Live Fit Challenge gets kids moving, trying different sports

Live Fit Challenge gets kids moving, trying different sports
As Olympians prepared for the opening ceremony in London yesterday, 11-year-old Kaseim Morris-Pace had the chance to show off his basketball skills, try his hand at fencing and attempt a stunt with a former Ohio State University cheerleader here in Columbus. And he couldn’t get enough of it.
“I could go on forever,” said Kaseim, who will be in sixth grade at Columbus Collegiate Academy this fall.
About 1,000 children between the ages of 5 and 14 participated in the 10th annual Live Fit Challenge in Ohio State’s French Field House. After-School All-Stars, a national nonprofit organization that provides after-school programs, hosted the daylong event.
Ayisha Marawi, community relations and events coordinator for After-School All-Stars, said 23 recreation centers from across Columbus bused children to the event in the morning; an additional 15 brought children in the afternoon.
Youths could stay the whole day or just half, and they had 18 different activities from which to choose. Activities ranged from soccer to Zumba, double Dutch to boxing. There also was an arts and crafts station outside the field house for those who weren’t as interested in athletics.
“The goal was to get our (participants) into something that they’ve never tried, because you never know, it may be a gateway to an activity they have a passion for,” said Nicole Staples, After-School All-Stars spokeswoman and event planner.
Some of the participants, like Kaseim, were tireless, excited to spend the whole day at Ohio State. But organizers said one reason for the half-day option was because some children were ready for a nap by lunchtime.
“I saw one curled up, sucking her thumb,” Marawi said. “She clearly got her workout for the day.”
To help kids refuel, Jersey Mike’s Subs donated 1,200 sandwiches. Wal-Mart donated stacks of bottled water almost as tall as some of the children.
Staples said there were plenty of other donations, including the gift bags each participant received. “If we paid for everything, it would be around $50,000,” Staples said. “We only pay for a fraction of that.”
Professional athletes and coaches, including former OSU cheerleader Mallory Mitchell, martial artist Tokey Hill and recently retired Columbus Crew player Frankie Hejduk, came to work with participants. Kaseim was impressed.“Everybody should be able to do this.”