470 (8/5/09)

     We had a special treat last Saturday morning at Trail Guards.  Mr. Bill Virant, Paynesville Elementary Physical Education instructor, brought us his energy, knowledge, and creativity, and provided a program the kids will never forget.

     Mr. Virant’s program last year focused on “M and M’s,” meaning moderation (in foods) and movement (as in “exercise”).  This year’s message was framed as the “X-Files,” the “X” standing for experimentation (in snack foods), the “Files” meaning “F for fun.”

     The kids learned about some very healthy snack foods, and how good they actually taste, as Bill had them try, one by one, a wide variety of nuts and fruits.   Many were surprised to find how satisfying they all were, and it surely opened a new door for some.

     Then it was on to the fun, this year with a parachute.  Mr. Virant had a variety of parachute activities that got everyone moving and involved.  It was an experience none of us will soon forget.

     Another huge lesson in Bill’s program was the team building aspect of the games.  Kids learned that they can have fun playing games where they are supporting each other, rather than competing against each other.  It’s very bonding for a group, and is something we try to incorporate into all our Trail Guard activities.

     Thanks to board member Bill Virant for sharing himself with us, and to board member Pat Flanders for joining us later in the morning.

     Meanwhile, we got a lot of park work done, policed the park for litter, cleaned the restrooms and picnic shelter, and pulled more debris from the river.  Thanks to Carrie Robins from the Hawick/New London area for bringing her kids and their friends to help out for the morning.  They were an energetic and productive crew.

     We’re just a week and a half from our annual five-day BWCA trip, and I’m getting just as excited as the seven lucky kids who will join us.  Co-leader Michelle Kelly (St. Paul) and I are making final arrangements, and have a great adventure planned.