Global Village Academy’s journey to a healthier school started two years ago when program advisor Tyler Kain attended a Colorado SHAPE conference where he learned about the Fuel Up to Play 60 program. The day of the SHAPE conference, Kain found out that the deadline to apply for Fuel Up to Play 60 grants to jumpstart the program was that evening – so he quickly got to work applying. Kain’s speedy efforts paid off, because his school was awarded a grant that Kain used to purchase 30 uploadable pedometers for his students.
“I’ve always loved using technology in the classroom, so when we received the grant we used it to get a set of 30 pedometers, and use them for grades 3-5 to track steps, activity time and moderate to vigorous physical activity time,” explained Kain. “We’re in a data driven world, so when we can have something tangible to show students, parents & admin, it’s cool. When kids have the pedometer on, they do not sit on the sidelines. Participation levels have increased tenfold, so that’s been awesome.”
Kain is very proud of the effect the pedometers have had on students. The kids are excited about it and post their results outside the classroom, which makes it a fun competition – and that’s the reason it is so successful.
But the pedometers were only the start of his school’s journey. To help his students make healthier choices food-wise, Kain also used grant funds to purchase a blender. Kain has found passing out smoothies to be especially successful with the older students at the school. The smoothies, full of healthy foods like milk, yogurt and fruit give students the opportunity to not only get those nutrients in their diets, but to actively choose them over other, less healthy, options.
The student team at Global Village Academy is passionate about helping their classmates reach their health and wellness goals – and they are a driving force of the program. The team has formed their own ideas within the program – from creating their own eating healthy skit to perform for the younger kids, to crafting the new physical activity play they are rolling out this year.
“Our play for this year moves our school toward active classrooms,” said Kain. “We’re using funds to create active classrooms by using stand up desks, exercise balls or stools instead of chairs. We created the play ourselves – and the students really pride themselves on it because it was their idea.”
Kain has a few tips for fellow program advisors or anyone thinking about starting the program at their own school. First, get the initial steps completed so that your school can host a kick-off assembly where Miles, the Denver Broncos Mascot comes to the school and gets the students excited about health and wellness – the assembly sets the tone for a new school and gets the students motivated and generates a buzz.
Kain’s next piece of advice is, if possible, have two or more program advisors so the responsibility of leading the program is spread out, instead of trying to juggle all the aspects of the program single-handedly.
Finally, Kain recommends meeting with the student team once a week to make sure the school is implementing the program to the best of their ability and to keep everyone excited.
Kain has personally seen a tremendous positive impact in his school through the Fuel Up to Play 60 program, and is grateful that dairy farmers have taken an interest and invested in the futures of students throughout the U.S.
“I would like to thank Western Dairy and all the dairy farmers within the community for their continued support of not only my school, but all the schools within the Fuel Up to Play 60 program. I have seen our students grow as young ambassadors within the Fuel Up to Play 60 program and community, as well as create a culture at our school where students are working for a healthier and more physically active school.”
Program advisors like Kain set students up to improve their own health, their school’s health and their community’s health. Are you ready to get your school enrolled in the Fuel Up to Play 60 program? Click here to get started!