STANLEY The golf course is getting use in Stanley this winter, but not for golf.
Physical education teacher Elonda Davidson's fifth and sixth-graders have been snowshoeing across the snow-covered nine-hole course and loving every minute of it.
"I really love snowshoeing!" said fifth-grader Maura Mills. "It is a really fun winter sport and winter exercise. I sometimes wish it was winter all year long."
Stanley Elementary third- and fourth-graders pull sleds as part of the Iditia Harness sledding activity.
"Snowshoeing is awesome," said sixth-grader Alex Houser. "One of the best activities I have ever done. I really would like to get some of my own."
Davidson was awarded a grant from ELG last year that paid for half the cost of 30 pairs of snowshoes. Her classes raised the remainder of the cost by selling a cookbook filled with the kid's favorite healthy recipes. Davidson said the kids in her classes got to try out those recipes in different classes last year too.
Davidson wanted to show the kids that they can be active and have fun outdoors even in the middle of winter. Children in the lower grades are also getting an outdoor workout by taking turns being hooked up to large metal sleds and hauling their classmates around, playing the part of dogs leading the dog sleds.
Davidson said she prepared her students for the snowshoeing beforehand by having them practice walking on them in the school gymnasium, using carpet squares.
"So far the biggest obstacle is putting them on," said Davidson. "Some of them are really good at it and they're gone (but) it takes 10 minutes for some of the others."
Once the children have the snowshoes strapped on properly, they have a lot of freedom to go all over the golf course. Even the kids who had a tough time at first are enjoying the activity now.
'"It was difficult the first time but as I went more it was really fun," said fifth-grader Teralynn Brandt.
Davidson has also taught the kids about how to dress properly for outdoor fun. Kids who aren't wearing appropriate outdoor gear are not allowed to snowshoe at the golf course. She also has them do different activities at the golf course to add some variety to the activity. One week one of the classes hid cups in the snow and another class went out and hunted for the hidden cups while they were snowshoeing. This week one of the classes tied ribbons to the trees at the golf course.
"It's a great workout for them," said Davidson.
The Iditia Harness sledding, which is done just outside the school, is also a good way for kids to have fun and get exercise, said Davidson. The kids take turns riding in the big, round metal sled and being harnessed to the sled and pulling their classmates.
"Sledding is good because you get full of snow and you get to be outside," said third-grader Keyton Meiers.
This is the last week the kids will do snowshoeing and sledding, but Davidson said she definitely plans to do it again next year with her classes.