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Mission Tribal Fitness Kid’s Activity at the Bison Range

By Adriana Fehrs

A mixture of elementary and middle school students from Arlee and St. Ignatius gather around a picnic table at the National Bison Range to munch on a variety of healthy snacks. Tribal Fitness put on the activity as a way to teach healthy eating habits and to promote physical activity. (Adriana Fehrs photo) A mixture of elementary and middle school students from Arlee and St. Ignatius gather around a picnic table at the National Bison Range to munch on a variety of healthy snacks. Tribal Fitness put on the activity as a way to teach healthy eating habits and to promote physical activity. (Adriana Fehrs photo)

DIXON — CSKT Tribal Fitness in St. Ignatius took advantage of Mission and Arlee schools’ spring break, and the short-lived pleasant weather, to orchestrate a field trip with 21 students down to the National Bison Range for some games and activities for the Federal Diabetes Program on April 16.

Lance Hawkins, Lead Fitness Specialist for CSKT Tribal Fitness, led the field trip with students from Arlee and Mission, all ranging from grade 2 to grade 8. Hawkins says, “We try to do activities with the kids whenever we can. We do a lot of swimming activities up at the aquatic center in Polson, we do native games, garbage pick up days; mainly we try to get these kids out and do physical activities.”

Laughs and happy screams were exchanged during a playful game of dodge ball tribal fitness put on at the National Bison Range for several St. Ignatius and Arlee elementary and middle school students. Tribal Fitness hosts numerous field trips for youth that promote physical activity and healthy eating. (Adriana Fehrs photo) Laughs and happy screams were exchanged during a playful game of dodge ball tribal fitness put on at the National Bison Range for several St. Ignatius and Arlee elementary and middle school students. Tribal Fitness hosts numerous field trips for youth that promote physical activity and healthy eating. (Adriana Fehrs photo)

Since the late 90’s the Federal Diabetes Program has funded Tribal Fitness activities with youth that focus on healthy eating habits and physical activities to prevent diabetes in youth. Arles Hendrickson, Fitness Specialist for Tribal Fitness, says, “A lot of planning goes into these activities. We have to put up flyers in the community and at the schools, then we have to set everything up with DHRD for transportation, and then we have to get supplies for the activities.”

Carlin Matt, Fitness Specialist for Tribal Fitness, says, “The goal of the program is to track the weight and height of all the kids, throughout the years that they do the activities, to see how we are making progress in their development and their healthy eating habits.”

21 elementary and middle school kids from St. Ignatius and Arlee volley back-and-fourth during a game of dodge ball. Tribal Fitness took the kids down to the National Bison Range to hike, play kickball and dodge ball, fly kites, and hunt for Easter eggs on April 16. (Adriana Fehrs photo) 21 elementary and middle school kids from St. Ignatius and Arlee volley back-and-fourth during a game of dodge ball. Tribal Fitness took the kids down to the National Bison Range to hike, play kickball and dodge ball, fly kites, and hunt for Easter eggs on April 16. (Adriana Fehrs photo)

At the National Bison Range, the kids participated in hiking, playful games of kickball and dodge ball, Easter egg hunting, and flying kites. Hendrickson says, “We really try to get all of the kids to participate in the activities. It’s all promoting a healthy active lifestyle, which is a means of diabetes prevention.” After the field trip, Tribal Fitness hosted a barbeque at the fitness center in St. Ignatius to wrap up the day’s activities.

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