By Michilea Patterson, The Mercury
It was all fun and games for the more than 1,000 people that came out to a celebration of children at Pottstown High School Saturday.
Whether it was petting animals, jumping through obstacles or getting face paintings; the community got to be kids for one fun-filled afternoon. For the first time ever, PEAK’s Pottstown Celebrates Young Children event was combined with the Pottstown YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day.
“This is the first time that we’ve partnered up together. I think they (the community) loved it. This was totally amazing,” said Lynn Seponski, Pottstown YMCA program director.
The YMCA Healthy Kids Day is a national event that happens every year and PEAK celebrated their 10th annual Pottstown Celebrates Young Children event Saturday. PEAK stands for Pottstown Early Action for Kindergarten Readiness. The organization is a partnership between the school district and community learning programs that prepare young children for success in school. Seponski said partnering with the school this year allowed them to provide more resources and activities to the community.
For two hours, the fun didn’t stop at the family celebration. Children danced to popular songs such as “Watch Me Nae Nae” by Silentó and participated in a Zumba demonstration from instructor Pam Kerestus. Several mascots including Pottstown High’s School’s Trojan Man helped keep the energy up. Local fire companies wowed children with their trucks, water hoses and high ladders. The Mercury’s Fit for Life and the Pottstown YMCA had an obstacle course. There were even tennis clinics.
Greater Pottstown Tennis & Learning, a nonprofit organization, used the courts at the high school to teach children basics about the sport. Executive Director Kerriann Herdelin said tennis teaches children both physical and nonphysical skills. They learn about hand and eye coordination, sportsmanship and the importance of making healthy choices, she said. Herdelin said the coaches are mentors to the kids.
“You can see the energy we try to bring to the kids to try to get them excited because tennis is not usually a sport you see out in Pottstown,” she said.
The organization offers free tennis clinics throughout the year and will host a tennis farm this summer. Herdelin said this was the first time they participated in the Healthy Kids Day and the PEAK celebration. She said putting resources together provides great opportunities for families.
Pottstown YMCA Executive Director Dan Albert said it was an awesome idea to combine events and bring so many different resources to one place.
“The more we as organizations in the community come together, the better this is all going to be,” he said.
PEAK coordinator Mary Rieck said Saturday’s celebration was another great event for Pottstown families. She said families had an opportunity to learn more about many community partners and local agencies. PEAK community engagement coordinator Jane Bennett said more than 50 local organizations came out Saturday including the celebration’s main sponsor Pottstown Memorial Medical Center. She said partnering with the YMCA and their resources just made the event even better this year.
“I just think this was a great day for Pottstown,” she said.