Utah provides Clayton students with a backyard of activities
Clayton Middle School promotes healthy lifestyles to students with its Friday Outdoor Adventure Program. The program, which began in 2007 with cross-country skiing, has expanded to include 10 different activities students can participate in year-round.
Clayton’s students have early release on Fridays, giving them the opportunity to participate without interfering with class time. Reid Anderson, Clayton’s physical education teacher, sets up activities and posts flyers around school and on Facebook.
“We live in a place where the mountains are in our backyards,” said Anderson. “Some students don’t get a chance to go out and explore them, so we are helping to bring the kids there.”
Students who wish to do a particular activity sign up for it and turn in a permission slip. Participation is on a first-come, first-serve basis, because of the limitations on equipment. A waiting list is provided and sometimes multiple Fridays with the same activity are arranged if students show interest.
“Utah is a friendly environment with a myriad of hiking and biking trails, and ski resorts within the boundaries of the school,” Anderson said. “I believe in utilizing this environment to stay, live and teach a healthy lifestyle.”
Activities throughout the year include: snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, ice skating, hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, disk golf, canoeing and kayaking. The Outdoor Adventure Program is funded through the efforts and support of different groups, grants, and intramural money provided by the district, allowing for activities to be held for little or no cost to students. Many companies have also provided gear and equipment for students, such as coats for skiing.
“Lots of students show up just wearing a hoodie, and not layering their clothes properly,” said Anderson. “We are very fortunate to be able to work with and have donations provided by businesses.”
The program’s continued success stems from the support the administrators have given, believes Anderson. It allows students to be engaged in good activities, and learn new things about themselves and the environment in which they live.
“I couldn’t provide this program if it was not for the support of my administrators,” Anderson said.
The following businesses support Clayton’s Outdoor Adventure Program: TUNA (The Utah Nordic Alliance), The Salt Lake City Bicycle Collective, SPLORE, White Dog (fly fishing and ski rental), Level 9 Sports, 2nd Tracks, Marmot, Isis, GU, REI, The Sports Den, Select Health and the University of Utah Outdoor Recreation program.