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Healthfully having fun

Members of the Friendship Club reach for their toes during an outdoor activity July 1. Friendship club encourages health in all areas of life.

As they sat around a large table coloring, the 15 or so kids, attending Friendship Club at the Rosemount Family Center chatted about what vacations they had coming up. Each chimed in with where they were going and what they planned to see.

The conversation then turned to what games they would play next. Led by employees of University of Minnesota Extension office, Friendship Club offers fun, fitness and healthy snacks for kids on Mondays and Thursdays through the summer.

"We like to get the kids active," said Yare Wilder, one of the club's leaders.

After serving the kids a snack, Wilder took the kids outside to play a game. Wilder said they like to switch the games up. They play kickball, flag football and 500, among other things.

"We just try to have fun with them," said Wilder.

On Thursday the kids played a fitness game. Each child rolled two dice. One die had a number on it the other had types of exercise such as jumping jacks, push-ups or leg lifts.

Grace Lawbeerjour said she likes playing games and getting outside. Lawbeerjour attended Friendship Club with her sister, Faith, and brothers Elijah and Ethan.

"It's fun and you get to meet people," said the 9-year-old.

In particular Lawbeerjour said she likes making rockets out of pop bottles. While not totally compliant with the club's goal to provide healthy snacks the kids got soda on Thursday in anticipation of making the rockets Monday.

"The kids love them," said Wilder with a big smile.

Taylor Dozois likes hanging out with her friends at the twice-weekly meetings. She also likes the healthy snacks.

"Last time was really fun we got to make our own trail mix," said Dozois.

Health is a main theme of the club. Besides promoting healthy relationships, instructor Jenna Morrow said they encourage healthy eating by providing snacks that fall within the Simply Good Eating program.

Simply Good Eating is a nutrition program developed by the University of Minnesota. During some of the Friendship Club meetings, instructors from the Simply Good Eating program will teach the kids how to prepare healthful things to eat.

"It's a lot of fruits and vegetables," said Morrow.

Family Resource center coordinator Shira Rabinowicz said the program is great for the kids that attend.

"It's a healthy, safe environment to hang out and the kids learn to respect themselves and each other," said Rabinowicz.

Friendship Clubs meet all over Dakota County. In Rosemount they meet from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Monday and Thursday at the Rosemount Family Resource Center. The club is free and open to any kid of any age. They just have to show up at the Rosemount Family Resource Center.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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