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WinterKids: Inspiring Active and Healthy Lifestyles Through Outdoor Activities

WinterKids Executive Director, Julie Mulkern

I’ve seen these ads on Pinterest and Facebook that start something like, “when I was a kid…,” and lately I’ve started to relate with these posts, and it makes me think, “wait, when did I become a grown up?” While I accept the reality of my fate, this week’s Monday Maine Maven, Julie Mulkern of WinterKids, believes that all children should still enjoy these experiences—experiences that develop active and healthy lifestyles.

Mulkern says, “Our message is simple, but so important: get outside, get active, be healthy and have fun!” WinterKids is a nonprofit that offers programs to Maine families, schools and communities to encourage outdoor winter activity. Their programs include snowshoeing, dog sledding, downhill skiing, snowboarding and more.

WinterKids outreach efforts have been more than successful says Mulkern stating, “Our school programs are serving a record 4,300 children pre-K through seventh grade this year alone.” This growth is a result of a multi-faceted, ongoing media campaign. Combine that effort with 15,000 e-newsletter recipients, PSAs on major television networks, and a growing presence on Facebook, and you have an unstoppable force in WinterKids.

Seth Wescott (center) and WinterKids staff at their annual License to Chill fundraiser last year.

Don’t let the name fool you; while they focus on winter outdoor exercise, they are becoming increasingly active in the warmer months of the year. Mulkern declares, “Our staff works year-round to ensure that we are developing the very best programs for Maine. We are partnering with like-minded organizations in spring and summer to keep up the momentum.”

Their Facebook page has created a new way to connect WinterKids’ variety of programs to Maine families. They host contests, giveaways, and promotions to engage their fans. Another draw for their fans is their official spokesperson, Olympian and Maine native Seth Wescott.

Julie describes Seth as the ultimate winter kid saying, “Seth is from Maine and he really values what we do.” A part of Seth’s role is promoting the organization through PSAs and by representing them at school visits throughout the state. Last winter he met more than 2,000 kids. The lucky students had the honor of trying on his Olympic gold medals. Mulkern says it’s an unforgettable experience adding, “They get to hear firsthand just how important, fun and life changing outdoor winter activity can be, and we are incredibly lucky to have Seth on our team.”

To learn more about the WinterKids programs, please visit their website www.winterkids.org or like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/winterkids. They will also be hosting a Downhill Derby this weekend and you are all encouraged to stop on by and be a WinterKid!

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