PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — When Kylie Stewart first moved to Presque Isle three years ago with her three children, they were sitting in a new but strange home packed with boxes on a Friday evening, wondering what to do on their first weekend in Aroostook County.
“We were new here, we didn’t know a soul, and the only activity we had really done was buy curtains,” she said Saturday. “My kids were just in elementary school and they were pretty bummed about being new and friendless, so I was hoping to get them out to do something fun with kids their own age.”
Stewart found what she was looking for when she came across an announcement for the University of Maine at Presque Isle’s Fit and Fun Day, a popular day of activities and exercise for area youth. She piled her boys into the car and took them to an event that they “absolutely loved” and still attend.
“All three of them met some future classmates and knew people by the time they went to school,” she said. “They also got really into cup stacking. They still have competitions at our home.”
The college will host its 12th semiannual Fit and Fun Day this Saturday, Oct. 2, from 10 a.m. to noon in Gentile Hall. It is sponsored by UMPI’s Physical Education Majors Club and ACE Rent-a-Car.
For the past several years, the club has organized the free play day for area children in grades 1 through 5 to teach them about health and fitness in a fun environment. Activities will include parachute games, cup stacking and flying discs, among others.
During past events, children have packed the gymnasium, running, tagging each other and squealing with delight as they competed against each other, tried new games and worked up a sweat. The activity also introduced them to Gentile Hall, which features a rock climbing wall, a fitness center, an indoor running track, a swim-ming pool, a gymnasium and more. The center is open to both UMPI students and members of the community. Stewart said that she continues to take her children their several times a month.
This year, the climbing wall will be open to all Fit and Fun Day participants. The swimming pool will also be open at noon. Each child that participates in the day’s activities will receive a free prize and there will be a raffle for parents.
Parents also will have the opportunity to take part in a walking club that will be making loops around the elevated track that overlooks the gym where children will be playing.
Registration for the event will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 9:45 a.m. If the weather is nice, organizers might include some outdoor activities during the event — participants are urged to bring a jacket and dress for the outdoors. Participants also should bring snacks.
For more information, call Chris Standefer at 768-9457.