Westwind Lakes campers begin countywide Morning Mile Run

By Richard Yager….

Miami-Dade Commission chair Joe Martinez (left) and Parks director Jack Kardys try one mile run.

More than 100 Westwind Lakes summer campers kicked off a countywide “Morning Mile Run” program as Miami-Dade Commission chair Joe Martinez urged them “to keep fit throughout your lifetime.”

“I try to stay in shape by jogging or at least walking the year-around,” Martinez added just before helping lead the inaugural mile run and walk at the West Kendall park on July 13.

“Of our more than 40 summer camp programs in Miami-Dade, Westwind Lakes is our biggest and busiest,” added Jack Kardys, Parks and Recreation Department director, who joined Martinez for the inaugural program.

The park currently serves 280 youngsters in its summer camp activities in addition to 60 more in a special program for disabled youth, as well as 65 seniors, with 140 taking part in the inaugural run on behalf of all MDC parks.

The morning run is part of an AvMed-sponsored fitness program that equips schools and parks with materials and guidance, and incorporates running into a daily curricula. The program is now spread through 20 summer camping locations in Miami-Dade.

Martinez and Kardys took part in the initial run with Ed Hannun, AvMed Health Plans president and COO.

“If I’m not running with you, I’ll be right behind you to see that you all stay safe,” Kardys joked.

The University of Miami Health System and the UM’s Miller School of Medicine are partner-sponsors of a “Fit-to-Play, Green-it-Up” summer camp program, noted Edith Torres, Parks spokesperson.

“Children learn fundamentals of a healthy lifestyle through nutrition and fitness- exercise education and activities, as well as safety and preventative education,” she said. “Health benefits of going green are discovered by teaching recycling, water conservation, and other eco-friendly subjects that benefit the planet.”

Miami-Dade Parks operates the special program at more than 40 parks through Aug. 19. Camps are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., offering early dropoff at 7:30 a.m. and late pickups until 6 p.m.

For details, visit online at http://miamidade.gov.parks.

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