Activities set for Family Literacy Night event


Crothersville Elementary School students and their families will be happy and healthy campers after Thursday’s Family Literacy Night.

In its 12th year, the event, which goes from 5 to 7 p.m. and has a Happy Camper theme, will include a buy-one-get-one-free Scholastic book fair, games and bingo with more than 100 books given away as prizes. Two people also will receive $20 to spend at the book fair through a door prize drawing, and new this year is a book walk, similar to a cake walk.

Another new feature this year is an interactive health fair organized by Leadership Jackson County’s first health project team, consisting of Heather VonDielingen, Amanda Bieber, Rachel Sterling, Jeff Fields and Joe Green.

When youth arrive in the gymnasium, they will receive a passport and a bag at the information booth from VonDielingen and Bieber. They will then visit 12 different booths and participate in a variety of interactive activities that promote healthy living.

Several goodies will be handed out at the booths for children to put in their bags. That will include dental health kits, water bottles, Frisbees, jump ropes, stress balls, bananas, apples and Bike Jackson County brochures.

VonDielingen said after a few weeks of trying to determine their project, the team members narrowed their focus to physical health.

In her job with Purdue Extension Jackson County, VonDielingen said she has had several conversations with Principal Chris Marshall about bringing resources to Crothersville. She had a 4-H booth at Family Literacy Night last year, so she reached out to Marshall about the Leadership Jackson County team setting up an interactive health fair this year.

She was put in contact with Title I teacher Tina Kilgore, who organizes Family Literacy Night, and Kilgore was happy to have them be involved.

Then the team members, 4-H Junior Leaders and Purdue Extension nutrition education program assistant Maddie Underwood reached out to community groups that focus on health to participate in the fair.

Along with Junior Leaders and the nutrition education program, the booths will include Community Health Center of Jackson County, Anthem, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeast Indiana, Scott County Family YMCA, Southern Indiana Rural Health Clinic and Crothersville athletes.

As the Community Health Center’s practice manager, Bieber said she works closely with its providers to find ways to improve the health of Jackson County.

At a recent Healthy Jackson County meeting, she said it was stated that changing the county’s health culture will take generational involvement.

“Kids have a big influence on their parents,” she said. “If they find something fun to do, they will try their best to get the parents involved so they can participate. We asked all community partners to provide some sort of fun interactive activity so that the families see that being healthy is enjoyable. I am hopeful that this event will be another great resource for families to inform them of healthy choices and include engaging activities along the way.”

The YMCA was asked since it is partnering with Crothersville for an after-school program in 2017-18, and school officials asked the health clinic to participate because it has been available to students since January. The school’s telehealth equipment will be on display.

“The community partners who will be participating are very excited to be involved,” VonDielingen said. “We want this to be a sustainable event coinciding with Family Literacy Night, so hopefully, additional community partners will be involved in the future.”

There also will be a mini bike rodeo, a hula-hoop booth, an interactive dancing booth and an eat this or that booth.

Sterling said the team came up with the mini bike rodeo after visiting the Jackson County Visitor Center and seeing a Bike Jackson County bicycle trails brochure, which was created in 2014 by a Leadership Jackson County project team.

“The bike rodeo is our way to introduce the trails to the students in a fun and interactive way,” Sterling said. “Also, two bikes will be part of our grand giveaways.”

As a way to get kids active, Leadership Jackson County executive director Terrye Davidson will run the hula-hoop booth, while Fields will man the interactive dancing booth.

Fields said his booth will demonstrate to parents that there are healthy alternatives for video games.

“Most people don’t realize that 30 minutes of a video game that includes movement, such as Kinect or PlayStation MotionPlus, can be just as intense or more intense than cardio workouts,” Fields said.

“We purchased these games for our kids so that they were doing something they had fun at but were not sitting on the couch for long periods of time,” he said. “Even the low-intensity games that include the movement sensors require you to stand while playing them, automatically making them better than a game you sit down to play.”

At the eat this or that booth, Green will show pictures or illustrations of various food items for kids to compare and say which one is better for them. Participants will receive an apple or a banana.

“This activity booth will follow the path of our school systems’ direction to promote better nutrition ideas for our kids,” Green said.

Kilgore said Family Literacy Night typically draws around 300 people, so she expects everyone to benefit from all of the activities.

If you go

What: 12th annual Family Literacy Night

When: 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday

Where: Crothersville Elementary School, 109 S. Preston St., Crothersville

Who: Open to Crothersville families

Features: Buy-one-get-one-free Scholastic book fair, games, bingo with books as door prizes and book walk; the Leadership Jackson County health project team also will conduct an interactive health fair in the gymnasium with 12 booths and interactive activities

Author photo
Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at or 812-523-7080.