Dakota Hospital Foundation, Sanford Vermillion will host celebration Aug. 7

By Travis Gulbrandson

travis.gulbrandson@plaintalk.net

Summer is quickly drawing to a close, and Vermillion residents will have a chance to get out and enjoy the nice weather when the Dakota Hospital Foundation and Sanford Vermillion hosts their 2013 Community Celebration next week.

The celebration will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 7, at Vermillion High School, and will offer a variety of activities for parents and kids.

“I think it’s about the fifth year we’ve had it,” said Mary Merrigan, director of public relations at Sanford Vermillion. “It’s really just a thank-you event that we like to host and invite the community (to). …

“We like to do it each year and just take a chance to bring the community together,” she said.

One of the activities that will be featured next Wednesday is Sanford Health’s Fit Initiative, which helps families know what healthy choices to make, the motivation to make them and how to put them into action.

“We have been working with the Dakota Hospital Foundation and Sanford Health on their Fit Kids program for the past year, and it will be rolling out in the school district this fall, so we’re really excited about it,” Merrigan said. “It’s really just a program that encourages … education with children on how they can make healthy habits for life.”

The program encourages these decisions in four different areas: Food, Move, Mood and Recharge, or nutritional fitness, physical fitness, emotional fitness and behavioral fitness, respectively.

“Sanford is building up programs for Fit Kids, and Vermillion has been a pilot site for some of the programs,” said Donna Hardie, program development coordinator for the Sanford Health Children’s Health and Fitness Initiative. “Therefore, they have had training in fit care, which is a program through the State of South Dakota for early childhood educators and daycare, so they can incorporate health and nutrition information in with their daily activities. It prepares the child care workers to do that.”

Hardie places much credit with the Dakota Hospital Foundation for getting these activities coordinated in the community.

For more information on the Fit Initiative, visit http://fit.webmd.com.

The Great Plains Zoo Mobile also will be returning to Wednesday’s event, marking the “fourth or fifth time” in a row, Merrigan said.

“They do a great job,” she said. “They usually bring down some fun animal-related artifacts that they tell their audiences about, but they also always bring some animals from the zoo. That usually includes a bird, some reptiles and sometimes some smaller (mammals).”

Residents also will have the opportunity to meet Dr. Chan Park, general surgeon, who joined Sanford Vermillion earlier this year.

Merrigan said the event has been well-attended in the past, drawing approximately 350 visitors last year.

“We would hope to get at least that many (next week),” she said. “We might get closer to 400 this year.”

She said that many people are drawn by the variety of activities the event offers.

“It’s a very family-oriented event, and I think that’s what people really enjoy about it, just being able to come,” Merrigan added. “It’s at a time when summer is winding down and they’re gearing up for school. The kids really enjoy all the activities, and the parents enjoy the camaraderie and seeing other community members and friends. It’s always a really nice time.”

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