Gypsum: Fun and fitness fuel homework |

Gypsum: Fun and fitness fuel homework

Katie Drucker
Eagle Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
Kristin Anderson/EnterpriseRed Hill Elementary School students Ryder Bossow, left, and Kyle Farris read during Homework Fitness Club at the Gypsum Recreation Center.

GYPSUM, Colorado ” Dean Smith, 9, of Red Hill Elementary School, says his teacher told him he would be a great college professor one day. He agrees.

Even if the third grader wavers on his career choice, he is still working toward a great academic future and healthy life. Smith, along with other local children, participates in the Homework Fitness Club at Gypsum Recreational Center after school Monday through Thursday.

This program was founded by the Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation District in Octobery. Homework Fitness Club is designed to help kids complete school work, to teach them to be good citizens and to sneak in a fun exercise.

The kids do their homework for half an hour and then exercise, rotating physical activities every day. The activities swimming, rock climbing, gym activites and X-arcade (video games that require exercise to operate).

“Normally I would stay at school playing computer games,” said Smith. “This is a lot more fun.”

According to American Heart Association, more than 9 million children and adolescents between the ages of 6 and 19 years old are considered overweight, and another 16.5 percent of children and teens between the ages of 2 and 19 are considered at risk of being overweight. Being overweight as adolescents creates a 70 percent chance of becoming overweight as adults.

Homework Fitness Club is trying to curb these statistics for local kids.

“These days children don’t have physical education every day. So, if they get exercise four days a week we are serving our purpose as recreational providers,” says Gypsum Recreation Center Manager Scott Ruff.

Fifth grader Sarah Schaller, 11, says that Homework Fitness Club is not only good because she gets physical activity but it helps her get her homework done on time.

The program also encourages children of a variety of ages to socialize and become friends with kids they might not otherwise meet.

“I think it is brilliant,” says Mike Smith, Dean’s father. “When it comes dinnertime we don’t need to dive into homework because nine times out of 10 it is done.”

Ruff said the fact that kids keep coming back is proof they like the program.

“The parents love it, obviously, because the kids love it and because of the fitness … parents also know their children are safe coming into this building,” Ruff says.

The program is open to children from kindergarten to fifth grade. There is no cost for participation.

Currently about 10 kids are present every day.

“We would get more kids if the bus stopped here,” Ruff says.

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