Team of young volunteers add fit trail to city park

 Centre High School volunteers Taylor Peterson, Kristin Vinduska, Kassie Thomp?son and Abigail Svoboda build the knee-lift and toe-raise station?one of 20 stations that comprise the new fit trail in Lincolnville?s community park. About 40 students, mostly junior high through high school, signed up to help with the project. All of the volunteers received a T-shirt, courtesy of the city council. The community park in Lincolnville was humming with activity Sunday, Sept. 22, afternoon as 30 to 40 Centre students joined with a handful of adults to volunteer their energy and brain power to help install a 20-station ?fit trail? for the local public.

The fit trail, which includes a series of all-weather, low-impact exercise stations, was acquired with the help of a $15,000 grant through the Kansas Health Foundation.

?We really geared it to the community as a whole,? said Sherri Pankratz, a city council member who has been spearheading several park improvements the past few years.

?We don?t really have places close by where we can go exercise. Some of these stations are going to use a lot more muscle, so kids could actually get more with sit-ups, push-ups, different varieties of that.?

Pankratz said the fit trail is adaptable for seniors, too.

?While I was digging holes yesterday we had a gentleman who said, ?How am I supposed to be able to do any of this, I can?t exercise?? I said, ?Yeah, but on the next station you just sit on the bench and bend over and stretch.? He said, ?Oh, I can do that.??

Pankratz said she was grateful so many Centre students signed up to help. They were ?paid? with a Centre T-shirt paid for by the city, as well as a hot-dog feed later in the day.

Pankratz was impressed how the students organized themselves, worked together and took on tasks that were new to them.

?We seem to be doing things that most of the kids aren?t used to be doing,? she said. ?It?s a challenge. I?ve got moms over there who have never put things together other than a coffee table?so it?s entertaining. They?re having fun.?

Pankratz said helping with the project can benefit students in other ways, too.

?Community service is a good thing and it looks really good on a college application,? she said. ?If they choose to ask us to write something stating that they helped, we can document it with the pictures, and verify how many hours they helped?and didn?t have to.

?It may help them get into some college, if they choose,? she added. ?I don?t know.?

With this latest project, Pankratz said nearly $45,000 has been invested so far in park improvements in recent years.

?There?s so much money out there if a person wants to fill out the grants and do the work,? she said. ?The community seems to want it, and the kids have rallied together.?

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