Teachers tell friends to ‘take a hike’ this summer

LEWISTOWN – Mifflin County School District employees are encouraging healthier living by setting an example for their students.

Late this spring, the MCSD Wellness Team met for the first time and launched its inaugural initiative – The Summer Bucket List 2013 Wellness Kick-Off Project.

In their months off from school, district employees are promoting all-around wellness by asking their peers to go swimming, try a new recipe, take a hike, play tennis, join a walking group and more. In return, participants can earn a variety of prizes and incentives donated by local businesses.

“First and foremost, we have to reach our employees,” said Angela Wise, MCSD payroll supervisor.

But the initiative reaches beyond administration and staff. Beka Yoder, kindergarten teacher at Lewistown Elementary School, said she wants to see employees making changes that will trickle out and inspire students and their families to make healthier choices too.

“It’s time for a positive change … we’re all in this together,” added Matt Kearn, health and physical education teacher at Mifflin County Middle School.

Approximately 800 to 900 MCSD employees qualify to participate for prizes. Although the incentives are available only to district employees, the team hopes the larger community will join them in a variety of fun and quirky activities on the list, such as “Eat a salad once a day for an entire week” and “Catch some lightning bugs.”

“We are encouraging all students and parents to participate as well,” Wise said. “It’s a good way to get healthy with your family and friends and try new things.”

Wise said the project promotes wellness all around – physical, mental, emotional and social.

“We want employees and students to realize that sometimes we are going through the same things, and if we help one another through them, we all benefit,” she explained.

The wellness team meets monthly and has talked about organizing more social events in the future. For now, employees and the community can find the full summer bucket list and stay updated through the team’s blog at www.thesummerbucketlist-mcsd.blogspot.com.

“Sometimes people just need ideas, and this will give them a jump start,” Yoder said.

For more information, visit the MCSD website at www.mcsdk12.org and click “The Summer Bucket List.”