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Physical activity the key to wellness
By Robyn Pepion, Wellness Center Assistant

26 August 2009

BISMARCK (UTN) - Wellness is a verb, according to Ruth Buffalo-Zarazua, of the United Tribes Wellness Center. That means it involves action – something happens.

      Ruth’s definition of wellness: “living a balanced lifestyle, how our ancestors once lived.”

If action is at the heart of wellness then this activity was wellness in one of its higher forms. A 25 foot tall climbing wall posed an active challenge for youngsters who attended the United Tribes Wellness Day on July 30.
United Tribes News photo Dennis J. Neumann

      In her position as coordinator of the Strengthening Lifestyles Program, Ruth has the opportunity to promote healthy activities for students, youth and families on the United Tribes campus.

      That’s why the annual Wellness Day involved activity. The goal was “to provide an opportunity for the campus community to get together in a healthy way.”

      Wellness Day events took place July 30 with a huge turnout of 230 youngsters, college students, faculty, and staff.

      The activities kept kids, parents, students and faculty smiling, laughing and having fun. The youth were especially challenged by climbing a 25 foot tall rock climbing wall, using safety harnesses. There was a Jolly Jumper, and a dunking booth with volunteers getting soaked.

      Events included the balloon toss, ladder ball, stick horse barrel racing and a watermelon eating contest for youth and adult categories. Tug-of-war was the main event.

      UTTC Counselor Russell Gillette began the event in traditional manner with a prayer. The Wise Spirit drum group from Standing Rock opened with a song. Tom Red Bird was the Master of Ceremonies. UTTC President David M. Gipp gave an introduction and welcome. During a free meal the elders were served first, women, then children, again with prayer.

      Ruth and the Strengthening Lifestyles staff definitely took part in all of the wellness activities, including getting dunked in the water tank!

      Those working in the program continue to seek out ways to promote healthy activities for the students, youth and families at United Tribes.