Washington Street Elementary students became warriors this spring in a new program focused on fitness and safety called “Young Warriors.”
WSE Physical Education Teacher Amy Nieuwenhuis organized this fitness challenge which taught kids more about swimming, biking and running. “They amazed me with the effort they put forth,” Nieuwenhuis said, “and some of them doubted they could do all the activities, so I think they surprised themselves, too.”
There were 36 participants, boys and girls in grades 3-5. Several teachers also pitched in to volunteer with the program as Warrior Leaders. This 6-week program ended May 30th with 5K challenge. They swam 7 laps, biked 1.8 miles and ran 1.2 miles. In a photo finish, all the participants lined up to cheer the last one over the finish line, “It was amazing!” Nieuwenhuis said.
The kids met twice a week after school starting after spring break. They held three sessions focused on each sport. They talked about the safety issues, such as wearing a helmet and watching out for cars while riding bikes; they also learned techniques to better perform in each activity, “I learned how to pump my arms and how to breathe while you’re running,” says 4th grader Nate Misner. They also incorporated team-building exercises and provided healthy snacks.
The program focused on three things: respect, setting goals and encouraging others, “I’ve seen a change in their respect during school hours, too,” Nieuwenhuis says.
The kids are enjoying it and the comradery that comes with it, they have a warrior cry and hold up three fingers to make a warrior “W”.
“Look at all these people I get to play with and adults to talk to,” Misner says about how much fun it is.
For Heaven Watson, 4th grade, it was a perfect fit. She likes to exercise and liked having an after-school activity, “It gives me something to do that’s athletic and fun,” she said. She added that she also met new friends.
Area business helped to make this all happen; Midway Chevrolet, Otsego Paper and Top Dogs donated bikes, helmets and t-shirts.