Skip To Main Content

Health and Wellness Grant Provides Students with New Resources

Health and Wellness Grant Provides Students with New Resources

Physical education is a pillar to creating and sustaining an active and healthy lifestyle.

Beekmantown’s physical education department wants to keep students engaged and excited about moving. They try to find new equipment or activities that students will enjoy.

Thanks to the Student Health and Wellness grant through the Clinton County Health Department, the physical education department was able to bring some great new opportunities to the Beekmantown CSD.  

Physical Education Teachers Shana Hileman and Ryan Converse played an important role in securing the grant.

“We’ve been partnering with them for the last two years to try to bring different things that our own physical education or health budget couldn’t cover,” Converse said.

The Health and Wellness Committee worked closely to determine what resources would be great to have for the student body.

“We have students on the committee to help give us feedback, in terms of what the student body may want or need,” Converse said.

Two high school students are typically selected to give feedback because they have the point of view of completing different in school and extra-curricular activities.

Some of the most recent additions have been rock walls, gaga pits and a hydration station.

“We’ve been working together when we purchase equipment to hit the largest volume of students,” Hileman said. “We have every student in the district, so we have an idea of what the need is for students. We also have a big push to keep kids active, so we like to do things that are non-traditional to keep kids’ attentions.”

There are several students who play sports like soccer, basketball and softball, so by incorporating different activities.


Two rock walls were put up this academic year. The first was put in the middle school gym early in the school year, and the second was put at Cumberland Head Elementary during the second half of the year.

The walls are traversing walls. They are only 6 feet high but expand across the wall.

“The rock walls really help some students that have high levels of anxiety or work better in smaller groups,” Hileman said. "There’s an individualization and strength component to the rock walls too. It’s not playing a game, but they are getting something physical out of it.”

The rock wall in the middle school was placed there strategically because all students in the building could have easy access to using it.

With all students having access to the rock wall, the routes made on the wall had to be made with elementary school students and high school students in mind. Green tape flags different routes that would be a good challenge for elementary school students while an orange route would indicate a good route for middle school students.

Students can be creative and choose their own route along the wall as well. This gives them the opportunity to create a route based on their skill and comfort level.

“Regardless if you’re an athlete or not an athlete, there’s not a lot of opportunities for rock climbing around, so everybody starts on the same playing field,” Hileman said. “There’s a lot of confidence we’ve seen build, especially at the middle school level.”


Gaga pits have become a popular with students. Gaga pits, an inflatable or solid octagonal pit, are used for gaga ball. Gaga ball is an elimination-based game, where players try to knock each other out by slapping or hitting a ball at their opponents. The ball must be hit at or below the knee. Players who are knocked out can stand around the outside of the pit, and if the ball goes out of the pit, a knocked-out player can grab the ball to reenter the game. The last player in the pit is the winner.

“We purchased an outdoor gaga pit for BES, and that’s been a huge hit,” Hileman said. “If you drive by the school during any playground time, there’s probably 30 to 40 kids playing. Everybody’s active and playing in it.”

The outdoor pit is 26 feet in diameter. It’s staked into the ground, but because it’s modular, it can be moved around easily. The grant also allowed them to purchase two inflatable pits for indoor use.

One benefit of the gaga pits is duration which students can play. It can be a year-round activity for students. Even when there is a little bit of snow on the ground or if it’s chilly. It also requires minimal equipment – just a ball and the pit’s walls.


The next great addition will be an outdoor hydration station, which will be located outside by the high school track.

The station will be a great addition for athletes, children on the playground, students participating in jump camp or community members at the facility.

“We didn’t want to buy equipment that would just impact a small group, but something that would benefit the community,” Converse said. “In the summertime, people come to the playground with kids so they will have opportunities for kids to use the gaga pit and stay hydrated.”

Converse said the plan is to have the hydration station installed by the end of the school year.

“It’s always nice to be able to give back to the community in addition to the student body,” Hileman said.