Gannon University Program Helps Students Get Summer Fit at Bayview Park
Posted: August 3, 2017
Inspired by the success of the Club Fit program at the former
East and Strong Vincent High Schools, Gannon University, in
partnership with the YMCA of Greater Erie, has launched Summer Fit,
a seven-week play-based fitness program for ages 5-12.
Like Club Fit, the program launched five years ago by Gannon
University in partnership with Hamot Health Foundation and the Erie
School District, Summer Fit teaches fitness, nutrition and
Conducted at Bayview Park at the foot of Cherry Street in the
West Bayfront neighborhood adjacent to campus, Summer Fit varies
from the more rigorous Club Fit curriculum, which included a
pre-test to assess fitness and a post-test to measure achievement
"Club Fit was a research project where the same girls attended
the sessions, but Summer Fit is open to the children who show up on
any given day," said Kaitlyn Falk, a 2016 Gannon graduate in
nutrition and human performance. "There's a fitness-based
curriculum planned with an intentional focus, but it's
Falk was one of the Gannon students who worked at the Club Fit
program. Jessica Walsh-Frazier, a graduate student working toward
her Master of Public Administration degree, is another. She sees
the Summer Fit program as a way to teach healthy behaviors.
"The Club Fit girls came to the program with established eating
and exercise habits. They have to unlearn unhealthy behaviors and
learn new ones. Through Summer Fit, we can teach healthy behaviors
at age eight rather than unlearning unhealthy habits at 16."
Twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, children come to
Bayview Park for the three-and-a-half-hour program supervised by
eight Gannon students and alumni. "We'll talk about cardiovascular
fitness and nutrition options," Falk said. "Then we'll play
As befits, a public administration student, Walsh-Frazier sees a
societal effect of the program. "The West Bayfront is a food desert
and urban areas suffer from a lack of fitness options. We have a
moral obligation here. This is our neighborhood. It's a higher
poverty area, and kids aren't going to sports camps, so we wanted
to support and enhance the programming the Y was doing and bring
Summer Fit to the neighborhood."
If successful, the program will be expanded to other city parks
in the future.