When students return to school in August, two more area elementary schools will have the equipment to incorporate the Project Fit America program into their physical education curriculum courtesy of Baptist Health Corbin.
Hospital officials selected Oak Grove Elementary in Whitley County and Wyan Pine Grove Elementary in Laurel County to each receive a grant totaling $27,400 to cover the cost of the equipment, installation and to train the PE teacher in the program.
“Oak Grove aggressively requested it when they heard about it,” said Lee Richardson, Director of Development and Community Health Services for the hospital.
Oak Grove Elementary Principal Tonya Faulkner said the outdoor equipment would be installed behind the school next to the existing playground equipment.
The outdoor equipment includes a series of apparatus that provide physical challenges including: A pole climb, chin up bars, parallel bars, value bar and horizontal ladder.
In addition, the school will receive equipment that may be used either inside or out, including “cardio cups,” and weighted fitness hoops.
With the addition of Oak Grove and Wyan Pine, six schools in the area now participate in the Project Fit America program.
They join: Corbin Intermediate and Middle, Lynn Camp Elementary, and Williamsburg Independent Schools, who each have the equipment.
Baptist Health Corbin Chief Executive Officer Larry Gray said previously that the hospital’s efforts to bring the program to schools throughout the area is a preventative measure on its part.
“At the hospital, we are really, really good at fixing people up who have been injured or hurt, or who have an illness,” Gray told an assembly of faculty, staff and students at Williamsburg Independent School during the unveiling of the new equipment its new equipment in October. “We hope as you continue to grow and develop, you will not need us as much as we need you.”
Faulkner said Project Fit America would be a great addition to the school.
“More and more is required of our students in the classroom,” Faulkner said. “We have a small amount of time for them to go out and play.”
Richardson said the hospital would continue its efforts to provide the equipment and program to area schools. Like with Oak Grove, it will be up to faculty, staff and students at any particular school to show hospital officials the program will be beneficial to their schools.
“From here on out, we will have people put in a request for proposal to show us they are enthusiastic and want to be part of the program,” Richardson said.
Project Fit America is a non-profit organization founded in 1990. According to the organization’s website, www.projectfitamerica.org, the goal is to the help reverse the lack of fitness in youth and inspire them to participate in more fitness activities by helping them find something they are very good at.
As of 2016, Project Fit America is in almost 1,000 schools across the country.