Physical activity keeps Grand Junction family busy

Grand Junction, Colo. – Shon and Lana Birch aren’t home much.ShonBirch 800x533

Between the sports that son, Rylan, and daughter, Kyra, play and physical activities as a family, the Grand Junction couple stays busy.

“It’s just what we do,” Lana Birch said. “It’s what drives us.”

Shon Birch is recreation coordinator for the City of Grand Junction, and Lana Birch works in exercise physiology at St. Mary’s Hospital and Medical Center.

Rylan, 11, and Kyra, 8, attend Pomona Elementary. They both play basketball. Rylan also plays football and baseball, and Kyra also plays soccer and softball. Shon Birch coaches his kids’ teams whenever he can. If he’s not coaching, he volunteers to keep score or help in some other way. Both Shon and Lana Birch attend both kids’ practices and games.

“We are very supportive and very involved,” Lana Birch said. “I wouldn’t want it any other way. It’s important to get to know the kids’ teammates and their parents.”

Beyond organized sports for the kids, the family is active. Together, the Birches play golf and tennis, mountain bike, hike, ski and snowshoe, among other activities.

Shon and Lana Birch have agreed to teach their children the importance of healthy choices.

Lana Birch has always been into exercise and fitness, she said. As a child, she did gymnastics and played volleyball and basketball. As an adult, she likes to run and has completed a couple half marathons.

“It’s important to me to be healthy and also teach my kids to be healthy,” she said.

Shon Birch grew up in a small town where kids stayed out until dark, riding bikes or exploring. He wants the same for Rylan and Kyra, he said, though he knows it’s more dangerous today for kids to be out alone. That’s why he and his wife do so many things with their children. Physical activity can teach self-reliance, conflict resolution and common sense, he said, as well as foster risk-taking and creativity.

The family is so active that sometimes they have to choose between activities.

“We can only fit so much in,” Lana Birch said.

But, added Shon Birch: “I want both kids to experience anything and everything they can.”