We were a little early and snuck in some shopping before the event began. The training was full at 75 people! It felt like double from last year’s training. How awesome is that?!?
While I knew it would be fun and I love going to Reebok; I had forgotten how contagious everyone’s energy and passion is. It felt like a BOKS pep rally as we sat and listened to Kathleen talk about starting the program and how far it has come.
They made the point that it has really been a grass roots movement. The trainers and people bringing it into the schools have to be passionate about it. In districts where it’s been mandated, people feel forced and it doesn’t have the same impact. They also mentioned Eli Manning as a spokesman didn’t go very far either.
Like any training, the group makes or breaks it. We had an awesome group. It was large and diverse. There were other parents, grandparents, retired educators and people from a YMCA in the Boston area. This allowed for great questions and discussion. It also made the games fun and realistic from a size/chaos perspective.
75 adults running around and playing toilet tag was a fair representation of what it feels like in the gym when running BOKS. We all did sit-ups and planks, ran around and laughed. It’s a great way to meet new people as you’re cheering on your team of strangers :)
This year’s training touched a little bit more on the numbers side of things. The original school has been tracking performance based numbers and they are currently being analyzed. They know that attendance is better for children enrolled in BOKS. Test scores are showing improvement as well. Of course, there are the testimonials from teachers in favor of BOKS.
At our school, kids didn’t want to miss a BOKS day. There are many stories from parents saying how easy it is to get their kids up and out on BOKS day because the kids can’t wait to get there. To the adult eye, it might seem basic; but that is the beauty!
The games are simple and easy for all children to understand. We have a wide range of kids involved and they cheer each other on. It was asked at the training about handling kids who were maybe faster/more athletically inclined and those who are not. Most of us agreed that it isn’t the issue adults think it will be. We break our kids up into even groups and emphasize cheering on your team. So far, this has brought smiles to even the shyest kids.
Another question that surprised me but seems worth mentioning, do trainers have to be fit. The answer – no! It was emphasized that a good trainer is charismatic, has control of the room and has fun demonstrating and playing the games.
Keeping the program volunteer run and free allows all children the opportunity to be involved. We were shocked at how many people signed up the first time we offered it. This year has been no different. Even finding volunteers was easier than I anticipated it. The kids love it so much, you don’t need any publicity ;)
Does your school offer BOKS? What was your favorite game to play as a kid? When was the last time you played tag?