Mayo Clinic

Last year, Heather Tietz of Mayo Clinic Health System gave away flying discs and free bike helmets at TCU Community Ed’s United 4 Healthy Youth and Families event. Luke Brockway and his mom, Megan Brockway, are also pictured. This year’s United 4 Healthy Youth and Families event is Thursday, Aug. 22. (County News file photo)

It’s evident the new school year is just around the corner when Tri-City United Community Education and its advisory council host their annual United 4 Healthy Youth and Families event on the TCU High School outdoor football complex.

TCU Activities Director Layne Wilbright described United 4 Healthy Youth as a “one-shot shop,” similar to a youth expo.

“Primarily, the idea is to bring as many youth-serving organizations or businesses that promote healthy lifestyle, to one location,” said Wilbright.

This year’s event takes place from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 22. As the date approaches, Wilbright said he’s still looking for vendors and sponsors. The sooner volunteers sign up the better, since set-up for vendors begins early in the week. Donors don’t need to be youth-focused organizations, but vendors need to be clubs, organizations or sports that provide services to youth in the TCU District.

The target audience for the United 4 Healthy Youth and Families night isn’t just students, but parents as well. The expo gives parents an opportunity to speak with coaches about the different sports opportunities offered within the TCU district and talk to representatives from various businesses, such as Montgomery Family Dental or Mayo Clinic Health System, about their local youth offerings.

The expo also gives organizations a chance to educate attendees on various topics, such as car seat safety, bike safety and the harmful effects of tobacco products.

One new addition to the expo this year is a demonstration from 4 to 4:30 p.m. by Deputy Joe Kerns of the Le Sueur County Sheriff’s Department and his canine companion, Jett.

The family-orientated expo includes three inflatables for children to bounce inside, one of them an obstacle course. In the past, the various sports associations also set up games and activities like archery, basketball and soccer. Vendors in general are encouraged to have interactive activities at their tables to engage families.

The Montgomery Knights of Columbus, one of the biggest sponsors of the event, serve hot dogs and water at a concessions stand each year. The event itself is free, but proceeds from concessions go directly to TCU Community Education.

Reporter Misty Schwab can be reached at 507-333-3135. Follow her on Twitter @APGmisty.

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