Zumbathon fundraiser planned for Friday

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FARMINGTON — A popular and upbeat exercise program this year at the University of Maine at Farmington Fitness and Recreation Center is the basis for a united Upward Bound and Fitness Center fundraiser planned for Friday.

From 6 to 9 p.m., people of all ages and abilities are invited to try the quick, easy-to-follow, aerobic dance moves to Latin rhythms called Zumba, said Trisha Thomas, assistant director of the Fitness and Recreation Center.

For a $10 fee, anyone is welcome to join the three-hour Zumba session being held at the Fitness and Recreation Center. No experience is necessary, she said. All ages are welcome, although those under 14 need adult supervision.

During the session, door prizes and giveaways, including a one-hour massage, golf and rafting trips, artwork, a three-month membership to the Fitness and Recreation Center or a 10-visit Zumba card, will be awarded.

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For those not quite ready to try the exercise, the public is welcome to come watch with a “Celebrity Zumba” session planned for intermission, Thomas said. Faculty and community members, dressed in their favorite gym attire (some retro 1970s), will be taught a few Salsa “moves” with a winner chosen by audience applause, she said.

The high intensity, high energy, exercise class started last September at the Fitness and Recreation Center, center director Jim Toner said. Classes on Tuesday and Thursday, open to the community and Fitness Center members, average about 80 participants per class but can reach up to 150. That’s the number they hope will fill the center Friday night.

The routine can be slower with participants choosing how much intensity they put into the moves, said Thomas, who also teaches a class. It’s a high-calorie-burning, fitness craze reaching across the United States and internationally.

When Upward Bound personnel started looking for fundraising activities, the popular exercise offered an opportunity for the two programs to work together. Funds raised for the Fitness and Recreation Center will help provide future programs, Toner said.

Likewise, the federal program, Upward Bound, which supports and assists students from low-income families who are often the first in the family to attend college, provides year-round academic support and a six-week summer residential program at UMF, Director Lynn Ploof-Davis said.

Covering 11 schools in Franklin, Somerset and Kennebec counties, Upward Bound assists a total of 67 students, she said. The program budget has not changed for the past seven years, leaving personnel to reach out and look for fundraising activities.

During the summer, students participate in career development classes, learning of potential jobs and the education needed to work in those positions. Each student also works afternoons at 32 different job sites around the community, she said. Each is paid a stipend for their work.

The funds raised will help continue those programs and support career development field trips such as ones planned to Kibby Mountain and a medical day at Maine Medical Center this summer, she said.

For more information about the Zumbathon, call 778-7505.

abryant@sunjournal.com

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