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Fitness club gets a tryout at Farmington school

Dodge Middle School teacher Connie Berg showed students how to use the school’s circuit training machines during Monday’s session of the new Fitness Club. The club was created for middle school student athletes, since spring sports opportunities for middle school students are limited.

New middle school club gives students a way to be active

Michelle Leonard

Staff writer

Spring can be a bummer of a season for middle school athletes in Farmington. But that might change after this week.

This week, a new fitness club is going through its trial run. If it’s successful, the teachers who organized it — Boeckman teachers Heather Ballstadt and Katie Buelo, and Dodge teachers Connie Berg and Lorraine Kennedy — will think about extending it for a longer period of time.

All of the teachers on board are part of the wellness committees for their respective schools. They’re also phy ed teachers and coaches, and they see the value in keeping middle school athletes fit for activity during the spring months.

“We were just looking for something for kids to do, especially this time of the year,” Kennedy said. “We want to get to the kids who want to get out and get some exercise, and make it fun, of course.

Many of the middle school-level spring sports programs have been cut from the District 192 budget. That leaves kids who ordinarily would be playing sports and getting workouts after school without options, Kennedy said.

The four teachers applied for and received some grant funding for the project. The funds were put toward equipment use, allowing the students to participate in fitness club free of charge.

“We’re all volunteering our time to see how it goes for a week,” Kennedy said.

If the club is successful, organizers will look at ways to continue it.

About two dozen students, from all grades at both middle school buildings, showed up for Monday’s first meeting. Fitness club is only running this week, so the kids will do different physical activities every night.

“A couple of the members are phy ed teachers, so they will get the physical activity piece of it put together for us. It’s not like you have to be a great basketball player to be in fitness club,” Kennedy said.

They started Monday’s session with a nutritious snack and a brief overview of the importance of proper nutrition. From there, they moved to the weight rooms at Dodge Middle School, where students were introduced to circuit training machines. Dodge students have already used the machines as part of their physical education classes, but it was something new for the Boeckman Middle School students.

By Friday, the students will have also done activities in the gymnasiums, and in the DMS pool.

Fitness club is held after school from 2:45 p.m. to 4 p.m. — approximately the same hours as after school sports practices for middle school students.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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