Stormy encourages healthy choices

SARGENT - - The campaign to encourage kids to enjoy a healthier lifestyle has been catching a lot of steam, especially since Michelle Obama has been in the White House. One area athletic team has climbed aboard the healthy awareness train, taking their healthy message to school children across the state. The Tri-City Storm hockey team has just kicked off their fourth year of promoting healthy choices for kids, with their G.O.A.L. (Get Out And Live) Program. Storm players and Stormy the Mascot, along with team staff members, visit area schools to present the program. Stormy and two players, along with Director of marketing & Game Operations Kyle Means, visited Sargent Public School Monday afternoon, making their first appearance of the year. The team plans to visit nearly 20 schools across central Nebraska this year, educating students on the important issues of eating right, exercising and making healthy decisions. The team gave a 30-minute presentation to students in kindergarten through 6th grade. The program began with Means challenging the students with three things. Those are: 1) Be forward thinking - Eat healthy now, for the future. 2) Be opportunistic - Take advantage of good opportunities when they are presented to you. 3) Be self-disciplined - Take responsibility for yourself and make your own healthy choices. “Your parent or teacher is not with you every minute. You are in control of your own actions.” Following the presentation by Means, several students were selected to participate in a couple of challenging games. One of those was carrying a hockey puck on the end of a hockey stick, run around Stormy and back to the start line without losing the puck. The other was a fun game of “Stormy says” - which, of course, Stormy won. The students cheered loudly, though it was hard to tell if they were rooting for their classmates or just cheering on Stormy! Either way, everyone seemed to be having a good time - and it got the kids up and moving. Following the presentation, each student was given a “challenge card,” designed to help kids set a goal for themselves and strive to accomplish it. The challenge card required the students to take action in each of the three areas mentioned earlier. For example, the “be forward thinking” challenge requires the students to plan their meals for an entire day, then write down what they actually ate. The thought behind this process is to get kids pro-actively thinking about healthy foods and working to avoid unhealthy foods. A parent or teacher must sign off on each challenge on the student’s card. Once the student has successfully completed his/her challenge card, they are mailed in to the Storm office. A successful challenge card earns the student two free tickets to the Tri-City Storm hockey game Friday, Dec. 28, versus the Lincoln Stars.There will also be free ice skating following this game. Last year, more than 1,500 students completed the challenge and earned free hockey tickets, which are made possible through partnership with Affiliated Foods Midwest “We are continuing our effort to create healthier and happier kids in central Nebraska,” says Means.