Children who make healthy choices grow up to be adults who do the same.
That is the idea behind the 15th annual Healthy Living Fair that was held at Ecole Lacombe Upper Elementary School (ELUES) on Nov. 19.
Ian Wilson, assistant principal at the school and one of the fair’s chief organizers, has been involved with the fair for the past eight years. He said the event is something students always look forward to.
“They are so excited. They can hardly wait for this day, those that know it’s coming up.”
Wilson added the fair also works well as a way to teach students about being healthy and keeping them interested in how to make healthy choices. He said that each year the students learn something about health, often something they can apply in their everyday lives.
“It’s extremely effective. They remember the sessions they went to two years ago.”
Thirty professionals in health care presented as part of the fair. All kinds of health-related professionals from EMTs to chiropractors and even Reiki practitioners were represented at the fair.
Wilson said each of the students would attend nine sessions within the day.
He added organizers tried to arrange the sessions so each student would have sessions dealing with healthy eating, being active and developing positive social skills – the three areas of health targeted by the Healthy Living Fair.
“One of the big keys here is for them to realize that health comes in a variety of ways,” said Wilson. “That being healthy really comes down to those choices.”
He added the fair has evolved over time, becoming more focused in how it delivers those essential lessons. Wilson said that it is important for students to learn this at a young age so they will carry it through with them for the rest of their lives.
Each year, the fair has similar sessions and the classes rotate through, picking up where they left off the year previous. The hope is to have each group get through all sessions in the years they will spend at the school.
Mackenzie Caddy and Amber Reeves, both 10-years-old, are members of the schools’ Healthy Action Team (HAT). Every year, each Grade 5 class at ELUES chooses a HAT representative who is involved in the planning of the Healthy Living Fair.
Each class chooses its representatives differently. Mackenzie said her class made nominations by volunteering and then students voted for their rep. Amber said in her class, those wishing to be HAT members wrote a piece explaining why they would be good for the position, as if applying for a job.
Amber added a curiosity about healthy living and a desire to learn more about it led her to join the HAT. Mackenzie, who mentioned her fondness for and involvement in sports, said she thought it would a good way to continue being healthy and active.