Friday, May 23, 2014

Keeping kids well

Wellness Festival engages wider audience with expanded offerings

Express Staff Writer

     The Sun Valley Wellness Festival this weekend at Sun Valley Resort isn’t just interested in saving the present, but also getting a hold of the upcoming generation with special programs designed to entice them into healthy lifestyles early on.

      The children’s portion of the Wellness Festival  is all day Saturday, May 24, with activities starting at 9:30 a.m. and wrapping up with a meditation at 5:15 p.m. Entry is free for children with parents ticketed for the rest of the festival, or $25 just for the day.

     Adult activities got under way on Thursday, and will continue with numerous speakers and workshops through Monday, May 26. Tonight, May 23, will feature inspiring swimmer (Cuba to Florida without a shark cage) Diana Nyad. For full details, visit   

     This year, the children’s festival welcomes younger and older children and will celebrate movement, art, music, puppetry and mindfulness.

     The nature of the activities reflects the rhythm of breathing, an “in breath” followed by an “out breath,” thus, a more lively activity ( such as dance), followed by a more focused and meditative artistic activity, explains Kerry Brokaw, who often entertains children at The Community Library with her unique puppetry.

       The morning begins with Mindful Movement with Debra Drake, featuring hoops, silks and blocks. Next, Jessica Banks, Waldorf kindergarten and handworks teacher, will lead the children in wet felting, creating “message rocks” wrapped in felted wool. Tammy Hood, education director at the Sawtooth Botanical Garden, will bring a spotted gecko from the Bug Zoo.  

     The day for youngsters will overlap with the program for older children with the marionette puppet presentation of a transformative African tale by Brokaw of Mountain Moon Puppetry.

     Tim Hanna, a West African drumming teacher and Zenergy’s health and wellness manager, will play his djemba drums as musical accompaniment.

     Dale and Peggy Bates will host “soul train line dancing” for the older children and teens followed by needle felting with Jessica Banks. Hanna will teach an African drumming class—bring a djemba drum if you have one. Kate Janke, a longtime participant of and speaker for the Wellness Festival, will end the program with a Heart and Mind Meditation workshop.

     A specific list of workshops and suggested ages can be looked up on festival website.

     A Wellness Festival highlight for parents will be Monday’s early-morning lecture and workshop by Kim John Payne, internationally acclaimed child development educator,  consultant and author of “Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier and More Secure Kids.”

     Payne founded the Center for Social Sustainability.

     “My hope in founding The Center for Social Responsibility is to deepen our understanding of the burning social issues of our time and give people and communities the practical tools for life that will enable them to meet these social issues in new and creative ways.”

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