PEMBERVILLE, Ohio -- The Wood County Fun Bus has been making the rounds this summer, and organizers want to get out the word that it will continue to do so through Aug. 17.
"We travel to nine area parks and community centers each week, and children between the ages of 5 and 12 are invited to participate," said Kim Coriell, Fun Bus director.
Based at the Fort Meigs YMCA Center for Health Promotion in Perrysburg, the gaily painted small school bus is on the road Monday through Friday with a new theme each week for its activities. It makes two stops a day, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 4 p.m. On Friday there is only a morning session.
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The morning and afternoon stops, respectively, are: the public library in North Baltimore and Martin Park in Cygnet on Mondays; Lusher Park in Walbridge and Friendly Village West Park, Perrysburg Township, Tuesdays; Lawndale Family Community in Weston and Labino Park, Grand Rapids, Wednesdays; Luckey Elementary in Luckey and Memorial Park, Pemberville, Thursdays; and Loop Park, Walbridge, on Fridays.
Funding comes from the United Way of Greater Toledo, and the program is operated by the YMCA/JCC of Greater Toledo.
Ms. Coriell comes up with the activities themes, such as "Get to Know You Week," which she used for the program's first week early last month and focused on name tags and name games. During "America Week," the week of July 4, the emphasis was on things red, white, and blue.
"The idea is to keep children active and improve their health and wellness by providing fun, alternative activities near their homes," she said. "With each activity, we want to keep them active either mentally or physically, we want to set a positive example with children maintaining a level of respect and kindness for each other, and finally, we want to have fun."
The program is a hit with educators. Brent Welker, superintendent of Eastwood Local Schools, said he was "very pleased with the work of the YMCA," and happy to see the Fun Bus visit Pemberville and Luckey in his district. The activities, he added, "are well designed and fun for the kids."
The theme last week was "Mad Scientist Week." Ms. Coriell and counselors Amanda Walsh and Nate Zachrich had the children coat Popsicle sticks with baking soda. They sprayed the sticks with vinegar and watched them fizz up like a mad scientists's flask of chemical solution.
The youngsters also tie-dyed bandannas and made slime out of glue, water, food coloring, and borax. They played lawn checkers, dodge ball, and capture the flag.
At Memorial Park in Pemberville, Mya Tuttamore, 9, said she liked dodge ball. "It's my favorite," Mya said. Her opinion was seconded by Austin Fry, 9, and Mason Glaze, 10. "But I like all the sports," Mason said.
Ms. Coriell is in her second summer as Fun Bus director. The rest of the year she is a student of veterinary medicine at St. George's University, Grenada. "Even though this isn't my ultimate dream goal for a career, I do enjoy seeing the kids get so excited every week," she said. "I enjoyed reconnecting with them after a year. They said, 'Hey, I remember you.' "