Kids getting fit: Children learn value of exercise in annual event

HARLINGEN — “Up, down! Up, down! Go to the side. Try not to hit each other.”

Celena Cavazos, physical therapy assistant from the Bod Squad, was leading a group of cheerleaders through some exercises yesterday morning at the Junior League’s Harlingen Kid-Fit 2018.

The event at Fair Park had drawn thick crowds of people interested in getting fit. The Junior League organized the annual event in partnership with Footworks, the city and the school district.

“It’s taken a strong, dedicated group of women leaders of the Junior League to produce this event,” said Maru De La Paz, chairperson of Kid Fit.

“This event required forethought, planning and a true loving purpose to enhance the quality of life for our community,” she said.

The activity began with a one-mile run and continued with an obstacle course, exercise sessions and a dunking booth. Vendors spread throughout the park shared information about health.

Maria Watson led a group of women through some vigorous Zumba moves.

“I love it,” said Watson, who’d worked up a sweat in the morning sun.

“I love to see people getting exercise,” added Watson, Zumba instructor for the city.

One of the exercise enthusiasts who’d just finished the session couldn’t say enough about it.

“I love to dance,” said Isela Rodriguez, 24. “This is my first year coming.”

She was also a volunteer student from Texas State Technical College.

“We’re trying to make people aware of bullying,” she said.

Everyone seemed to be enjoying the morning activity.

“It’s really good, really nice,” said Jacob Perez, 11, who was visiting from Dallas.

“The weather is really good out here,” he added.

He and his cousin Aiden Kersey had just finished some exercise routines across the park.

“The squats were really hard,” they both seemed to say at once.

Various musical and dance acts were taking turns on stage showing their stuff. Others were doing exercise and dance routines.

“I know you all are concerned about your abs, you are too young to worry about that yet,” said Bod Squad owner Renea Perez.

She was guiding a group of Coakley Middle School cheerleaders in their blue uniforms through some moves. While they all seemed tired afterwards, they enjoyed it immensely.

“It was good and energizing,” said Deeandra Henderson, 14, an eighth grader at Coakley Middle School.