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YOUth festival opens eyes

Community: City-sponsored event is meant to expose children to an array of sports available

Posted: August 22, 2010 7:36 p.m.
Updated: August 23, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Nine-year-old Matthew White, of Canyon Country, reaches to return a volley while playing tennis at the YOUth Sports Festival at Central Park on Saturday.

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Youthful energy was on full display on Saturday at the second annual Santa Clarita YOUth Sports Festival in Central Park on Bouquet Canyon Road. Sports of all varieties — from the traditional fare of basketball and football to the on-the-fringe variety such as disc golf — were available for youngsters to experience.

The eclectic mix of events was put in place so children could see the wide array of physical activities available to them, said
Rich Carr, Santa Clarita recreations supervisor.

“We want them to come out and try it, and, if they like it, they can continue on with it,” he said. “What we’re trying to promote is a healthy lifestyle and we think this is a good step in creating habits of health and fitness that will continue on through adulthood.”

As well as tents that showcased different activities, several bouncy castles goaded younger children into burning off excess energy while others could not resist the allure of the “Dunk The Lifeguard” water-tank.

Elisa Lorenzana, a lifeguard at Meadows Pool, was sent splashing into the shallow water several times. The repeated falls were worth it, she said, since the kids were having fun.

“I just hope they enjoy themselves,” the 19-year-old volunteer said. “It’s really hard to get into sports and this event will help show that sports are really healthy.”

Kaitlyn Brayman, of Canyon Country, took her shot at dunking Lorenzana and remembered the experience fondly.

“It was funny,” the 7-year-old said.

The Brayman family came out to support Kaitlyn as she performed a gymnastics routine, but stuck around to see some of the other sports on display. Patrick Brayman, 9, tried his hand at golf while his father, Matthew, gave him some tips.

The experience could eventually prove to be a future bonding activity between father and son, said mother, Stephanie Brayman.

“We like to stay fit and have our kids be healthy, get exercise and eat well,” Stephanie Brayman said.

Many parents were grateful to see their children engaging in a variety of aerobic exercises, which can be rare since children so often choose inactive pastimes, Carr said.

“Obesity is a problem in the United States and it’s very easy for youth to be caught up in video games and other sedentary activities,” he said. “So for them come out and find an activity that they want to participate in is very important.

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