Mississippi BodyWalk Blog

being smart from the inside out

Body Walk in February, March, April and May June 22, 2012

Body Walk did a lot of traveling in these months. So much, that I got behind on posts for each county. This is going to be one huge post, highlighting the best moments from each school. Every time I set up Body Walk is different. The location is different, the volunteers are different and the experience is different. However, there are many moments that are the same, and those good moments are what make this job a great one, and one I am privileged to do week after week.

The students experience wonder, excitement, the thrill of discovery, and a little gross out. Science, specifically science about the human body is fascinating and a little bit gross. I love the hear a group of kids squeal when they first see the black lung. I love to hear the gasps of awe as they come into the gym and see THE WHOLE THING set up and HUGE in what is usually a big empty space. When the tour is happening, I often walk around the outside, pausing to listen to the presenters and the questions from the students. Kids ask the most amazing questions.

“Can your lungs explode if you breathe in too hard?” No, definitely not.
“My favorite food is chocolate, that’s why I eat it every day.” Maybe you should try fruit or low-fat ice cream so you don’t tired of chocolate.
“Do men have more ribs than women?”-true question, and we all know the answer to that one 😉
“Are we gonna get a shot?”-no, BW never gives shots

One of my favorite trips this year was to Choctaw county, Ackerman. My nephew goes to Ackerman and this is the first time I had a family member be close when I was setting up. The principal here was great. I started to come in the wrong way and found out just in time the awning was too low for my truck. He gave some of the best hand signals I have ever seen to help me back up, and then get backed up to the gym doors. Simply fantastic. Once set-up was done, I got to go to the afterschool room and get G and bring him to the gym. He got his own private tour of the whole exhibit and he LOVED it. My sister said when she picked him up, he insisted she come see the ‘new gym’ and that aunt Katie did this! all.by.herself! He is four, and thus easily impressed. Still, I am thrilled he thinks I’m that strong, lol. Traci Mongeon booked BW for her county. She had a lot of help from Juli Hughes, county director, as well as her fellow agents. Local high school students also volunteered as station presenters and they all did a great job. We saw kids from Ackerman Elem, Weir and French Camp.

High performing schools want the best programs, like BODY WALK.

Even dragons know you should play hard to keep your heart healthy.

Student volunteers who worked inside the BW exhibit. They should all have huge grins because they did a GREAT job.

First stop in March was to West Lowndes Elem in Lowndes county. Sharon Patrick booked this trip for her county. I had been to this school several years ago and it was nice to already be familiar with the gym layout. Most of the volunteers were Extension agents. It was great to see so many familiar faces. Kindergarten through fifth grade went through at this school.

Organ Andy shows off his guts. These are the OrganWise Guys and they want YOU to keep them healthy.

Next up was Sharkey Issaquena Academy in Sharkey county. It was nice to work with Robert Martin again. Robert has retired now, so this the last Body Walk he and I will do together. This was a great setup. We had nursing students for the volunteers and they were fantastic. As I said, I walk around the exhibit, checking on things throughout the day. One boy asked the volunteer, “Why is that lady peeking in at us?!” Kids don’t miss a thing!

Banner on the table in Sharkey County.

Queen of Hearts in the Heart Station

Last stop in March was to George county and a set up at Lucedale Elem School. Melissa Yarber booked BW for her county. This was a good, but HOT trip. The gym had no A/C and while most gyms don’t, this far south in March, it was quite warm. We all made it through though and the kids had a good time. K-3rd at this school learned how to be ‘smart from the inside out.’

No matter how hot it gets, water is ALWAYS the best thirst quencher.

First trip in April was a little closer to home in Union county. Gina Wills booked BW for her county. Here we say third grade from five schools. This county likes to see all the kids in the county, so no one is left out. To do that, they only book the 3rd grade. This works out great. East Union, West Union, New Albany, Ingomar, and Myrtle all had their third graders go through. Gina and Beverly Brooks were great to work with. The kids went through all the stations of the BW, they went to an anti-smoking booth, they stopped at a healthy eating booth, and they worked out for 5-10 minutes. The kids got LOTS of healthy living information and had a great time learning.

Healthy Eating Guide

The next trip was a great joy for me just because of how much I love Natchez. Jason Jones booked BW for Adams county. This trip, I set up at Frazier Primary. Here we saw all the first and second grade students. This was a big school, because just those two grades was 614 students. We had adult volunteers in all the stations from Americore. I have worked with Americore before and this time was another good experience. It was a great trip and I got to have tamales.

Americore volunteers

Last trip of April was to Pike county. Latoya Evans booked BW for her county. This was a trip where I had great directions and the inability to follow them, lol. I got lost TWICE and it was my own fault both times. Thank goodness for parking lots where I can turn around. Here, we saw third and fourth grade. Over four hundred students toured the BW, learning how to be healthy by making good choices in what they eat and how they spend their time. Drink water! Run and play!

Great sidewalk at North Pike Elementary.

The final trip of this traveling year was to Itawamba county, booked by Marie Rogers. This was another gym I have been to before. Marie always does a great job planning, having plenty of volunteers, and just being wonderful to work with. It was good to see Romona Edge, County Director, again as well as Amy Riley. Here, the high school football team helped with the set up. In the past, it has been the college football team. This time, the boys worked really well together and they listened much more than I expect teenage boys to do. I made sure to tell the coach how I appreciated not having to shout over them, or get on to them for playing. They just followed directions and everything was finished in no time. 🙂

See you in September!

And that was the last stop for Body Walk 2011-2012. The truck will roll again in September. Until then, I am hard at work behind the scenes to make next years BW better than ever. I hope to have super good news to share with you all soon-ish. Have a great healthy summer! Drink water, wear sunscreen and a hat, and eat those fresh ripe fruits and veggies!