Tree House Program Prepares Kids for Boilermaker Run

(Jun. 15, 2009)

June 15, 2009 (Utica, NY) — The Tree House After School Program is dedicated to keeping its youth active and healthy.  This year, the organization has teamed up with the Boilermaker Road Race and Excellus BlueCross BlueShield to provide kids with a platform to become more educated about living a healthy lifestyle while training for the Boilermaker Kid's Run, sponsored by Utica National.

The after school program, located in Whitesboro, is made up of nearly 60 children, ranging from ages 5 to 13.  Marguerite Edwards, director of the Tree House program, stresses that their main goal has always revolved around health and fitness.

"This is part of our everyday philosophy: stay moving and eat healthy," she said.  "The plan to train the kids for the Boilermaker Kid's Run and educate them about healthy dieting and exercise fits perfectly into our organization's efforts.  Here at the Tree House, we feel that it is important to take on an active role in the community."

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, a sponsor of the Boilermaker, feels that nutrition and fitness is vital to our children's lives.   They awarded the Tree House with a grant called "Kids Take Control" to aid in this mission.  Moreover, the health insurance association will provide the Tree House with a Wii Fit upon the kid's completion of the race.  This interactive Nintendo feature allows for the children to be physically active while enjoying the excitement of a video game.

Edwards said that the kids participate in training activities 2-3 times per week.  Dan Baissa, a college student who works at the Tree House, assists with leading the youth in running exercises.  He is responsible for making sure all of the runners are prepared for race day.  There are nearly 45 kids participating in the training program.

Utica National has sponsored the Kid's Run for 20 years.  "We are very proud of the role that the Kid's Run plays in Boilermaker weekend," said Michael Austin, vice president and director of corporate communications at Utica National.  "Many of the Boilermaker events are geared towards adults, so this run gives the children in the community the opportunity to get involved, have fun, and help stay active and healthy at the same time.  The program put together by the Tree House Group and Excellus BlueCross BlueShield is impressive.  We want to keep reinforcing that message; that physical activity is not only healthy but also fun."

The Kid's Run takes place on Saturday, July 11 at 8:15 a.m. at the Masonic Care Community.  The event is free for all children ages 4 to 12.  For more information about the Tree House program, contact Edwards at (315) 768-6712.

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