A fair in the name of better health
Mason Puckett put on a pair of Fatal Vision Goggles and tried to walk a straight line as his classmates, giggling, tried to guide him.
"If you get off balance at all, it feels like the whole thing is off balance," the Crook County Middle School eighth-grader said as he took off the goggles.
The experiment was part of the Rimrock Trails Adolescent Treatment Center booth at the CCMS Health Fair, held last Friday.
"Fatal Vision Goggles simulate having drank too much, being high. Really, they are for drunk driving, but they can simulate drug use as well," explained Rimrock Trails Program Director Lynn Vigil. "It teaches kids how impaired they can actually be … and it's not a good feeling."
Vigil was one of 25 community partners who turned out for the event, which the Crook County Health Department puts on every other year with St. Charles Health System and CCMS.
"The purpose is to connect students with health resources in the community and provide some health education as well as we highlight Crook County alumni, so there's this career piece, too," explained Katie Plumb, the prevention and health promotion supervisor with Crook County Health Department.
Community partners who are alumni of Crook County schools wore illuminating lanyards and blue and gold Mardi Gras beads.
"We highlight them so the kids know who they are and can connect with alumni who are now professionals in the community," Plumb said. "There's that dual purpose of health education and health resource connection and career development and exploration."
Representatives from St. Charles, Mosaic Medical, Slater Chiropractic, Rebound Physical Therapy, the Crook County Juvenile Department, and Crook County Parks and Recreation District among other organizations were all on hand to educate the students.
"Search and Rescue volunteers braved freezing temperatures to provide an exciting opportunity for students to learn about the work they do," Plumb said.
At the Red Cross booth, students were quizzed on disaster preparedness. They then spun a wheel for a chance to win an emergency blanket or an emergency light.
Nearby, Crook County High School junior Sydney Hacker helped students with the "Rethink Your Drink" activity, pointing out just how many teaspoons of sugar are in popular beverages.
CCMS seventh-graders Taylor Joyce and Brooke Hughes tested their classmates' heart rates at the CCMS Health Class booth.
"We're teaching them about their heart rate and also what is your pulse, how to measure it, how does your heart work, what it does, and how exercise helps you," Joyce explained.
As they visited the booths, students received stamps in their "passports" and were then entered into drawings for health-related prizes.
"The fair was a great success. Our community partners dedicated a lot of time and effort to bring information to life through activities for our students," Plumb said. "The kids were excited to learn and came away with valuable knowledge and resources to support their health. The fact that so many organizations and professionals in the community were willing to spend a full day with students really shows how much they value the health and wellbeing of our kids."