Health, Sport, and Culture Expo had something for everyone!

Health, Sport, and Culture Expo had something for everyone!

More than 1,000 people attended the first-ever joint Health, Sport, and Culture Expo at Raoul Illidge Sports Complex on Saturday, August 27. From 7:00am to 3:30pm, people flocked to the sports complex to learn more about the many sports, culture and health stakeholders on St. Maarten and to participate in live demonstrations, free testing, and food sampling.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth, and Sport (ECYS), via its Department of Sport and Culture, and NAGICO Insurance joined forces to organize the well-attended expo in which all facets of health, sports and culture came together.

Before even entering the sports complex, it was clear just how successful the event was by the number of vehicles parked on the pavement, side of the road, and even blocking other cars. With more than 1,000 attendees, Raoul Illidge Sports Complex was full of excited people ready to participate in some sporty, healthy, and cultural fun.

The event was for all ages: some people brought their young children, some came alone to register for sports and get tested, and the Senior Citizen Recreational Foundation brought elderly to enjoy the day.

The event was completely free for both the organisations present and the participants. This meant that the participating organizations, most of which are non-profit, could provide information, offer demonstrations, and expand their customer/member base without having to pay a vendor fee. The attendees, on the other hand, were able to ask questions, sign up to various sports organizations, participate in demonstrations and health checks, and receive drinks, food samples and health products – all completely free of charge.

More than 54 organizations and businesses demonstrated the diversity and variety of all St. Maarten has to offer in terms of health, sports, and culture.

The health arena covered many areas. Various organizations offered free on-site testing: the AIDS Foundation performed HIV tests, SLS had sickle cell testing, the Diabetes Foundation offered diabetes tests, the Heart and Stroke Foundation conducted blood pressure tests, and the Mental Health Foundation handed out self-assessment tests for anxiety and depression.

The Red Cross and WIEMS were present to inform the public on first aid, while CPS answered questions, raised awareness of mosquito diseases and distributed free toothpaste. The dietitians from Greenmeds and the Qualichi Healthcare Clinic spoke to participants about the importance of healthy eating. The Positive Foundation raised awareness for breast and prostate cancer and invited persons to free screenings.

But more alternative healthcare options were also represented. Wonderhands brought acupuncture needles and provided information on different traditional Chinese Medicine Practices, while Earth and Sky Hypnotherapy spoke about using hypnotherapy to reprogram bad habits and develop good ones. Last but not least, Mindful Elevation Caribbean held free meditation and breathing sessions throughout the day to combat stress and anger.

Participants did not go hungry or thirsty despite the August heat thanks to the selection of free food samples and drinks. Fitfoods gave out healthy snacks such as pumpkin bread, banana muffins, brownies, juices, falafel, and soups. San’s Johnny Cakes offered samples of their authentic johnny cakes and taught attendees how to bake johnny cakes the old-fashioned way using a coal pot. Jenny’s Vegan Kitchen gave out delicious corn and zucchini muffins, granola and energy bites, while Real Food Strictly Vegan distributed mango salad, vegan burger, vegan mince, veggies, home fries and soup.

While walking around the sports complex, it became increasingly clear how much St. Maarten has to offer in terms of sports. The Carib Swim Team showed up with a kiddie pool and gave out information on their swimming practices. Island Rebel Yoga hosted a 7:00am yoga class and people practiced their handstands during a big capoeira demonstration in the middle of the field. Bodybuilders walked around to explain correct form and answer questions while interested persons tried out some of their gym equipment.

SIMVA brought a volleyball net, Little League brought baseball bats, Share The Road Cycling brought bicycles and Skate Sessions brought out skateboards, helmets and ramps for everyone to try out. Most surprisingly, Seaside Nature Park transported three horses to Raoul Illidge for rides and horse petting.

The Yacht Club provided information on sailing for both kids and adults. Meanwhile, both Renzo Gracie showcased Jiu Jitsu and self-defence and SXM Boxing’s demonstrations packed a punch. The Performance Sports Academy and Soualiga Youth Basketball Association spoke about their shared mission to bring back youth basketball and offered demonstrations and registration.

The Road Runners and Dynamics Sporting Club were present to encourage persons to join their runs and BodyTec explained the concept of electro muscle stimulation to those interested in a quick, but efficient workout.

Lastly, the culture showcased some of the many artists and cultural foundations on St. Maarten. Poets Marianne Tefft and Rochelle Ward promoted poetry in general and showcased their own publications, while painter Hanisha Alwani displayed her art. Write the Vision provided information on their movie productions and Choreographing History spoke about their work turning historical narratives into dances.

In general, dance was well-represented. NIA, Indisu, Rudolph Davis Performing Arts School and Fraser Ballroom Dance all promoted dance as an art form and displayed their passion in various dance demonstrations.

For music, the Expo had the Youth Orchestra, Le Piano Noir, Hart Music School and St. Martin’s 88 afterschool music clubs. The National Heritage Foundation and Museum and Sint Maarten Archaeological Center (SIMARC) joined forces to raise awareness in terms of local history, archaeology, and heritage.

The Daily Herald

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