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Boys and Girls Club of the Bemidji Area: Fit City encourages activities

Jordan Jones of Bemidji enjoyed an afternoon riding his bike as part of the Fit City.1 / 2
Jamie Skoda2 / 2

When Bemidji was designated as a Governor's Fit City in May, the Boys and Girls Club of the Bemidji Area Director Leonore Potter knew exactly what she would do.

Potter used a newly acquired grant from the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs to hire Jamie Skoda as coordinator of a new Fit City summer program.

Started on June 11, Fit City offers activities to members that involve physical activity at little to no cost. The program is offered every week day, eight hours a day for 10 weeks.

"Our goal is to help kids realize there are activities you can do in your community that help you stay healthy without costing a lot of money," said Skoda.

Skoda, originally from Cresco, Iowa, is a sports management major at Bemidji State University. Part of her internship experience was learning to plan and schedule a variety of physical activities.

Activities include disc golf, gardening, kayaking, canoeing, biking and walking dogs at the Beltrami Humane Society.

"It's been neat to see youth and teens learn new things all the time," said Skoda. "Some kids learn to ride a bike for the first time with training wheels. A few teens learned how to kayak."

In January, the BGCBA received a grant to fund a summer internship. Out of 75 applicants, BGCBA was one of 20 non-profit organizations who were awarded with the grant.

According to Skoda, biking days have been the most popular.

The grant used to fund Skoda's summer internship and Fit City can only be used every three years, said Potter. It is uncertain how the program will be funded next year.

Potter says Fit City is a program that went beyond what they currently offer in the theme of staying physically active.

"We will continue to provide members with opportunities to stay healthy," said Potter.

The program runs through August 19.