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Armbrust Awana Club enjoys reading scriptures and exercise

| Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013, 9:04 p.m.
For The Mt. Pleasant Journal
Lilly Standish, 4 of Youngwood executes a “freeze' dance move during a children's Zumba class held Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013 at the Armbrust Wesleyan Church in Armbrust. Marilyn Forbes | For The Mt. Pleasant Journal
For The Mt. Pleasant Journal
Laura Standish, 6, of Youngwood (left) and Lauren Harry, 6, of Hempfield take part in a children's Zumba activity held Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, at Armbrust Wesleyan Church in Armbrust. Marilyn Forbes | For The Mt. Pleasant Journal
For The Mt. Pleasant Journal
Brothers Laiban Baker, 4, and Trusyn Baker, 6, of Greensburg exercise during a children's Zumba session held Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013 at the Armbrust Wesleyan Church in Armbrust. Marilyn Forbes | For The Mt. Pleasant Journal
For The Mt. Pleasant Journal
Youth and adults alike enjoyed a night of exercise recently during a children's Zumba activity held Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013 at Armbrust Wesleyan Church in Armbrust. Marilyn Forbes | For The Mt. Pleasant Journal

The recently held meeting of the Armbrust Wesleyan Church's Awana Club included fun and education in addition to the group's regular weekly scripture recital session.

Beth Stradling — director of the church's children's ministries — said she decided to incorporate some activities and healthy eating tips into the Jan. 30 meeting.

“We have around 30 kids who come pretty regularly,” said Stradling of the group that includes children ages 2 through 12. “This week, we (were) doing Zumba, and we will also talked about healthy eating.”

Stradling said while the weekly gathering is faith-based, she likes to include something fun for the children.

“Every week, the children have to learn a Bible verse, but I also try to have some fun activities for the children to do,” Stradling said.

Stradling, who has been taking Zumba classes, has enjoyed the exercise so much that she invited instructor Carrie Standish to teach the kids the exercises set to music.

“I thought that it could be something that the kids would enjoy,” Stradling said. “(First Lady) Michelle Obama has a good message about the problems with childhood obesity and it has been weighing heavily on my mind. I don't really think that any of the kids here have a problem but, like with many things in life, it's always good to teach them things when they are young.

“If they adopt a good, healthy lifestyle now, it can be something that they will carry through adulthood.”

The evening also included a video about healthy eating, the Biblical story of “Daniel” and a nutritious snack, Stradling said.

Adult volunteer and mother Kristy Pollak said she likes to see the children enjoying themselves while learning, and that keeping the weekly group fresh is always paramount to its continued success.

“We try to do something different every week,” said Pollak said, adding that she enjoys bringing her three children to the group for interaction in a friendly setting. “They enjoy themselves and this is a good, Christian atmosphere.”

About 25 youths joined in the Zumba fun.

While Noah Lohr, 9, of Greensburg admitted he wasn't sure about trying the exercise, said he had fun.

“It certainly was interesting,” Lohr said. “I like to come every week to see my friends.”

While the group is composed mostly of children of parish families, Stradling said that all are welcome.

“Most of the kids that come are from the church, but we do have about six or seven who come just for the activities,” Stradling said. “Everyone is welcome, and we encourage kids from the area to attend if they are interested.”

Anyone who may be interested in joining the group that meets at 6:30 p.m. every Wednesday, can call 724-925-9110.

Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.

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