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Tree House Children Celebrate Their First Boilermaker

Jul. 26, 2009

July 26, 2009 (Utica, NY) —  The Tree House After School Program conducted a training project to help ready dozens of its children for the Boilermaker Kids Run.  The event was a success and, not only did the kids have a great time, they became educated on fitness and on ways to continue living a healthy lifestyle.

The Kids Run, sponsored by Utica National, celebrated its 21st year when 1800 kids ran the short course on July 11 at the Masonic Care Community.  The event was free to all children ages 4 to 12.

"I thought the Kids Run was a huge success this year," said Mary Kurdziolek, co-chair of the Kids Run and senior research analyst at Utica National.  "We were really lucky with the weather and everyone involved had a wonderful time.  It's a great way to get the youngsters involved in Boilermaker weekend and the sport of running."

Dan Baissa, group leader and sports coordinator at the Tree House, coached the kids on proper ways to run and also educated them on the rules and regulations of the Kids Run for race morning.

"It was as if many of us caught the Boilermaker bug," he said.  "The kids were very excited throughout and I think, most importantly, they were able to obtain valuable skills which they can use for the rest of their lives."

The after school program, located in Whitesboro, is made up of nearly 60 children, ranging from ages 5 to 13.  All of the students trained while a few dozen participated in the Boilermaker event.

"I believe the Tree House program did a great job in getting the kids prepared for the run," Kurdziolek continued.  "All of them said that they had a great time and were looking forward to running again next year.  It's refreshing to see the program coordinators take an active role in promoting health and fitness among the youth that they serve."

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield has always placed an emphasis on nutrition and fitness. They awarded the Tree House with a grant called "Kids Take Control" to aid with that mission.  "We're so proud of the kids for training and participating in the Boilermaker Kids Run", said Eve Van de Wal, regional president for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. "By getting the children involved in healthy activities now, we can help put them on the road to a lifetime of good health." The health insurance company also presented the Tree House a Wii Fit for after the race.  It is an interactive Nintendo feature which allows for the children to be physically active while enjoying the excitement of a video game.

"We are starting to use the Wii Fit system here at the Tree House," Biassa concluded.  "But our main focus is still on running and playing games outside.  On rainy days however, it is nice to break out the video game for some exercise and interactivity."