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Published February 01, 2022
This fall, the University of Wyoming’s Division of Kinesiology and Health will host a program designed to deliver health education and physical activity training to Wyoming middle school students and will equip physical education teachers with resources to provide healthy lifestyle improvements for students in schools throughout the state.
Funding to support the Healthy Kids Round Up program is provided through a grant from the American Heart Association (AHA). The initial grant, totaling $10,000, will go toward supporting the inaugural one-day event on the UW campus, with activities and events hosted in the Corbett Building, Half Acre Recreation and Wellness Center gym and War Memorial Stadium. Other locations on the UW campus also may be used.
The exact date of the program will be announced later this year.
Ben Kern and Kelly Simonton, UW assistant professors of kinesiology and health, are spearheading the effort in conjunction with K-12 educators throughout the state.
The AHA, in partnership with the Wyoming Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (WAHPERD); the Wyoming Physical Education Teaching (WYO PETe) Collaborative; and UW, will provide educational and event planning resources. Division of Kinesiology and Health faculty and students, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, will help implement program activities such as in-person registration, breakout sessions for students and adults, and oversee healthy recreation periods throughout the day.
“On the day of the event, while students are involved in learning sessions, teachers will be engaged in professional development about facilitating their students’ return to school and sharing what they have learned,” says Kern, who is a WAHPERD advisory board member. “Part of this professional development will include sessions instructing teachers on how to host a schoolwide event where students can share what they learned at the Healthy Kids Round Up and promote health in their own community.”
Teachers will be encouraged to host their events through a request for proposal process where the Healthy Kids Round Up Board awards schools funding to support such a schoolwide event. The event’s goals are to promote students’ awareness for healthy living and improve theirs and their teachers’ abilities to advocate for healthy living in local schools and communities.
As additional details are worked out, Kern says a goal is to have one physical education teacher along with four to six students from each participating school, bringing an estimated total of 24-36 participants to the UW campus for the program. Transportation to and from the event, meals during the event and branded apparel will be provided free of charge to all participants. Additionally, the cost of substitute teachers for participating teachers will be paid directly to their respective Wyoming schools.
“We hope this current group of young people will one day be students here at the University of Wyoming,” Kern says. “We hope to make the Healthy Kids Round Up program an annual event to help give them a good start in knowing the benefits of lifelong physical activity, exercise and health-related fitness, and personal and social health in physical activity settings.”