Foster grandparents celebrate summer fitness training

Foster grandparents, from left to right, are: Lori Bairn, Holly Zitterkopf, Helen Weinmaster, Lorena Eichthaler, Carol Nash, Darlene Richards, Karen Taylor, June Parker and Ginny Spencer. Not shown are Sue Rhodes and Jerrie Wagner.

GERING - The Community Action Partnership of Western Nebraska (CAPWN) Foster Grandparent Program celebrated its third annual Summer Fitness Training Challenge with a summer picnic at the Gering Gardner Park on July 10.

The Senior Corps volunteers came to fitness workshop every Monday in June to learn about staying fit and taking care of themselves over the summer vacation. They also were sent home with homework packets to keep them excited about their participation. The program is funded by the Corporation for National and Community Services (CNCS) which matches children with Foster Grandparents in the classroom to help them engage in school. But during the summer several of these Senior Corps volunteers don’t have anything to keep them motivated, so the program was formed a few years ago to try to educate them about the benefits of keeping healthy and fit over the summer months.

Some of the topics this year were exercise, water consumption, nutrition, learning about oral and dental care and learning to relax. The programs in-services invited speakers to get hem motivated about staying healthy. Each in-service started off with walking and enjoying a bottle of cold water upon their return. This got the blood pumping and they were eager to learn. The volunteers took at pre-test and post-test and out of the 24 participants, 83% returned both. Out of these 70% of the individuals improved in one or more category in just one month. The biggest improvement was in walking more and having a better diet. Next was improved general health and then healthier dental habits.

To make the fitness program more fun the Foster Grandparent Program designed a “Summer Olympics” challenge to help them achieve their goals. Points were given in several categories and gold medals were given to anyone who scored between 180 to 224 points. Silver were given between 140 to 179 points and Bronze from 100 to 139 points.

Gold medal winners were Carol Nash, Darlene Richards, and Jerrie Wagner; Silver winners were Lorena Eichthaler, Sue Rhodes, Karen Taylor and Helen Weinmaster; Bronze medalists were Lori Bairn, June Parker; Ginny Spencer and Holly Zitterkopf.

For more information about the Foster Grandparent Program or to join the program, please call Cathy Schumacher at 308-633-3348.

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