Photo courtesy of Bridgette Rayfield.
0714 Brocks Gap Grant
The outdoor classroom at Brock’s Gap includes garden beds made of recycled tires and wood railings. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield grant will be used to expand the outdoor classroom and offer more resources to students.
Frisbee golf, tetherball and compost bins are just a few of the things coming to Brock’s Gap Intermediate School as part of a grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama.
The grant is one of 28 being given to schools across the state to create and improve student health in the 2014-2015 school year. Brock’s Gap was awarded $10,000, the maximum amount each school can receive. Half of the money will be given in the fall and the rest will be given in January after the school has proven it is putting its money to good use.
Physical education teacher Bridgette Rayfield said the grant will help the school with several fitness and nutrition programs that will begin implementation in the fall.
One of the initiatives is a “family fitness trail” across the school’s campus, which will be accessible to students and families living nearby. The trail will include stations with different exercise activities such as sit-up benches, a rowing machine, a stretching station, a tetherball pole and Frisbee golf equipment. Rayfield said the Frisbee golf course will probably be the first station installed.
The fitness trail will help physical education teachers bring variety to their classes and also give students an outlet for their energy during “team time,” a short break in their class schedules. Each addition to the fitness trail will benefit students and complement the other fitness stations.
“Everything builds on other things,” Rayfield said.
The grant will also help Brock’s Gap expand the use of its garden and outdoor classroom. Rayfield said the school wants to add a compost bin and a rainwater barrel to water the garden, as well as a new recycling program that will incorporate the Earth Savers Club. The garden already has several recycled elements, including beds made from old tires and a fence made from donated wooden railings.
Rayfield said the school could begin planting new seasonal produce in the garden this fall and cultivate different plants in the spring. Students would be able to work hands-on in the garden and taste the fruits and vegetables after harvest.
“It’s just a way for them to have exposure to fresh foods,” Rayfield said.
Brock’s Gap is ambitious in its plans to create a healthier student body, and Rayfield said it could take several years before all of its projects become a reality. However, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield grant is an important first step.
“Essentially, we don’t have anything that we need to accomplish our goals,” Rayfield said. “The money is going to be a jumpstart.”