Amaja Duval is learning that exercise can be fun.

The 10-year-old girl moved giant lightweight building blocks around a play area while attending the York Play Streets family event Wednesday at Newberry Street and Kiwanis Lake in York City.

"This block is almost as tall as me," said Amaja of York City. "This is fun. I like being here. I played with one of my friends from school."

The girl's mother, Linda Vega, said she's glad the York Play Streets is available this summer.

"Kids can exercise," Vega said. "It's important to get out and exercise."

York Play Streets is part of a national initiative by Partnership for a Healthier America and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association to combat childhood obesity by encouraging children to be physically active.

York City was among 10 cities nationwide to get grants to present play streets. York received a $50,000 grant, said Cori Strathmeyer, wellness director for the YMCA.

At Wednesday's event, she worked with Lori Robinson, a senior community affairs specialist at Highmark Blue Shield.

"We want our (communities) healthier and to be more active with kids," Robinson said. "You don't have to spend millions of dollars to get healthy. You can walk for free or ride a bike."

More events planned: Four free York Play Streets events were scheduled for the city.

The first event was in May at Salem Square and West Street in the city. The last two events will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 20, at Albemarle Park at Edison and Lehman streets; and 5 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14, at


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Grimes Gym Campus, Duke Street and College Avenue.

At the Kiwanis Lake/Newberry site, youngsters participated in a variety of activities, including jumping in inflatable bounce houses, playing basketball, running through a splash station, jumping rope and getting fitted for free bicycle helmets.

They received healthy snacks, including popcorn and apples, bananas and other fruit.

The activities were provided by the city's public works department and bureau of health, the YMCA, WellSpan Health Community Health Improvement, the York Water Company and SafeKids York County.

Convinced: City residents L.A. Truvillion and girlfriend Shirea Lake

brought his nephews to the event. The boys spent most of their time in the bounce houses.

"They're having a lot of fun in there," Truvillion said. "It's good to have something like this. It gives the kids something to do."

"And they don't realize it's exercise," added Lake. "I hope kids learn that exercise can be fun."

After having some play time, both Amaja and Sophia Hawthorne 12, said they will continue to exercise by doing fun activities.

Sophia said she enjoyed playing in the bounce houses and doing plastic ice skating.

"After this, I definitely will be riding my bike a lot more," she said. "I think I'll try out ice skating, too."

------------------------ More events coming up

York Play Streets events are scheduled for July and August in York City. They will be held:

---Noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 20, at Albemarle Park, Edison and Lehman streets

---5 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14, at Grimes Gym Campus, Duke Street and College Avenue.

For information, contact Cori Strathmeyer at cstrathmeyer@yorkcoymca.org or at 843-7884 ext. Information also is available online at www.ahealthieramerica.org/playstreets and www.eatplaybreatheyork.org.

--Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at emcmillan@yorkdispatch.com.