The Star-Herald

The Aroostook Medical Center finds Winter Challenge a success

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The Aroostook Medical Center’s Fit & Fun program was designed to provide low- or no-cost community events to inspire a healthy lifestyle, but it took on a slightly different look this season.

To help encourage kids, adults, and families to get or stay active this winter, TAMC created a Fit & Fun Winter Challenge, partnering with local businesses to host events. As incentive to attend events, participants could have a passport card punched along the way, and earned prizes after a certain number of punches.

Prizes included a warm headband for attending three events, along with a sports bag, travel mug, and sweatshirt or hoodie.

“The reaction to the challenge has been fantastic,” said Jamie Guerrette, community health specialist at TAMC. “We’ve seen a lot of new faces this winter, and they’re really enjoying the events we’ve been offering.”

The challenge has included outdoor and indoor events to choose from, such as free skating at the Forum, sliding at the Presque Isle Housing Authority, a snowshoe hike and skiing activities at Bigrock in Mars Hill and at both Quoggy Jo and the Nordic Heritage Center in Presque Isle.

Steven Marcel of Presque Isle, age 6, has been to almost all the events so far, with his grandmother Becky Martinez safely in tow.

“He enjoys all the activities. It’s good to keep him active with other kids, and it wasn’t really expensive,” said Martinez. “I’d like to see it continue all year round.”

Events still to come for the Winter Challenge include free bowling on Saturday, March 17, from 3 to 5 p.m. at Northern Lanes in Presque Isle, and the challenge wraps up with Family Night at UMPI on Thursday, March 22, with free access to the rock wall, walking track and fitness classes with Kelli Marston.

As a result of the resounding success of the Fit & Fun Winter Challenge, Guerrette said TAMC is currently developing a spring challenge that would mirror it.

“As we work toward developing a Spring Challenge, we welcome local businesses or organizations to contact us if they’d like to be a part of it,” she said. “We are always looking for new activities to add to keep things exciting and fun for people.”

For information email jguerrette@emhs.org or call 768-4008.

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