As we wind down with the spring session of our Exercise to Achievement program, let’s reflect on all the excitement and accomplishments of our young athletes.
This was the second year of our after-school program, Exercise to Achievement, which allows kids in elementary and middle schools to train for eight weeks to complete our spring triathlon or mud run. Along the way, they learn about nutrition, life skills, and water and bike safety tips that can keep them active all summer and beyond!
In 2015, due to generous funding from our partners at TDS, Meriter and Physician’s Plus, Culver’s, and many others, we were able to offer this program to nine schools in the Madison area:
- Sherman Middle School
- Wright Middle School
- Van Hise Elementary
- Lindbergh Elementary
- Lake View Elementary
- Mendota Elementary
- Sandburg Elementary
- West Middleton Elementary
- Northside Elementary (Middleton)
Some schools practiced once per week, and others met twice per week, but all nine schools had at least 20 participants, and some schools as many as 50! With a range in ages from kindergarten through eighth grade, we were able to offer relevant programming to meet the needs of each age group.
Highlights from Spring 2015
- Journal and Goal-Setting – We added in a journal for each student this year, which allowed them to reflect each week on how practices went, how they were feeling, and tracking progress towards their personalized goals. This introspection and mindfulness of how our mental health works together with our physical health is a key concept I wanted our kids to take away from this program. Check out some of the awesome results!
- Nutrition: We were so fortunate to have supportive and credible partners at Meriter & Physician’s Plus, as well as Dean & St.Mary’s to help provide tips and ideas to fuel our bodies in healthy ways. Each week, kids received a different nutritional handout that covered everything from eating a balanced breakfast to hydration. The team from Dean & St. Mary’s even joined us at several schools to run a game focused on sugar-sweetened beverages, prompting this comment from a parent the next day:
- “The girls came home for dinner after practice and told us everything they learned. We even pulled out the cereal boxes to compare the nutritional value (I think now they will stay away from the Froot Loops….YAY).”
- Swimming Lessons: Water safety is one of the biggest things kids are missing in school today, mainly due to time and budget constraints. Yet, each summer we hear about kids drowning in local lakes and rivers, and something must be done. All of our students received three lessons of swimming through partnerships with Tri-Swim, MSCR, Madison East High School (thank you, Beth!) and the Middleton Cross Plains School District (thanks, Katie!), and I am so grateful to the amazing instructors and guards who gave their time and effort to this important activity. As a result, we had many more kids able to safely complete the swim portion of the triathlon this year. I think the kids really enjoyed it, too.
- Adaptive Fitness: One of our sites included a coach who is also a Physical Therapist, and we piloted inclusion of several lessons focusing on adaptive fitness. The definition of “athlete” and “healthy” is one that sometimes paints a particular picture in our heads that is not often accurate, and we wanted to help instill a broader picture of this for our kids. Our goal is to expand this in the future to more sites…especially because the kids were very interested and excited to learn more about being a para-athlete. Check out these shots from wheelchair tag and basketball with Damian from The Ability Center.
We are thrilled to announce our first summer Exercise to Achievement site at Harbor Athletic Club in Middleton! This session will meet on Mondays and Wednesdays from 12:30-2pm starting June 22nd, with our athletes participating in our Middleton Kids Triathlon on August 22nd. For more information, or to reserve your spot, please email me at email@example.com. More information will be updated on our website next week!