DOT’S BEAT: Celebrate our Children

by Dot Helling

As we enjoy our July summer activities and celebrate holidays such as Independence Day, let’s also celebrate our children.

While substitute teaching at the Union Elementary School this spring, I was struck by what a special place this is for kids. Few places in the world provide the environment for kids that exists in Central Vermont. Our kids are loved, secure, and well-educated. They have ample extracurricular activities and healthy living models. They can walk to school, ride bikes around town with their friends, and play kickball in our neighborhood streets.

Montpelier hosts a myriad of kid-friendly events. The first Friday in June hundreds of kids pre-school through sixth grade participate in the annual Central Vermont Runners Kids Track Meet, which includes running events, the softball throw and long jump. Each participant is #1 and receives a T-shirt and a medal.

Earlier in the spring Central Vermont Runners hosts the kid-friendly Barre Town Spring Run at the Barre Town Elementary School. The event draws dozens of kids wearing their school shirts. School spirit soars. Montpelier’s elementary school program offerings include field trips to places such as the Shelburne Museum, an ongoing reading program, outings to the Nature Center and participation in municipal programs like the Montpelier Tree Board’s St. Paul Street tree project.

The Middle School offers its own such events as well as the Girls on the Run program. The City has the ice rink in the winter, the outdoor pool in the summer, plus many holiday events including the Enchanted Forest in Hubbard Park at Halloween and the Family Olympics, Montpelier Mile, and parade on our July 3 Independence Day. Onion River Sports, now Onion River Outdoors, sponsors an annual kids bike in the July 3 parade regaled with retro riders, streamers, and antique cycles.

I encourage each of you, especially if you have not been a parent, to spend a day with a kid. Take a kid on an outing, to a festival or a BBQ. Volunteer to read to them or participate in a program like Girls on the Run. Experience our world through the curious, bright and eager eyes of a child. Let’s celebrate our kids this month in special ways.

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