we want to make sure there are programs for everyone,” said Johnson.

The department has also made moves in recent years to offer programs that go beyond the more traditional sports activities.

“We have been looking outside the box for kids who might not like sports,” Johnson said. “We’ve developed theater, art and karate programs to hit that segment of people.”

Although the Parks and Recreation Department has hit its goal for providing healthy activities through the Let’s Move! program, Johnson said it is working with other partners in the community to address goals that focus on healthy nutrition.

“We are doing a lot with the schools and talking to the School Board about being collaborative on nutrition,” said Johnson. He said the parks department is also looking at providing healthier food options at its concession stands.

More than 370 cities, towns and counties are taking part in the Let’s Move! campaign. For more information about the campaign and Pelham’s accomplishments, visit www.healthycommunitieshealthyfuture.org.aswift@newstote.com


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