Earlier this month, the field and playground of Peck Place School were filled with hundreds of enthusiastic children who were anxious to take part in the first Orange Relay Recess, a mini event to get the kids outside for some exercise, have some healthy snacks and introduce them to the way the Relay for Life is run.
Relay for Life Committee Member and Peck Place School mom Kristin Marquis said she received information in 2012 about bringing the Relay Recess to the grade school levels and tried to get it off the ground, but it was too late in the year.
So in 2013, she jumped on it early because she thinks it is a great way to bring education, exercise and fun to the grade school kids and raise awareness for the BOW Relay For Life which takes place on June 1 and 2 this year.
After reaching out to the student councils and principals of all three Orange elementary schools, she learned that Turkey Hill and Race Brook already had planned some sort of event for other causes and so Peck Place Principal Eric Carbone, the student council advisor, and kids rose up and got as many students involved as possible.
Marquis said Relay Recess was as true to the Relay for Life as possible with the kids getting their names checked off the list as they exited the school, and then walking, or running around the field for the entire recess.
When they were done, they took a break and had healthy snacks, bottled water, grapes, and such.
“There are 385 kids in the school, and we have participation from just about 50%,” Marquis said. “All the kids had to do was bring in a signed permission slip. If they got donations, it was great. All we wanted was awareness and participation.”
The awareness part was tri-fold — awareness for cancer prevention, awareness for being healthier, and awareness of the Relay event in June.
Student council member, Sophie, said the event was important because it helped raise money for a good cause and showed kids that a walk around the field could make a big difference.
Sophie said it didn’t take long to organize the Relay because they all (council members) cooperated nicely and the plans all came together.
Fellow Council member, Jessica, agreed that the Relay Recess was an easy way to help people by walking around the field.
Relay For Life Chairman Lynn Plaskowitz said, “This was our goal this year, to get community involvement, you start with the younger kids and then you get more community involvement.”
In the end the children had a wonderful afternoon of fun in the fresh air, some getting their faces on TV or being interviewed by News 12 and Orange Live, and raising $4,000 for the American Cancer Society.
Relay Co-Chairmen Debby Davis and George Geane had a blast, encouraging the kids as they walked around the track. Happy to see that the town’s youngest residents were giving their all for a great cause.
The 2013 BOW Relay for Life takes place at the Orange Fairgrounds beginning at 2 p.m. (Opening ceremonies are at 5 p.m.) on June 1 and ending at 7 a.m. on June 2. This year’s goal is $95,000.