Kids to take the Adventure Challenge

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WALKER, Mich. -- If you didn't have the chance to make it to Rio for the Olympics (like most of us), don't worry.

Thursday night at Johnson Park, kids will compete in 23 Olympics-themed contests at the fifth annual Kids Adventure Challenge.

Not only is the event benefiting a local program, it's promoting kids' health.

Experts say it's important that children develop healthy habits early in life, because they are more likely to maintain that lifestyle as an adult. Kids Adventure Challenge is making sure kids stay involved in some type of sport.

As a new school year kicks off, many kids are preparing to get back to after school sports.

Cara Jones, the director of the G8 Sports, G8 Kids Student Advancement Foundation, says last year 5,200 K-8th graders at Grand Rapids Public Schools were involved in after school sports. The G8 Sports, G8 Kids Program is working to decrease childhood obesity by keeping kids active and playing outside.

"Their recess and gym time is being limited, so we really want to see kids go out for those after school athletics," Jones said.

G8 Sports, G8 Kids Student Advancement Foundation continues to partner with Grand Rapids Public Schools in offering after school sports at no cost to K-8th graders.

"We want to get kids much more active. The earlier they’re active, the more accustomed they come to being active in their everyday life," Jones said. "We are the funding mechanism K-8 athletics so there’s no pay to play."

To continue their efforts, the organization needs money. That's why they're teaming up with Gazelle Sports and Run GR for the 2016 Kids Adventure Challenge. It's a two-hour adventure race with multiple challenges for kids ages 5-12.

"One of our missions for Gazell Sports is to support the community and support an active healthy lifestyle, and one of our missions is to get kids out and moving at a young age," Gazelle Sports merchandise manager Andrew Hoffman said.

In addition, Hoffman says, the Kids Adventure Challenge is providing kids the opportunity to try a new sport.

Kids will participate Thursday night in 23 challenges, including a wheelbarrow race, tennis and soccer bowling. Each team will receive a passport and map to help track their progress.

"We think the mission of the event itself is to get kids active, promote active outside," Jones said.

Participating kids will get a free gift and t-shirt, as well as free entry into Millennium Park through August 21.

Registration is currently closed, but that doesn't mean you can't come out and support these kids, as well as G8 Sports, G8 Kids. More than 300 kids will participate in Thursday's event. All proceeds go directly to G8 Sports, G8 Kids.

The event is 6-8 p.m. at Johnson Park in Walker.

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