In its second year, this program built for boys to become better gentlemen has more than doubled. It is now at both Alamo and Dix Street elementary schools and attracted almost 40 boys this year.
Alamo Teacher Mary Reitenour created this program last year with 18 boys at Alamo after some kids were asking why there wasn’t a “Girls on the Run”-type of program for boys. She developed a curriculum where they focus on six character traits – Positive Thinking, Self Esteem, Sportsmanship, Anger Management, Teamwork and Gentlemen Skills – while training for a 5K triathlon.
It was such a success in its first year that it has expanded to Dix Street Elementary. Teacher Mark Vanderklock and Darcy Bentley run the program there with 17 boys in this first year. VanderKlok helped with Alamo’s program last year.
“I think it’s awesome that the program was able to be expanded to two schools this year,” VanderKlok says, “I also think it’s awesome to be able to have both groups of boys come together since some of them will be co-sixth graders next year.”
The students were thrilled to have it at Dix Street. “I think I turned in my registration the first day you could,” said 4th grader Owen Watson.
The students meet twice a week at their own schools and begin each session with a lesson on one of the character traits and listen to guest speakers associated with those traits, “Having other respected leaders come from the community and share their experiences with the boys is very powerful,” VanderKlok says, “Not all boys are equipped with some of the skills that we share with the boys and boys on the move provides a great outlet for them to learn these important skills.”
“I learned to respect a lot of things more, control your actions, learn to be a gentleman,” Watson said, “It’s not all about you; let other kids get a chance.”
After the lessons, the boys run to train for a 5K triathlon that ends the program. While the students enjoy each lesson, the real energy comes out in their 5K triathlon. Not only do you see hard-working young boys, but teamwork and encouragement. Students don’t look at whose winning or losing, but see everyone as a winner. They support and cheer on each participant as they work to finish and do their best.