This past Sunday, September 9, the Kids Adventure Challenge presented by Gazelle Sports was held at John Ball Park Zoo in Grand Rapids.  I am so proud that this event was created, organized and held for many reasons.

First, I am proud that so many families and kids came out to pursue a unique, fun and challenging event. It was decided to have a maximum of 500 participants, and that number was reached even though it was a first year event. The idea of adventure (exercise) as a fun family activity is a real symbol of a healthy family. It is common sense that as kids are exposed to exercise as fun and meaningful that they will do it more frequently.

Second, I am proud of our Gazelle Sports staff that took this idea and ran (literally) with it. The event committee of Tessa Talsma, Tiler Webster, Bridget Meyers and Mark VanTongeren imagined and developed a great event. It is never easy to put on a new event, and one that has many different aspects like the Kids Adventure Challenge is even more difficult. However, this A team was up to it, and provided a fun, safe and encouraging day of movement.

Third, I am proud that Gazelle Sports raised money for an important local organization that supports kid’s health every day – the Grand Rapids Boys and Girls Club. And I am even more excited that the Boys and Girls Club had kids that were participants in the Kids Adventure Challenge. I am also proud that Gazelle Sports was able to collaborate with the John Ball Park Zoo to host the event. Communities are healthier when diverse organizations and individuals are willing to work together.

And finally, I am very proud that this event was created due to Gazelle Sports being recognized by The North Face as the 2011 winner of the Never Stop Exploring Award, recognizing the store’s programs that encourage both kids and parents to get outside and push their personal limits.  The North Face provided $5000 to Gazelle Sports to use to amplify the effort to get people outside and moving.

The success in participation, in diversity, in collaboration, in community building, in fund raising, and in just plain fun through movement is a testament that we can all contribute to transforming West Michigan into the healthiest region in the nation! And I believe we will.

Keep Moving,