As students arrived at the YMCA Trails West Camp in Scottsbluff Tuesday, they were laced up and stretched out for a fun day. Five hundred third graders from Gering, Scottsbluff, Mitchell, Morrill and Minatare enjoyed a variety of mentally and physically stimulating activities as they rotated through 13 stations.

Once everyone arrived and found their seats under the pavilion, Janelle Visser, who is a health educator for Panhandle Public Health District, encouraged the students to engage in the activities.

“I want everyone to try every station,” Visser said.

Visser said the day allows students to learn about and implement balanced nutrition and physical activity into their lives.

“We have the portion distortion, label logic, and choices for healthy snack stations,” she said. “We also want them to know physical activity can be fun.”

Lincoln Elementary students visited the boot camp station first where they did push ups, sit ups and burpies as well as showed off their tumbling skills.

One of the more challenging stations was pound fit where students used drum sticks or their hands to make a beat while squatting, standing or sitting.

“It’s fun,” Ryleigh Kisner said. “I learned how to stay with the beat, but it’s hard to stay with the beat.”

As the students hit the sticks together over their heads and on the mats below, Gavin McConkey had to keep an eye on his surroundings.

“It’s hard to bring the sticks to the side because I’m sitting by the air vent,” he said. “But, I’m having fun.”

Jessica Davies was the instructor for pound fit and said it’s a great way to exercise.

“We put exercise to drumming,” she said. “You get lots of squats in and it’s a good workout. The kids like it, but they don’t really realize they’re exercising because you get the music going.”

Davies said once the music ends, students have told her their legs hurt.

For Northfield third grader Laurie Brown the most challenging station was the plate and energy balance.

“We had to see how many carbs are in food and that was the hardest one,” she said. “I had to learn how much calories were in something and what it was.”

Throughout the day, Finley Rotherham had fun learning about health and even led her classmates in a game of Simon Says.

“I learned it’s important to wash my hands and eat healthy so you don’t get sick,” she said.

Her favorite station was the snack station because she likes to eat.

The station activities included kick boxing, label logic, cardio dance, healthy snacks, boot camp, pound fit, parachute games, portion distortion, hula hoops and my plate and energy balance.

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Lauren Brant is a reporter with the Star-Herald and the Gering Courier. Contact her at 308-632-9043 or by email at

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