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Fitness and fun

June 27, 2002|By JONATHAN DALE, Sports Writer

One thing's for certain: The kids at the Summer Fun & Fitness Camp at the Imperial Valley Gymnastics Club in El Centro sure know how to exercise.

The camp, halfway through its second week, focuses on the importance of exercise to children.

"The main thing is to get these kids to understand how important it is to exercise their muscles and to do it properly," explains I.V. Gymnastics Club coach Dianna Castaneda.

The campers, who are as young as 5, will continue learning gymnastics skills ranging from somersaults and cartwheels to trampoline and balance beam maneuvers during the remaining two and a half weeks of the camp.

Castaneda gives examples to the campers of what muscles are important for each exercise in hopes of teaching the children more than just gymnastics. She thinks there are too many Imperial Valley youngsters who aren't getting the proper exercise their bodies need while growing up.

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"I feel that the kids need to spend more time exercising their hearts, being active," Castaneda said.

Castaneda thinks that by promoting fitness with kids and getting them more active in their communities, they will understand how important it is to exercise.

Judging by a couple campers' remarks Wednesday, she is achieving her goal.

"I enjoy the exercise," Steve McFaddin, a 12-year-old from El Centro, said. "Gymnastics is the best ever."

He also said he enjoyed playing the games that Castaneda plans for each day of the camp.

Five-year-old Susana Irigoyen of Holtville agreed with McFaddin, saying, "I like to exercise. I have a lot of fun here!"

Her favorite part of the camp is doing maneuvers on the bars, especially the pullovers.

To help keep the campers entertained, Castaneda has included a different theme for each week of the camp. Last week's theme was "Beach Week," with this week's theme being "Arts and Crafts Week." The camp is dark the week of July 4, starting again July 8 with "Law Enforcement Week" and "Mystery Week" for the final three days of the camp.

The camp is open each of the next two weeks from 8 a.m. to noon Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Those interested in attending should drop by the club at 260 E. Main St., or call at 353-9558. Cost is $45 per week with snacks provided for the campers by the club.

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