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Chamber of Commerce teams up with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Capistrano Valley to promote activity and healthy eating during Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

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By Andrea Papagianis

Clad in turkey sunglasses and drumstick headbands, 150 children from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Capistrano Valley took to the center’s field Thursday afternoon for an obstacle course highlighting the power of movement during Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.

The Dana Point Chamber of Commerce teamed up with Jim Salvia, the club’s athletic director, to introduce the kids to the annual Dana Point Turkey Trot, which brings more than 10,000 racers to the Harbor each Thanksgiving, and kick start their training for the 1-mile kids’ run.

Known as the Gobble Wobble, the run is the turkey day’s marquee event, inviting families to come and “race before they stuff their face.”

“September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, the Turkey Trot is on Thanksgiving and we thought this was the perfect time to get kids involved and get them fit,” said Heather Johnston, executive director of the chamber.

With the whistle blown, one-by-one children raced through the course, complete with a jump rope challenge, plastic cone slalom, jumping jacks station and pool noodle hurdles.

The obstacle course fit right in with the club’s Triple Play program, which is held each Tuesday and Thursday, to get kids moving, active and learning how to take care of themselves, Salvia said. The program is a sponsored nationally by The Coca-Cola Company and includes a healthy eating curriculum, team sports and daily fitness and eating challenges.

Each week, for the next eight weeks, members of the Capistrano Valley club will run one mile leading up to the Gobble Wobble.

“Hopefully throughout the process the kids will train to run longer distances and faster and they and their families can participate in the event,” Salvia said.

Johnston added she didn’t think that would be a problem.

“With the energy these kids have, I think they could run the Turkey Tort about 12 times and not do any heavy breathing,” she said.

The chamber’s largest fundraiser will be held on Thursday, November 28 from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the OC Dana Point Harbor. Runs include a 5K, 10K and the 1-mile Gobble Wobble. Now through Monday, September 30 children can sign up to run the normally $15 Gobble Wobble for free when registered with an adult. For more information, visit www.turkeytrot.com.

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