The Star-Herald

Northern Light kicks off New Year with winter activities for families

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Northern Light A.R. Gould Hospital has begun the 2018-2019 winter season with various events and activities that families can enjoy together.

The hospital officially began its second annual winter season of the Fit and Fun Challenge in December with various holiday events and will kick off the New Year with activities that aim to promote physical fitness and personal wellness during the coldest months of the year.

Some of the various outdoor events will include family snowshoeing at the Nordic Heritage Center from 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 19, and free lift tickets and ski lessons at Quoggy Jo from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 20, and Sunday, Feb. 3, with both venues located in Presque Isle. Aroostook State Park will partner with Northern Light to host its annual Family Fun Day on Saturday, Feb. 23, that will offer cross-country skiing, a sledding and tubing hill, and more activities for f $1.50 for folks ages 12 to 64. The event is free for all other ages.

“We like to offer a variety of events so that if families don’t necessarily want to go skiing, they could perhaps try snowshoeing, sliding or ice skating,” said Jamie Guerrette, community health specialist for Northern Light.

As with past Fit and Fun seasonal challenges, community members will be able to earn prizes by getting their special Fit and Fun challenge card punched. This year, folks were able to pick up their punch cards early, as the series began on Dec. 1 with Northern Light’s reception at their North Street location before the Holiday Light Parade in Presque Isle.

With three punches on their card, event participants will receive a free lunch bag. For their sixth, ninth and 12th punches, folks will receive a free water bottle, pedometer, and Northern Light T-shirt or sweater, respectively.

This year, Northern Light expanded the Fit and Fun Winter Challenge to begin with the light parade reception and include their annual Lights of Life tree lighting, the Presque Isle Historical Society’s Victorian Christmas at the Estey House, and a Snowshoe with Santa event at Nordic Heritage Center. Children who participated in the Victorian Christmas tours received a free jump rope as well as card punches toward the regular prizes.

“We’re always looking for new ideas and events to partner with the community on, so if any organization is hosting a free or low cost outdoor event we would love to collaborate with them,” Guerrette said.

Keeping all Fit and Fun events either free or at a low cost for families is one of the incentives of the series that Guerrette thinks keeps hundreds of people coming back year after year. Attending a ski or snowshoe activity, she said, can allow many families to try new winter activities together without investing in equipment or season passes.

But the main goal of the Fit and Fun Winter Challenge has continued to be encouraging all people to remain active and healthy throughout the winter months.

“It’s hard to become motivated when the temperatures are cold and it gets dark outside early, but sometimes all it takes is one trip outside to stick with a New Year’s resolution,” Guerrette said.

For a complete list of Fit and Fun Winter Challenge events, visit the Northern Light A.R. Gould Hospital Facebook page.

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