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A healthier Hendrix Park
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Visitors to Hendrix Park in Black Creek will soon have healthier food choices on the concession menu.

During the Hendrix Park Youth Association meeting on Feb. 18 the board voted unanimously to add healthy foods like apples, bananas, and 100-calorie snack packs to the usual line up, after a presentation by Cristina Gibson and Karen Terry of the Coastal Health District about the growing problem of obesity.

The CHD is an umbrella organization over eight health departments, including Bryan County, and recently assisted the park in getting the Neos 360 to encourage family activity.

"We're trying to make a healthy choice an easy choice," Gibson told the board.

She said funds were available from the CHD for a pilot program, so the park can add the additional items to the menu to find out what works best.

Terry, youth development coordinator for CHD said she saw parks where apples were more popular with the kids than chips.

Recreation Director Pratt Lockwood agreed the idea was a good one.

"We're giving people an option, not taking anything away," he said.

The board also voted to implement two additional CHD programs aimed at getting families active and together, Media Smart View and P.R.I.D.E - Parents Reducing Incidents of Driver Error.

Media Smart View teaches children about media influence on food choices, and the importance of physical activity and nutrition, Gibson said, and P.R.I.D.E. is for parents and pre-driving age teens to do together, where children can grade their parents' driving.

CHD would provide the funding for the programs and teach board members and volunteers how to direct it so repeated offerings would be possible, Gibson said.

Recreation Board member Bryan Woods said the two would most likely be offered over the summer and in the fall, aiming to start in 2010, while the upgraded menu was hoped to be in place by baseball season.

Also in the works is a new HP scholarship program designed for North Bryan county residents who participate or volunteer at the park, the board decided.

There would be three $1,000 scholarships awarded based on multiple factors such as grade point average, an essay, HP involvement and residency, according to the discussion.

The scholarship would be a one-time fund that would have to be applied for each year, the board decided. It would also be a year-to-year process as funds were available, to begin in 2010.

Lockwood told the board the company contracted for the Hendrix Park master plan will meet with county officials soon and he expected a working document shortly thereafter.

"You'll be able to decide what works and what doesn't then we can put a final plan together," he said.

The HPYA recreation board is in the early planning stages of the 1st Annual Sports, Arts and Music Festival to be held at the park on May 2.

The SAM Festival will be an all day event where people can play sports, listen to music from any one of the three stages, as well as shop arts, crafts and food, according to Woods. There will also be a car show.

"We just got the go ahead on the festival and plan to make it a yearly event as part of our effort to bring more fun to the park that the whole family can enjoy," Woods said.

Look for more details about the festival in weeks to come.

Questions about the event or becoming a vendor can be directed to the recreation department at 858-4640.


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