If you like moving to music, twirling on ice or launching a bowling ball down an alley, Let’s Move! Blue Springs has your Saturdays planned for you.
The program, coordinated by StandUp Blue Springs, arranges events every Saturday to encourage local families to try new activities and be physically active. Michelle Obama started the national Let’s Move! campaign as a way to combat childhood obesity, and the city of Blue Springs got on board in March 2011.
All kinds of activities make up the Let’s Move! Saturdays programs. Dance, bowling, martial arts and ice skating are just a few. Each activity is free during the designated Let’s Move! session, and all take place at Blue Springs businesses.
Earlier this month, the group held a two-hour session at Lunar Bowl. Patti Holsey was there with her grandchildren, who live in Odessa.
“We’re fans of Let’s Move! Blue Springs. It’s awesome,” she said. “The ice skating was a lot of fun, because (none of the kids) had ever ice skated before.”
Her 14-year-old grandson, Brandon Adams, said he preferred bowling.
“I love being able to bring them to do things for free. We have a lot of kids, and it gets expensive to do things,” said Kobi Waite of Blue Springs, who brought her three children, ages 2, 4 and 6, to Lunar Bowl.
Both Holsey and Waite said they’d attended several Let’s Move! Saturday events. Most participants are from Blue Springs, but anyone can go.
Garry Cobb, owner of Lunar Bowl, said he provides bowling lanes to the group once a month during his slower season, from May to September. The number of lanes varies, depending on paying reservations, but he’ll open up anywhere from 12 to 32 lanes.
“I don’t see it as a business builder, but as a responsible business in the community, these are things we should all do,” he said.
“If you’re a kid in school, if you don’t run fast, jump high, if you’re not really athletic, a lot of sports aren’t open to you, but anybody can bowl.”
The initiative has received support from Mayor Carson Ross and from the Blue Springs School District.
“Our mayor took the challenge and said we can be a Let’s Move! city,” said Carol Journagan, a co-founder of the nonprofit StandUp Blue Springs
The StandUp organization has received grants from the Healthcare Foundation of Greater Kansas City in the past to help put on programs like Let’s Move! Saturdays.
Executive Director Tina Parsley Hughes said the Saturday activities have been very successful. Attendance varies — one dance event drew only 11 participants, but an ice skating event garnered more than 500 attendees. Parsley Hughes said 98 people attended the event at Lunar Bowl.
“We just want to promote the joy in play, movement, having fun and being active,” she said.
And being active doesn’t have to mean intense exercise like running, she said.
“You’re exercising while you’re having fun. You’re using muscles and burning calories while bowling,” Parsley Hughes said.
The organization also promotes other healthy activities, such as a summer triathlon for kids and a dental clinic, and works with other local groups, such as Harvesters and the YMCA.
One of the most important aspects of the Let’s Move! program is that it promotes activities that families can do together.
“The children will emulate what they see their parents do,” Parsley Hughes said. “By having an adult in their life involved, it helps the children want to do it, too, and stick with those kinds of activities.”