By DUANE NOLLEN
The Oskaloosa Herald
The weather was perfect Saturday morning for families to come out the Penn Activities Center for a day of healthy fun at the United Way/YMCA Family Fun Day.
The day started off bright and early with a 5K run/walk. About 120 people donned their jogging clothing and laced up their running shoes for the event.
United Way Interim Director Amy Langdon was pleased with the crowd at the event.
“I think we’re handling it well,” she said. “We have a ton of volunteers.”
After a moment of silence in memory of the victims of the recent Boston Marathon bombing, the runners lined up on the east side of the PAC turf field and bounded out the west door.
Besides the run, there were many fun things for young and old to enjoy.
The theme for the first joint United Way/YMCA Family Fun Day was health.
“This is the first time that the United Way partnered with the YMCA,” Langdon said.
Langdon said there were 30 booths for organizations that support healthy living to hand out information to people.
Besides local organizations such as Mahaska Health Partnership and the Mahaska Wellness Coalition, there were representatives from organizations located in Keokuk County, Ottumwa and the Des Moines area, said YMCA Fitness Director Ryan Harkema.
“This year, we’re coordinating the volunteers,” Harkema said. There were members of the William Penn University soccer team, wrestling team and track team helping with the event, he said.
“All of our staff and volunteers helped as well,” Harkema added.
In all there were about 60 volunteers at hand to help with the event, Langdon said.
“This will probably be our highest attended event,” Harkema said.
YMCA Youth Coordinator Kathy Rothfus said there’s a couple of new things for kids this year.
The Family Fun Day added a reading room and a coloring room for kids.
Oskaloosa Public Library youth librarian Liz Anderson dressed up in costume to read to children four times during the day, Rothfus said. Also, some William Penn University students dressed up like characters such as Fred and Barney, and Darth Vader to help with the reading room, she added.
Some other activities for children during the day included a Punt, Pass and Kick competition, a cheerleader clinic, inflatable bounce houses and kids races, Langdon said.
Herald Editor Duane Nollen can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org