Creating a Healthy School Community – Disc Golf
Submitted By: John Reid | Weld County Re-1 School District
The town of Gilcrest is home to 1,100 hard working people, and to the Gilcrest Elementary Lil’ Vikes. Our school is one of only six in our small, rural district, but our community is mighty. We have a phenomenal PTO that supports our staff and students with passion, families that share their time and talents with our schools, and some of the hardest working staff you can find.
Despite our amazing community, the town of Gilcrest was lacking recreational activities. There isn’t much for our families to do together in Gilcrest other than swing by a couple of local restaurants for a meal, or visit the school playgrounds to play. From the moment I joined the Gilcrest Elementary family, I knew we needed to create more opportunities for our school and community.
On a beautiful, sunny Colorado afternoon, I stood outside during lunch recess looking across the fields of our playground at all of the open space we had for students to run and play. I listened to the screams and squeals of excited children playing tag, and the laughter of students enjoying their break from academia. I knew our kids were happy, but I also knew we could be doing more. We not only want our kids to be healthy and active for a lifetime, but our families too.
Growing up in Northern Michigan, I learned to appreciate what each season had to offer for outdoor recreation, but often times we were stuck inside with frigid temperatures and gusting winds. Of course, there are similar days out here in Colorado, but Colorado has one thing that so many people don’t have, and that is a surplus of gorgeous, sunny days. I knew our fields would be usable almost year-round, so we had to come up with something that could bring our families together, keep us moving and healthy, and be accessible to everyone in the community.
That’s where the Gilcrest Elementary Frisbee Golf Course was born. You don’t have to be an athlete, or a certain age, or have any specific skills to play and enjoy frisbee golf. I knew it would be the perfect fit for our community. I reached out to the principal of Gilcrest Elementary, Tad McDonald, and he was immediately on board.
Since then, we have been given so much love and support from our community to make our frisbee golf dreams come true. Concrete was donated by a local business, funds were donated by a Northern Colorado energy company, and our district filled in the gaps to help accomplish our final goal. Even Tad and I got our hands dirty, digging holes for the signs, and tee boxes.
It took almost a year, but now Gilcrest Elementary is the proud home of a nine-hole frisbee golf course. Each hole comes with a map, and a QR code that players can scan to get an aerial view of the course. We have 36-disc golf bags for players to borrow for free from the school so they can putt, drive and chip their way across the course.
The Gilcrest Elementary Frisbee Gold Course had its grand opening golf tournament in September, and our mighty community came out in droves. Families from within the Gilcrest community, as well as staff, came out to try their hand at frisbee tossing. We had everyone from ages one to one hundred out on the course, bringing families and the community together. For many visitors, it was their first time playing, and the feedback was fantastic. Families had a blast trying something new, improving their skills at each hole, and watching little ones toddle along, throwing frisbees with the same enthusiasm as the adults.
One of the best parts about the frisbee golf course is it helps families stay healthy and active. It’s been a challenging year to get out of the house, so having this frisbee golf course gives our families a safe way to spend time together and keep moving no matter what the season.
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