Marsha Chartrand

Walkers receive incentive prizes to add interest

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Walk-to-school participants who have joined in on five days are starting to reap the tangible benefits!

There are many good reasons to walk to school: it’s healthier, it is more energy-efficient, and it’s definitely fun! (Especially when you walk to school with a large group of kids, teachers, and community members). But sometimes it’s hard for kids to be able to understand that big picture and see these sometimes elusive ideas.

So, to encourage this beneficial activity, some of last week’s walkers reaped a more tangible benefit for their consistency in walking–they got prizes, too.

Kids who participate in Moo-ving Mondays, Walk-to-school Wednesdays, and Fabulous Friday walks are starting to earn prizes as they reach the very first level of participation–five days of walking. More incentives will follow at 10 days, 25 days, and more. The walking program, coordinated by Klager teacher Kathy O’Mara, is able to offer these prizes thanks to grants from the 5 Healthy Towns Foundation. Future incentives for walking will be announced to the entire school at an upcoming assembly.

“It has caused lots of talk,” said O’Mara of the incentive prizes. “I can’t wait until the (larger incentives) get to Klager and see what excitement that brings.”

Each day that a child walks to school, he or she gets a punch on a card to show that they’ve been there. As the number of punches grow, so do the prizes that are available! Some of the incentives are already on display at Klager, and larger prizes are in the works.

O’Mara’s enthusiasm for the program is just as contagious around Klager as are the many viruses that are keeping kids out of school. She’s creating quite a buzz around the building and getting more and more kids (and staff members) to participate each week.  Last Wednesday, about six representatives of 5HF from Chelsea joined the walk to see what it’s all about, to try and get ideas to grow the program in that community. One walker commented, “Manchester is much farther ahead of the curve than Chelsea is in this project!” They, too, commented on O’Mara’s infectious passion and decided it might be necessary to “clone” her to make their program as successful as Manchester’s.

Ideas, participants, and more excitement are welcomed as the Walk to School program continues for the remainder of the school year. Meet on Mondays and Wednesdays at 7:30 am at either Wurster Park Gazebo or at the rock in front of the former Middle School. Chi-Bro walkers meet at 7:45 am. On Fridays, everyone meets at Chi-Bro at 7:45 am. Be there, or be square!

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