EL CENTRO- Children got their morning off to a running start at the fourth annual Boys and Girls Club of the Imperial Valley (BGCIV) Mini Olympics on Saturday held at the Naval Air Facility El Centro.
Close to 90 children from all the Boys and Girls clubs from Brawley, Holtville, and the NAF base participated in the Mini Olympics. Some for the first time, others were old hands at the competitions.
Children,split into ten teams, moved from station to station, each with a unique challenge.
The teams competed in fourteen events set around the field ranging from sprints, three legged races, a sponge relay, tug of war, and more.
“It’s a really fun experience to do,” said Bianca from Brawley, who was at the event for the second time, “It’s really good because it’s all challenging and I’m up for any challenge.”
“I like the Navy and sports,” said young Kain, “My favorite parts were the running and basketball.”
Velinda Cruz, coordinator for the NAF Boys and Girls Club, said everyone on base and the community was ready to help organize the event. NAF active duty officers were on deck to help run the activities, encouraging the children as they made their way through
the stations. Parent volunteers took charge of teams and stations. The NAF Fire Department stayed on scene for emergencies and a little wet fun afterwards.
“It sounded like fun, getting the kids exercising to be competitive,” said Devon Paderson, an AO3 officer who ran the tug of war station.
At the end of the day the children and volunteers were given medals for all their hard work and cooled down with lunch and a soaking courtesy of the NAF fire department.
“It is awesome!” said Augie, another Brawley student, “I would definitely do it again!”
The Mini Olympics are possible due to the partnership between NAF Child and Youth Program and the Boys and Girls Club. In 2013, the NAF program approached the BGCIV to do an activity together to promote the Boys and Girls Club and healthy lifestyles.
“We all come together and let the kids bond with other kids and have them compete in a healthy competition,” said executive director of BGCIV, Misty Lee, “The kids love it every year.”
This was also the Imperial Valley kick off for Boys and Girls Club Week, a week dedicated to raising awareness about the organization and the programs offered to children and the community.