Lil' Wampus Cats Expo planned

by Sonja J. Keith

A Physical Education Expo is in the works to promote health and wellness among Conway elementary students, their parents and others in the community.

In previous years, several elementary school physical education teachers have organized a health and fitness night.

This year, Brad Cowger, PE teacher at Ida Burns, proposed that the schools work together on one big event.

The free expo is planned 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 25, at Buzz Bolding Arena on the high school campus.

“It’s wonderful,” Cowger said of the facility. “It will give us a lot of space.”

Those attending will have an opportunity to participate in interactive activities as well as collect health-related information. “We want them to see what the community offers as far as wellness.” There will also be information on summer programs available for young people.

A dunking booth, face painting, a free throw contest and petting zoo are among the planned activities. Door prizes will also be given away.

“We try to make it a fun atmosphere,” Cowger said.

Between 50 to 60 different businesses, non-profit groups and government agencies are expected to participate. In addition, different student groups will be performing throughout the event. “There is no set agenda, just come and do what intrigues you.”

With nine elementary schools in Conway, Cowger anticipates a minimum of 1,000 to attend. “That’s a great turnout of kids and parents,” he said, adding that individuals don’t have to have elementary-age students to attend. He said the event is designed as a way to give back to the community while still promoting healthy and active lifestyles.

Organizers hope to make the expo an annual event. “We want it to be bigger and better every year,” Cowger said.

In addition to physical education teachers from throughout the Conway School District, the planning committee includes Amy Routt, group exercise coordinator/personal trainer at Conway Regional Health and Fitness Center, and Christine McKnelly, community health promotion specialist at the Arch Ford Educational Cooperative/Arkansas Department of Health.

The event is free, but business sponsorships and donations are being accepted to help defray expenses and raise funds to support physical education programs in the schools.

For more information, contact Cowger at [email protected].

“The goal is for the students and their families to be exposed to all of the wonderful health and wellness opportunities our community provides.  It will be a great night!”