Project R.I.O. (Rangers in the Outdoors)

What’s green and gold and moves year round? Elementary students involved in Project R.I.O. Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these students from participation in outdoor physical activity. We believe that becoming one of the winners of the “Tubbs Get Outdoors Contest” can help make this dream become a reality by providing our students with the equipment needed to adventure into wintertime.

We have prepared the following “Top Ten List” to provide evidence that our school is ready to offer outdoor winter programs that are creative, comprehensive, and engaging.

Reason #10 –Snow is Plentiful – Our school is located in the Laurel Highlands region of Western Pennsylvania. In a typical year we could have snow cover anywhere from Thanksgiving up until Easter.

Reason #9 – Lifetime Involvement- Our district is a largely rural district where students who learn a “lifetime” sport/skill like snowshoeing have the potential to continue it in their own backyards, farms, and forested land surrounding their homes for a lifetime.

Reason #8 – Access to Parks & Paths – There are many state, county, and local parks and/or bike trails that allow outdoor winter activities conveniently located within a short driving distance. Our district also has over 60 acres of accessible land for snowshoeing activity.

Reason #7 –An Establish Framework – Over 400; 4th, 5th, & 6th graders would participate in winter programs each year in physical education. 100 – 200 of these students would receive additional participation in already established in-school intramural programs and afterschool physical activity programs.

Reason #6 – Lack of FundingPublic education funding cuts almost completely limit our capability to provide our students with this type of equipment and opportunity on our own.

Reason #5 – A Commitment to Outdoor Education – Our district has made a commitment to outdoor education through Project R.I.O. (Rangers in the Outdoors) by offering an alternative physical education class at the high school level that includes archery, mountain biking, fly fishing w/stream monitoring, and other outdoor skills/activities. Our elementary has followed suit by offering outdoor programming for interested students that includes archery and running. We have attended “GoTeach” training/seminars through the Pennsylvania Parks Department on snowshoeing & hiking, which provides us with a solid foundation of how to integrate these activities into our curriculum.

Reason #4 – Experience – Our district has received rewards in the past several years from the Pennsylvania State Game Commission (Archery), the ING Run For Something Better Program (Running), & The Highmark Healthy High 5 School Challenge (Physical Education Initiatives) that proves that we are ready, willing, and capable working with corporations and organizations willing to invest and donate in public education.

Reason #3 – The Penguin Plunge– A race to determine the fastest snowshoeing class in school.

Reason #2 – The December Dash – An orienteering/snowshoeing challenge to determine who can find the most hidden Christmas presents before time expires.

Reason #1 – The Snowflake Scamper– A human dog sled/snowshoeing race using Idita-Harnesses from Sportime.