Natural High 5K and Fitness Festival

WEST PORTSMOUTH — The Natural High 5K and Fitness Festival will be held Saturday, June 25, at 8 a.m., at Earl Thomas Conley Riverside Park in West Portsmouth. All proceeds benefit The Counseling Center’s Summer Outreach Club. The 27th year of The Summer Outreach Club is currently underway, which is a nine-week summer day camp program that is free to children ages five to 12 in Scioto County and beyond.

The camp offers free breakfast and lunch, motivational, educational and recreational activities in a hands-on learning environment, all while partnering with multiple community agencies and volunteers within the area who graciously teach classes, mentor and support the over 150 kids each day.

Gina Collingsworth, director of community relations and development at Compass Community Health and The Counseling Center, Inc., said the Summer Outreach Club is one of the longest-running programs for youth in the state of Ohio.

“The Summer Outreach Club is one of the longest-running youth, drug prevention programs in the state of Ohio. For most of that time, the program has been led by Clarence Parker, program director for The Counseling Center Outreach and Prevention services. He is an inspiring leader and mentor for the kids and last year saw record attendance, averaging over 100 kids a day,” Collingsworth said.

Numerous community members band together for children to have positive experiences for youth.

“It is very inspiring to see so many community members coming together to make sure children have positive experiences like swimming, learning about food and nutrition through growing vegetables in the community garden, and field trips to grow their minds at the Portsmouth Public Library or the Southern Ohio Museum and Cultural Center,” Collingsworth said.

“Children who attend this year will participate in activities that include learning about budgeting money, fire safety from the Red Cross puppet show, wellness and exercise, hands on learning about pets and so much more. This year will be the third year for a youth Youtube media team, so parents and friends will be able to log on to The Counseling Center Facebook page and see weekly news stories written and filmed by campers. It’s going to be a great year.”

Participants in the Summer Outreach Club enjoy swimming, outings in the park, library and museum visits, daily activities in the community garden and this year’s grand finale field trip is planned for the Beach Water Park in Cincinnati.

Melisssa Whitt, community relations and development specialist at Compass Community Health and The Counseling Center, Inc., said they expect this year’s Fitness Festival to be a remarkable success.

“We are really looking forward to this year’s Fitness Festival. We believe this event will be a huge success, and a tremendous amount of fun for the community because it incorporates so many different types of fitness activities that many people love in the area, and can come together as families,” Whitt said.

“And is not only coming together for the purpose of fitness, but it is also to raise money for a very good cause, being the Summer Outreach Club. This is our second fundraiser that we do for the Summer Outreach Club, and the Club is so vitally important to the community. The children get to experience so many fun, awesome activities including within the community and get an opportunity to travel.”

The Natural High 5K and Fitness Festival offers a wide variety of fitness activities that will appeal to many fitness levels, ages and interests. This year participants can enjoy high-intensity Iron Body Boot Camp with Yvonne Hale and Shauna Dowdy from Iron Body Fitness, Hip Hop Heat dance with Shelly Wisener from SOMC Life Center, mind-calming Yoga in the Park with Melissa Davis, chair and table massages with Sarah Colley from Old Firehouse Fitness and Mariah Patton, an inflatable kid’s obstacle course, and KnockerBall, which puts participants inside a large, clear inflatable ball where they can go head-to head with each other for tons of bouncy fun! Check out informational tables from local organizations like ADAMHS Board, Portsmouth City Health Department, Shawnee Family Health Center, and Scioto County Health Coalition all while enjoying free refreshments provided by great local restaurants and businesses.

Registration will begin at 7 a.m., with the race promptly starting at 8 a.m. Runners and walkers alike will enjoy the beautiful landscape as they travel the gently rolling course with views of the Ohio River, scenic open fields and the beautiful Earl Thomas Conley Park during the 3.1 mile course. Awards for racers will be presented immediately following the race at 8:45 a.m., with a trophy going to the top male and female finishers, and medals for 1st and 2nd place winners in each age division.

After the 5K Run/Walk, The Fitness Festival will kick-off at 9 a.m. with Iron Body Fitness Boot Camp, followed by Hip Hop Heat dancing at 10 a.m., and Yoga in the Park at 11 a.m.

There will be several on-going activities throughout the morning as well, with many geared toward youth and children. From 9 a.m. — 12 p.m. check out the inflatable children’s obstacle course and KnockerBalls, giant inflatable balls you climb into and flip, roll, run and

knock into things. Defy gravity as you’re catapulted into midair in what is sure to be full exhilarating knocks and rolls!

Prices for the Natural High 5K and Fitness Festival are $20 for the 5K race and $10 for the first class or activity enrolled for the Fitness Festival. Enroll in additional Fitness Festival Events for $5 each.

To register, help sponsor or for more information on the event please contact The Counseling Center, Inc. or Melissa Whitt, Public Relations and Development Specialist at 740-354-3829 ext. 2707 or email [email protected]. Participants may also pre-register online at

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Courtesy photo
The Counseling Center’s Eighth Annual Natural High 5k and Fitness Festival will be held at Earl Thomas Conley Park in West Portsmouth on Saturday, June 25. photo
The Counseling Center’s Eighth Annual Natural High 5k and Fitness Festival will be held at Earl Thomas Conley Park in West Portsmouth on Saturday, June 25.

By Portia Williams

[email protected]

Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.

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