Letter to the Editor

Spirit Lake J-term

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

This past month we've had the pleasure to work with students from Spirit Lake High School during their first J-term experience. Two-hundred students signed up for Winter recreation looking to meet two objectives:

* Exposure to new fitness/recreational activities, taking place in Dickinson County, that may lead to future fitness/recreational/volunteer outlets or occupations.

* Participate in at least 30 minutes of physical activity at a moderate to vigorous intensity level, making a positive impact on fitness levels and behaviors.

Creating a class to facilitate these objectives meant partnering and collaborating with many agencies throughout our community.

The YMCA played a vital role in providing both a facility as well as top notch instruction. It was rewarding to see former Spirit Lake student, Krissy Kidd, utilize her post-secondary degree as she instructed students during new fitness opportunities daily throughout J-Term. We're grateful to Norm Johnson, Andrew Fisher, Tyler Reiter, Nikki Schupbach and the rest of the YMCA staff for their willingness to work with us.

Jeff Morrison and Shawn Peterson, representing our local DNR, were kind enough to instruct multiple days of archery lessons as well as educating us on other DNR and target shooting opportunities.

Corey Diischer -- representing the National Guard -- brought his co-worker with him for two entertaining days of fitness opportunities as well exposing us to post-secondary opportunities the armed services can offer.

Carol Baines and the staff from The Corner Lanes provided two days for our bowling enthusiasts as they opened their doors to us.

Lindsay Vander Woulde of Bridges Bay and her staff saved the day offering a weather related alternative for our students.

Sadly, Mother Nature didn't cooperate with all of our outdoor activities but I'd be remorseful if I didn't thank a few people for their willingness to work with us: Barbara Tagami, Angela Wills, of the Dickinson County Conservation Board and Rory Martinson of the DNR. We'll look forward to snowshoeing, cross country skiing and Horseshoe Bend opportunities next year.

Rich Wiltgen gets our vote for "Bus Driver of the Year" for shuttling us around to all of these events. Brock Holman, Mark Eldridge and Connie Johnson, thanks for your dedication to our students during this ride.

Finally, a special thanks to each and every student who rose to the occasion daily during this experience.


Tim O'Hagan, Doug VanDerWilt, Tim Heinitz