Two groups of young people are organizing and planning events to help make the Tamaqua a healthier, cleaner place.

Last night, the borough council heard from members of Girl Scout Troop 31106 and members of the junior class at Tamaqua Area High School. Both groups were seeking approval for upcoming projects that will benefit the community.

The high school students, including David Frederick, Joseph Franco, Martin Sedlock, Shane Mulligan, Troy Reinhardt, Dylan Houser, and Brandon Fogel, presented council with some alarming facts related to obesity, both in Schuylkill County and Tamaqua.

According to statistics that the group presented, approximately 67 percent of the population of Schuylkill County is overweight or obese. The group focuses particularly on obesity among school children, where the number of obese children is above the county average.

Citing a recent health assessment completed by St. Luke's, the young men pointed out that about half of the population is thinking about making lifestyle changes, and hoped that they might encourage that group to make those changes by providing information and activities to get people educated and motivated.

The group requested permission to hold a "Fit Day" festival, consisting of entertainment, healthy eating opportunities, health screenings, and other fitness activities.

The group said they are also considering holding a health benefit walk, which would benefit local charities who are helping the fight against obesity.

"Our goal is to help bring an end to obesity in Tamaqua," said one of the young men. Council approved the activities, pending review of further, specific information.

Council received requests from the Girl Scouts to approve two projects, one which is being held in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scout organization, "The Land of Running Water Environmental Cleanup." The proposal stated that the scouts would like to clean up a two mile area around the rivers and parks that go through Tamaqua. The troop has received a grant through the Girls Scouts Heart of Pennsylvania to assist with the project.

The activities would include picking up trash, sorting recyclables, making compost, planting trees and annual flowers, and educating the community. The scouts plan also plan to have an Earth Day celebration and re-dedication ceremony.

Another request by the scouts included a cleanup project that is part of their "Bronze Award." Empowered to act as "agents of change" in the community, the scouts decided that they would like to clean up the playgrounds in the community to help "make the world a better place."

Council approved both projects.

"Tamaqua is very blessed with recreation opportunities," said council president Micah Gursky, "but the only way that they stay nice is when people put the effort into keeping them that way." Gursky complimented both organizations on their plans, calling them "well thought out."