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New non-profit focuses on kids' health

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news Hastings, 55033

Hastings Minnesota 745 Spiral Boulevard 55033

This summer, kids ages 4 to 12 in Hastings and Cottage Grove have a new opportunity to be active. Mojo Kids Exercise Company is a non-profit organization just launched by Jenny Wilcox, a Cottage Grove resident and Hastings native.

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The idea behind the program is simple: get kids outside and moving in a non-competitive environment and engage healthy behaviors at an early age. Health and fitness are important to Wilcox; she has been part of several triathlons, ironman races and marathons, and she also helps coordinate the annual Nick Clare run in Hastings.

"All these things are being done for adults," she said, but events for kids are often just tacked onto the main event like an afterthought. There's not another organization that she's aware of that's dedicated to kids-only activities, she said. Meanwhile, research shows that one in three children today is obese, and about 65 percent of adults have a chronic health condition. So she decided to do something to make a difference, taking what she knows and what she's learned from adult activities and making it more available to children.

The first event is a bicycle and run event this Saturday, June 8. Kids will bike and then run some of the trails at Woodridge Park in Cottage Grove in a non-competitive fun environment. Participants will be split into groups according to age. Younger children will bike and run a shorter distance than the older children. Another option is the relay. One child would complete the bike portion of the event, while another completes the running portion. The courses are all flat, and all participants will receive a medal.

On Saturday, registration and pre-registration begins at 7:30 a.m. by the building at Woodridge Park. The bike and run event begins at 8:30 a.m. Woodridge Park is located at 9000 S. 90th St. in Cottage Grove. The registration fee is $12 per child through June 6 and $15 on race day. The fee for relay teams (two children) is $20 through June 6 and $23 on race day.

Later this summer, the second event will feature an obstacle-filled adventure run, also at Woodridge Park. The trail loop there allows for a 2k to 3k race, Wilcox said. Participants will again be split into age groups and given an appropriate distance to run.

"So it's not too hard, but not too easy," she said.

The third event is planned for Hastings at the end of September. Kids will get to do a 2k or 5k trail run at Spring Lake Park. All events are open to youth in both Hastings and Cottage Grove.

At each event, youth earn points for participation; the more events a child attends, the more points he or she accrues. At the end of the season, in October, prizes will be given to youth with the most points.

Another aspect to the organization is support for wellness in schools. Wilcox said that 25 percent of each registration fee will be donated to the school the child attends. Wilcox aims to eventually be able to donate 100 percent of the proceeds to local schools to help districts pay for health, physical education and nutrition programs.

For more information or to find registration forms, or for information about becoming a sponsor, go to www.mojokidsexerciseco.com, email Wilcox at mojokidsco@yahoo.com or call her at 651-387-3842. Mojo Kids Exercise Company can also be found on Facebook.

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