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Kids On The Move

A child does a flip Wednesday at Jamestown First Assembly's Kids On The Move event at Nickeus Park. John M. Steiner / The Sun

When Jamestown First Assembly brought its Kids On The Move program to Nickeus Park, children were in groups of about 10 enjoying their time learning fundamentals of wrestling, soccer and baseball.

"It's really fun," said Eric Chea, 11, Jamestown. "You get to learn about God and have fun, too."

Eric said he moved to Jamestown from North Carolina about two years ago. Since 2015, he started coming to Kids On The Move and also attends First Assembly. He said he has met new friends and enjoys sports such as soccer, football, wrestling and basketball.

Mackenna Hieb, 9, Jamestown, also enjoys going to Kids On The Move events. She has attended Kids On The Move events for two years and has also been attending First Assembly for two years.

"I like it because it is fun," she said. "They don't just talk about God. They actually do fun activities."

Mackenna said she enjoys soccer and has also met new friends by attending Kids On The Move, even though she knows many of the people because she attends First Assembly.

Kids On The Move is a program for youth - usually children ages 3 to fifth grade - that was designed to get into the community and reach children, said Andrea Mathison, children's pastor at Jamestown First Assembly. The program is 1 1/2 hours long and includes interactive Bible stories, music, object lessons, water games and snacks.

This year First Assembly began teaching children sports because some don't participate in sports when they are in school, Mathison said. Volunteers have taught soccer, basketball, wrestling and volleyball to children, she said.

"They have taught these different skills so they would have some sports skills under their belt," she said. "There is a lot of Christian elements to it (sports) as well, like keep going when things get hard and those type of things. So just giving them life lessons."

Bob Welsh, who volunteers at Kids On The Move events, helps set up the truck and does other tasks. He said it is good to see children having fun and hearing good stories.

"The kids enjoy it," he said. "Pastor Andrea does a good job with the stories and games. We just have a lot of fun."

Kids On The Move goes to five different parks throughout the summer. This summer, the program has been held at Meidinger, Leapaldt, Klaus and Nickeus parks and the Stutsman County Fair. Kids On The Move will also be held at McElroy Park on the first two Wednesdays in August, and the event will be held at First Assembly two more times.

First Assembly launched the Kids On The Move program in 2013.

"We started with where we would load up our stuff in our car and take it to the park when it started in 2013," Mathison said.

In 2014, First Assembly got a truck. Mathison said work has been done on the truck for the last three years and the back of the truck folds down and makes a stage. The truck has cupboards and carries all of the equipment to Kids On The Move events. A wrap was also put on the exterior of the truck.

Mathison said the program began because First Assembly wanted to meet with families where they are in a comfortable setting. She said First Assembly staff noticed that families go to the parks in the evenings and it is a great place to meet and visit with them and invite them to come to another Kids On The Move event.

"We've seen people start coming to our church because of Kids On The Move and different things like that," she said.

Jamestown resident Bethany Jobson said her child, Mason, 8, has been attending Kids On The Move events since they moved here from Portland, Ore., two years ago.

"I think it is fantastic. She (Mathison) does such a good job in engaging them and teaching them and involving them," she said. "We were new to the area when we started Kids On The Move and he has made some wonderful friends."

First Assembly will hold a picnic Sunday, Aug. 20, at McElroy Park. First Assembly will give away 18 prizes to children. Every time children attend Kids On The Move events, they can sign up for the prizes and have more chances to win.