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Norwalk to Host Countywide Youth Fitness Jamboree

NORWALK, Conn. -- The Chelsea Cohen Fitness Academy kicks off its mission of introducing healthy lifestyle practices to underserved youth at its first annual Jamboree Wednesday, Aug. 3, at Norwalk High's Testa Field football stadium from 1-3 p.m. More than 500 youngsters from summer camps around Fairfield County are expected to attend.

The Jamboree is two hours of games, fitness education and activities designed as a special day trip for the campers ages 8-15. The kids will learn about the benefits of leading an active, healthy lifestyle. Academy fitness experts will conduct educational demonstrations and drills in a field-day type format. Former New York Mets manager and ESPN baseball analyst Bobby Valentine will be the featured speaker.

Campers from the following youth organizations will participate: Cardinal Shehan Center & First Tee of Fairfield County (Bridgeport), George Washington Carver Center and Norwalk Recreation and Parks (Norwalk); Stamford YMCA, Boys & Girls Club of Stamford, & Yerwood Center (Stamford) and Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich

"When we established the Cohen Academy last summer, one of our primary goals was to give access to underserved youth to the best available fitness practices, information and experts in the health and wellness fields," said Fairfield County Sports Commission executive director Tom Chiappetta. "This Jamboree will not only start that process in a big way, but also give these youngsters a memorable experience and an opportunity to meet other kids like themselves from nearby communities."

The Jamboree will become the signature event of the Cohen Academy each summer and be rotated to Stamford and Bridgeport to bring Academy resources to other communities.

A number of community businesses will display educational materials and have reps speak about nutrition and offer tips on how to lead a healthy lifestyle. They include the orthopedic and pediatric institutes from Stamford Hospital, the Sports Commission's major health care partner, Grade A Shoprite, which will have its registered dietician/certified nutritionist attend and supply healthy snacks, and Take Shape for Life, a program to develop healthy habits.

Other sports personalities are expected for meet and greets and to sign autographs, including former NBA standout and Harding High great Wes Matthews, who won a pair of championship rings with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The event is open to the public.

The Chelsea Cohen Fitness Academy is a countywide effort to combat childhood obesity and teach young people how to adopt active, healthy lifestyles. It was established in August 2010 in honor of the Chelsea Cohen, who died in 2006 at age 17. The Commission has named its Courage Award for Chelsea. The Academy is based at the Carver Center in Norwalk.

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