Bonner Springs Elementary is home to a group of young advocates who serve as the Healthy Kids Crew. Under the leadership of Nurse Tammy Dooley, the Healthy Kids Crew is celebrating its fifth year of making a major impact on the health of students at staff at Bonner Springs Elementary.
“It’s a great program where kids get to help others and be seen as leaders. They become role models and also have some extra responsibilities beyond their school work,” says youth advocacy educator, Michelle Dake.
Dooley worked with a group of fifth graders to enter KC Healthy Kids’ I Am Here photo contest. The submitted captioned photos to show how their surroundings either help them be healthy or make it harder. They received an honorable mention and attended Champions for Health, KC Healthy Kids’ youth summit in March.
Recently, Michelle sat down with the Healthy Kids Crew. Here’s what she found out:
MD: Why did you decide to join the Healthy Kids Crew?
- I wanted to encourage people to stay active and healthy.
- I wanted to be a part of the school community.
- I wanted to be involved in something that can help other people.
MD: Tell me about the event you all organized for your school. Wellness Week, right? What were your favorite things about that?
- On Moving Monday we did “Stop, drop and dance!” We made announcements over the intercom all day to say it’s stop drop and dance time. Then we played a kid-appropriate song for everyone. It’s my favorite thing because it makes people so happy. You can’t be grumpy when the music is playing and everyone is dancing!
- Tasty Tuesday was next. During lunch, we sampled healthy and unusual foods like beets, coconut flakes and dragon fruit.
- On Walking Wednesday, each class got a set of pedometers. The class with the most steps won. We made an announcement about them and they got a healthy snack. Everyone really loves to be in the announcements!
- For Thirsty Thursday, we made fruit-infused water for kids to try at lunch. We encouraged everyone to drink more water.
- Fit Friday, students helped organize a Family Night of Wellness
MD: What makes you proud to be part of the Healthy Kids Crew?
- It gives us a chance to help others. We heard stories about the families we were helping with Jump Rope for Heart and were glad we could help raise money for them.
- We also helped the younger kids during Field Day. We like that we get to help them have fun!
- We get to be in charge of things, too. We ran tables and booths for the schools Family Fitness Night.
- We try to be role models and also encourage our friends to be healthy. When we catch people being healthy, we take their picture and put it up on the bulletin board. We give out stickers to kids who eat their fruits and veggies during lunch, and milk mustaches if you drink milk instead of sweetened beverages.
MD: How did the I Am Here program add to your many healthy initiatives?
Nurse Dooley: The photos in our submission helped us gain momentum and community support for several projects. First, a parent volunteer came in to paint new games on the blacktop area where the four square paint had faded.
Next, the entire community rallied to improve the old water fountain outside of the gym. A combination of Fuel Up to Play 60 funds, their Principal’s support from their building budget and manpower from the district maintenance staff made it possible to get not only a new water fountain, but a water bottle refilling station!
Students in the Healthy Kids Crew decided to celebrate the new water filling station by using their $100 award from KC Healthy Kids to buy water bottles for the entire fifth grade to use during Field Day.
MD: What tips do you have for other schools that want to start a Healthy Kids Crew?
- The Healthy Kids Crew was a natural step to help the school meet their wellness goals. Most wellness initiative ask how are you engaging students, the formation of the Healthy Kids Crew helped meet that need.
- Older kids work better! The Healthy Kids Crew is mostly 5th graders.
- Start with a small group. We initially started too big but have since scaled down to about a dozen students. While the group is smaller, their impact has been greater.
- Create an application to ensure students are really committed to the club
- Principal support and teacher buy in are key!
Along with a new hopscotch board, students added rainbow lines for measuring long jumps. They can stand on the white line and see how far they can jump, hop from line to line or make jump patterns on their own or with a group to create a routine.
The white mirror game: One person stands in the white circle and the person in the open circle on the other side mirrors everything they see.
New water bottle refilling station!