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Rain didn't dampen day dedicated to kids

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A sudden rain shower cut short activities but did not dampen the fun or optimism at Saturday's Healthy Kids Day in Monett's South Park.

The event had been scheduled for 3 to 5 p.m. on April 18, one of many such YMCA Healthy Kids Days around the county, but the rain began about 3:45 p.m. and by 4:10 p.m. most of the activities were down or being torn down.

In spite of the rain, Gordon Brown, YMCA executive director for Monett, estimated the crowd at the park, before the rain, at about 600 people.

"We had a great crowd," Brown said. "It was a great success."

He had previously expressed a wish that this year's day in the park would attract more than the "couple of hundred" kids that had attended in year's past.

This year's event included games, classes, demonstrations, arts and crafts, educational resources, healthy treats and giveaways. Local groups participating in the Monett Healthy Kids Day included: the Barry-Lawrence County Ambulance District; First Baptist Church; First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); First United Methodist Church; the Monett Fire Department; the Monett Library; the Monett Nazarene Church; the Monett Police Department; New Site Baptist Church; and Cox-Monett Hospital.
The Monett Fire Department brought four trucks and demonstrated one of the ladder trucks with firefighter Dustin Stellwagen riding the tip of the ladder high up in the air. A number of children gathered around to meet Stellwagen and ask him questions after he was brought down to earth again.

One boy said, "I want to go up there," pointing to ladder on the fire truck. "No," his mother replied, "you can't go up there." A Monett Police car was also on display in the park with its lights flashing for the crowd.

Subway provided 400 apple packs, and Save-A-Lot provided several cases of bananas for the event.

Several churches were present at the event and offered treats, such as fruit cocktail and toys and also information on their programs and ministries. The Monett Church of the Nazarene and First Baptist Church were offering an invitation to "travel back in time and experience Vacation Bible School like no other" in July.

New Site Baptist Church had two groups of children performing at the park. The performances included puppets and other musical performances. The activities are part of New Site's regular children's ministry said Piper Haworth, children's education director.

"We are just doing what we normally do," she said. She added that the fifth and sixth graders are getting ready to go on a mission trip to Branson. They will put on a Bible school and perform on the street in Branson.

The First United Methodist Church and First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, also participated in the event, talking to lots of kids and giving away treats and toys.

"This was great. We got to talk to a lot of kids," said Geneva Blue, of First Christian  Church.

The Barry-Lawrence County Ambulance District's ambulance was a popular stop at the Healthy Kids Day, offering free balloons and a peek inside a real ambulance. Paramedic Bill Walker answered questions while handing out balloons.

In response to a comment about the seemingly small space inside the back of the ambulance, Walker replied that the rig was their standard size, although some places do have bigger ambulances, he said. Only two people would usually staff the ambulance, Walker said, a paramedic in the back with the patient and an emergency medical technician (EMT) up front driving. Reminiscing about an old television show from the 1970s, "Emergency," that featured firefighters and paramedics, Walker stated that he enjoyed the television show but said there is much more that paramedics can do for people today then they could back in those days. Many more medications are available today and equipment such as cardiac monitors are more advanced now, said Walker.

Healthy Kids Day was staffed by a large number of individuals, including volunteers provided by UMB bank as well as Monett and Cassville YMCA staff and board members.

The Monett Area YMCA is located at 205 Euclid St. in Monett. For more information about the YMCA and its programs, call 235-8213 or visit the YMCA web site at www.monettymca.org.

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