Marysville schools receive $850,000 fitness grant

MARYSVILLE Thanks to a federal grant, the Marysville School District will receive $850,000 over the next three years to promote physical fitness at schools throughout the city.

District Athletic Director Greg Erickson said the money arrives courtesy of the Carol M. White Physical Education Program. Erickson said he received unofficial notice of the grant late last month.

While he added lots of details need to be worked out, Erickson plans to spend the money on fitness equipment for students as well as teacher training for physical education instructors in every district school.

Equipment purchases could consist of everything from jump ropes to stationary exercise bikes. The equipment and the instructor training will emphasize what Erickson called the five components of health.

In other words, the program created by the grant will promote muscular strength, cardio-vascular health, flexibility, endurance and nutrition.

"They all fit together," Erickson said, claiming the district already does quite a bit to promote healthy lifestyles. But he added the new grant will allow consistency in fitness programming across the district. He said one of his first tasks connected with the grant will be to determine what equipment each district building has and what each building needs.

"It's all about kids being able to make good fitness decisions," Erickson added.

He dubbed the program, which will affect students at every grade level, "Fit Now, Fit for Life."

The schools will receive $440,000 in the coming school year, with the rest of the grant spread out over the following two years.

Erickson said the school efforts will fit very nicely with the city continued promotion of the Health Communities program. In fact, he said the city's involvement with that program no doubt helped win the grant for the schools.

"Several fronts are bombarding the Marysville community with this message of physical fitness," he said. "You keep hearing it enough times, you start thinking there's something to it."

Erickson believes students can help spread the word about fitness to their parents.

"It's the idea of parking farther away from the store," he said.

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