Ray helping set pace for kids to stay active, healthy

Shannon S. Ray.jpeg

Shannon S. Ray is recreation superintendent for the Edenton-Chowan Recreation Department.


BY Anna Goodwin McCarthy

Saturday, January 26, 2019

As recreation superintendent of the Edenton-Chowan Recreation Department, Shannon Ray is helping set the pace for kids to pursue healthy lives.

“We want to help kids stay active and healthy,” she says.

One of the recreation department’s top programs for helping kids stay active and healthy is 5Kids. It will be offered twice a week at D.F. Walker Elementary School starting on March 11.  

Ray said 5Kids is for all levels of runners. Some children start the program not able to run a mile, while others focus on improving their times.

Ray said she often gives children who participate in 5Kids visual goals, like running to trees, instead of abstract distances. She said it is important for them to be able to “visually see the end.”

The program has been successful teaching participants running skills they can use later on to run either for fun or competitively, Ray said. Some of the program’s participants in fact have gone on to run either track or cross country in high school.

“It is nice to see kids develop a love of running at an early age,” Ray says.

She said the 5Kids training sessions at D.F. Walker will culminate in youth participating in the Kids and Cops Glow Run 5K in Edenton in May.

In addition to 5Kids, Ray said the Edenton-Chowan Recreation Department offers programs for youth in sailing, swimming, basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball, football, cheerleading and soccer.

“We have over 1,500 participants on over 100 teams,” she said.

Ray fondly recollects growing up in Wilson, and playing parks and rec soccer.

“I loved playing, and now I enjoy coaching,” said Ray, who coaches some of the Edenton-Chowan rec teams.

Ray is also looking forward to Adventure Day on Thursday, Feb. 7. The field trip to Chesapeake, Virginia, will offer kids a chance to see a movie and ice skate. Ray said registration for the event begins on Monday and the cost of the trip is $25.

Ray said she wanted to create activities like Adventure Day following the success of the Adventure Camp the Edenton-Chowan Recreation Department offers in the summer.

Ray earned her bachelor’s degree in parks, recreation and tourism management from N.C. State University. She has worked with the Edenton-Chowan Recreation Department for 17 years and has been the recreation superintendent for more than two years.

Ray enjoys spending time with her husband, David, and their children, Jackson and Carson. They are members of Edenton Baptist Church.

For more information about the organization’s programs and events, visit the Edenton-Chowan Recreation Department Facebook page.