OSWEGO, NY ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ Scores of youngsters rolled out Thursday for the fourth annual “Skate Bike Ride” event.
The event is planned in recognition of National Healthcare Month each year.
Oswego Health collaborated with the Red Planet Skate and Bike Park at 77 W. First St., Reality Check and the Oswego Fire Department.
The block in front of Red Planet was closed to motor vehicles to allow skaters and bikers to display their talents.
“This is a really nice turnout,” said Oswego Health Public Relations Manager Marion Ciciarelli. “It looks like we have more than last year, and the weather is better.”
More than 200 youngsters are estimated to have participated.
Besides the demonstrations, the event featured safety information, games, and anti-smoking information.
Helmets were available for youngsters.
Sergeant Jeff Dunsmoor of the Oswego County Sheriff’s Department provided youngsters (and their parents) with a photo ID card complete with a copy of their fingerprints.
It was part of the Operation Safe Child the department conducts.
An open skate time gave participants the opportunity to use the ramps, pipes and other apparatus at the skate park.
Many took advantage of the closed street to show off their talents.
The youngsters were encouraged to visit five stations where they received bracelets. Those who got all the bracelets were eligible for prizes, including new bikes, a full deck skateboard and an iPod.
The stations included a safety demonstration held inside Red Planet, the nearby fire department, the smoking cessation booth, where anti-tobacco information was shared, and Oswego HealthÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s healthy kids station, which offered health screenings for both youngsters and adults, and the Leadership Oswego County class of 2008′s booth that offered information about the youth services available in the area.
“The Leadership class developed the posters and all the handouts and everything. It’s all about youth serving agencies in the county,” said Jeff Grimshaw.
The local band Floor of Eyes donated its time to the event. During a break, they allowed several youngsters to come on stage and take turns playing their instruments.
The annual event is a way to deliver a healthy message to youngsters, said Ellen Lafond, clinical nurse manager for Oswego HospitalÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Emergency Department, who organized the event.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œSkateboarding is very popular and many kids are really into the sport,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â she said. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThis event fit perfectly with our brain injury program initiated in 1999. Our emergency department nurses see so many kids coming in with brain injuries that could have been prevented if the youngsters had worn a helmet. Through our brain injury program we give away bike helmets and the Skate Bike Ride is another avenue for us to give away even more helmets to keep more kids safe.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
Pat Okoniewski, a nurse practitioner at Oswego Hospital, showed people what portions of foods they should eat.
Using a specially decorated plate, she explained a cup of fruit is about the size of a baseball and meat should be the size of a deck of cards, for example.
“It’s good to see a lot of kids here,” said Bruce Bailey of Red Planet. “The more we can do to teach them safety, the better. They’re all having fun and getting exercise, it’s a great night, what more can you ask?”
Eight-year-old Erick Cappelletti said he was having fun checking out all the booths and getting a new helmet.
“I need a good helmet,” he explained. “I’m trying to be a skateboarder.”
Ryan Michaels was among the youngsters checking out what it’s like to sit in a race car. Kevin Knopp’s #4 was parked across the street from Red Planet and drew a big crowd of race fans.
“It was kind of tight getting in there,” Ryan said.
Christopher Murray won a skateboard, donated by Red Planet.
“This is great,” he said. “I’m learning to skateboard. I can really use this!”
The bikes were donated by MurdockÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s, and Leadership Oswego County, who also donated an iPod.
Winning the bikes were Hannah Brown and Zach Mills.
Among those helping make the event possible were Oswego Health, Red Planet Skate and Bike Park, Pathfinder Bank, Reality Check, the Oswego City Fire Department, Pizza Hut, Pizza Villa, Cam’s NY Pizza, Oswego Sub Shop, MurdockÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Bicycle Sports, OCO Youth Services and others.
“It’s just a fun event and it helps promote safety, too,” Lafond said. “It’s all about kids; keeping them healthy and safe and preventing brain injury.”
For more information on National Healthcare Month, contact Oswego Health at 349-5500.
For information about skateboarding, call Red Planet at 343-6535, e-mail email@example.com or visit www.redplanet.us