Students design, help build Wy’east Wellness Park

There’s a new playground for students and the community to use, at Wy’east Middle School.

It is called Wy’east Wellness Park.

Students from the Leaders For Tomorrow graduating class of 2013 remembered what it was like to transition from grade school to middle school, especially for kids with lots of energy and few options for expending it.

So, when Wy’east Vice Principal Patricia Cooper proposed a project to create the first phase in a three-phase park area to promote wellness for Wy’east students to the class, it was met with great enthusiasm.

“Helping kids stay active is important,” according to LFT’s Claire Rawson.

The playground is located just west of the school building, adjacent to the track.

“There are so many kids that need healthy ways to expend excess energy. This project will give them easy access — it’s really just the start.”

Working with Hood River County School District’s maintenance staff, students developed a plan and solicited donations of equipment, materials and labor.

Then, in a series of work parties over the summer and fall, the Leaders installed the first phase of a multi-year project to provide outdoor recreation opportunities for students and families in the mid-valley area.

The initial phase of the Wy’east Wellness Park was designed by Leaders For Tomorrow students with input from Wy’east Middle School staff.

“Our original plan was more than we could afford,” said Sophie Oswald, LFT project leader. “Once we had a better sense of our budget and time constraints, we pared it back to what we felt was most important and could be accomplished in the amount of time we were able to spend.”

Members of the community also helped out. Lane’s Excavation dug the site and students filled and leveled gravel from Hood River Sand and Gravel before the equipment was installed. Schlosser Machine built the horizontal ladder (a.k.a. monkey bars) and balance beam, Schuepbach Builders poured the footings and the students filled in with splinter-free wood fiber, called SoftFall.

Once the equipment was painted, all that was left to do was install the sign. Cooper and Wy’east Principal Catherine Dalbey are already preparing for the next phase of construction. “We are super happy! We are already planning phase 2,” said Cooper. “Kids are using it and enjoying every minute!”

Leaders For Tomorrow is a two-year program that empowers local high school students to take an active role in shaping the future of their community. Second-year students complete a Service Learning project of their own design and receive .5 credit.

For more information about how you can support Leaders for Tomorrow, contact Kristin Reese at 541-806-0278 or kristinr@nextdoorinc.org. LFT is a program of The Next Door.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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