‘Day of Play’ proves healthy can be fun

Dylan Daye, 4, of Marksville listens to 4-H volunteer Gage Mills of Moreauville explain how dirt, water and seeds will turn a balloon into a garden. The radish seeds are put in the balloon. When the radish sprouts, the balloon is to be popped and the sprout replanted.

APCS cheerleaders (in white T-shirts) lead the line dancing activity, joined by 4-H volunteers (in colored shirts) during the “Day of Play” event at the AgCenter on Oct. 1. {Photo by Raymond L. Daye}

Morgan Mayeux (left) and Kennedy Laviolette, Moreauville seniors at APCS, presented the multi-activity “Day of Play” as their senior project.

Lisa Breaux leads a yoga program as part of the “Day of Play” at the AgCenter. Breaux is a yoga instructor, but her real joy is teaching kindergartners at Cottonport Elementary. {Photo by Raymond L. Daye}

William Vanderlick, a 4-H volunteer from Mansura, prepares a healthy fruit smoothie for 10-year-old Hanna Lemoine of Moreauville.

Aimee Hayes helps young Sarah and Jarrod Hayes get into the spirit of the healthy fun “Day of Play” at the LSU AgCenter on Oct. 1. The Plaucheville family was one of a few hundred visitors who came out on a perfect Autumn day to learn how to be healthier and have fun at the same time. {Photo by Raymond L. Daye}

 

    Being healthy doesn’t have to be boring, and snacks that are good for you can also taste good.
    That was the message behind the “Day of Play” event at the LSU AgCenter on Oct. 1.
   Developed, organized and produced by Avoyelles Public Charter seniors Kennedy Laviolette and Morgan Mayeux -- both from Moreauville -- the Saturday morning event attracted a few hundred children, parents and community supporters.
   Esther Boe, of the parish 4-H program, said the project serves as the senior project for both girls, to meet a requirement at APCS. It served double duty for Morgan, who also used it as her Healthy Living project for 4-H.
   “They talked to me about it and said they wanted to make it as big as they could,” Boe said. “They recruited the volunteers, developed the activities for the program and put everything together. 4-H helped with resources, supplies and making the area available to them to hold the event.”
   There were fun educational stations, such as creating healthy fruit smoothies, choosing good-tasting but less-sugar drinks and how to make your own salsa and how to pick a healthier chip to go with it.
   A popular event was the “balloon garden” -- which allowed the participants to plant radish seeds in a balloon. Once the radish sprouts, the plan is to pop the balloon and plant the sprout so it can continue growing into a radish.
 
Music  &  laughter
   Throughout the AgCenter grounds there was the sound of music and laughter.
  Perhaps the luckiest high school boy in Avoyelles Parish on that Saturday was Martin Vanderlick, who somehow managed to get surrounded by the APCS  cheerleaders -- being the only male, and by far the tallest, participant in the line dancing station.
   Those taking part in the line dancing performed such classics as “YMCA,” “Footloose” and “Macarena.”
   And what would a festival in October be without Oktoberfest’s traditional “chicken dance.”
  The yoga program, presented by yoga instructor and Cottonport kindergarten teacher Lisa Breaux, was also a popular stop for Day of Play visitors -- with participants ranging in age from 4-years to, well, older than that.
  “We did this to show kids that they can be healthy and have fun at the same time,” Morgan said.
  “We had the same idea for a project,” Kennedy added. “We wanted to show people how to be active and healthier. We want them to know that healthy foods can taste good, too.”
   While there was a lot of fun going on around the AgCenter, there was some serious business going on too.
  The LifeShare Blood Center donation station bus was set up at the back of the event grounds. Many grown-ups took advantage of the opportunity to do their part to help ensure there is blood available for area residents in the event of illness or accident.
   “It has been steady all day,” LifeShare technician Lucille Cotton said. “We’ve stayed busy.” 

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