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Brains and bodies benefit from reading

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Photo by Hank Lohmeyer The action was fast and fun for teens in the Cedaredge Library's summer reading program as they took up sides, six-on-six, to play some human foosball in the library parking lot last Friday. Shown at back in the orange T-shirt is M

Middle schoolers who are part of the Cedaredge Library's teen summer reading program enjoyed some rousing physical activity to go along with their book reading activities last Friday.

Mary Bauer, teen librarian, arranged for the kids to play "human foosball," a promotional activity originated locally by Mike Lawhead, an employee of the Montrose Home Depot store.

Lawhead has taken the initiative to construct a 10-foot by 20-foot human foosball arena. He provides it at the request of local nonprofit groups looking for an activity to enliven their special events and gatherings. The project is supported by the Home Depot store, Lawhead explained, as a community outreach to local groups.

Last year the human foosball arena was part of the annual Families Plus picnic in Delta. The nonprofit social service organization is directed by Brenda Holland. Bauer worked for Families Plus at the time and decided it would be fun to see if Lawhead could bring his activity to Cedaredge as an activity for the teen reading group. It's a long haul from Montrose to Cedaredge, plus set-up and take-down, for an hour-long activity, but Lawhead agreed. He was assisted in transporting and setting up the game by Melissa Turner, another Home Depot employee, and by Gabby Lawhead, his daughter.

To keep the action interesting, teams and goalies changed throughout the hour-long activity. Score was kept.

Lawhead has hit on the innovation of having two soccer balls in play at the same time to really ramp up the pace of play. The kids got totally involved in the activity, and a couple of them exhibited truly tough toenails by playing the game wearing sandals. The activity goes right along with the teen reading program's theme of "exercise." In various youth programs in the schools and elsewhere, the theme of youth outdoor physical activity is being emphasized as a way of counteracting a perceived excess of electronic-based activities by kids.

Friday activities are a regular part of the teen summer reading program, Bauer said. The kids earn bonus points for participating in the special weekly activities. There is still time for youth to sign up and become a part of the learning and fun the program promotes during the off-school months.

There are also reading programs and activities for elementary school youth and for toddlers and moms at the library this summer.

The number to call for more information is 399-7674.

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Surface Creek
Cedaredge, Library
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