Brookfield Girl Scout teaches kids the importance of a healthy lifestyle
BROOKFIELD - Children gather around high-school junior Erica Morey as she tells them why they should eat their fruits and vegetables. The kids sit in front of a poster board that displays the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “Choose my Plate” graphic, which promotes a healthy diet.
Morey pulls out a box of plastic toy grapes, oranges and other foods. She instructs the kids to sort them into the categories: fruits, grains, proteins, vegetables, dairy and fats, oils and sweets.
Four-year-old Jack Dunkerton picks up a plastic pie and nearly puts it in a slot labeled “fruit.”
“It has fruit in it, but is pie healthy for you?” Morey asks.
Dunkerton moves it with the fats, oils and sweets.
The activity at the Brookfield Public Library Sunday morning was part of Morey’s Girl Scout Gold Award project. The highest honor a Girl Scout can earn, the Gold Award is given to a girl who has created a project that will have a lasting impact on her community.
For her project, Morey wanted to encourage kids to live healthily in several classes during the spring.
“I hope they have a better idea of [how] what they’re eating affects them,” she said. “And it can be fun. It’s not just kale.”
Morey has been a Girl Scout since kindergarten, and earlier completed her bronze and silver awards.
To kickoff the event, personal trainer Kerry Swift, whose daughter is in Morey’s troop, led the kids in a series of exercises including squats, lunges and ab workouts.
“There’s a huge obesity crisis in the country and the world,” Swift said. “It’s important to get kids moving early and for them to enjoy fitness and make it a part of their daily routine.”
The kids also decorated paper “Get Well Bags” that will go to Brookfield Social Services to be distributed to sick children. The bags, which Morey put together, include an animal word search, hand-drawn pictures to color, fuzzy socks and a brochure with information on healthy eating, exercise and how to avoid being sick.
The bags could go to kids with a range of illnesses, from the flu to cancer, Morey said.
“It keeps them distracted and it gives them something to do, so they don’t have to sit there and be sick,” she said.
Kathy Morey, Erica’s mother and troop leader, said her daughter, who is normally shy, has grown because of the project.
“She’s taking charge and she’s realizing she has to communicate with people, whether it’s over email or text or a phone call,” she said.
Andrea Urvina, a Girl Scout Brownie leader whose daughter attended the event, is encouraging her troop to participate, and not just for their health. She also hoped they would be inspired as young women.
“It’s important for young girls to see older girls lead,” Urvina said.