By Holly Brouker, CIP Berkshire Health & Wellness Coordinator
There is a new offering for the students at Berkshire Center called Open Gym Time every Monday night for 1 hour after dinner. It took many meetings and phone calls since last January to finally get use of local a gymnasium. I met with the Lee Public School Superintendent, last winter and he referred me to the facilities manager who promised if I called again before September he could fit us in since the gymnasiums are always booked solid once the school year begins. Once the call was made, the paper work was filled out: Walla!, we now are able to utilize the Lee Elementary gymnasium every Monday evening for many large space activities not possible at our Wellness Center.
A sign-up sheet goes up at the student mailboxes every Monday and those willing and able are encouraged to attend the session. Last week 8 students hopped in the van with energy overflowing.
We entered the gym and everyone just started running around so we did about 5 min. of running laps and fast walking. The space was inspiring: we could make noise and get out some real pent up energy while kicking in some desired endorphins; so everyone mood was happy and certainly elevated. We set up the volleyball nets together, did a few practice sets, bumps and serves and began a non-scoring, practice game. Everyone was so patient and encouraging to each other and even contributed helpful bits of advice to those who were having difficulties in certain skills.
As the hour began to come to an end I gave everyone a heads-up that we would have to pick up and put the net away soon. Some of the group decided to shoot at the baskets for a while and the others chipped in to help put the net away. I was elated with how wonderful the first session had gone. The students were sweaty, tired, laughing, communicating, singing, and noticeably happy. It was a beautiful sight and I was thrilled that it all finally worked out to have use of a real gymnasium. I look forward to spending more nights with more attendees and actually having some fun indoor gym games throughout the semesters.