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Wadena-Deer Creek-Bluffton Community Ed awarded SHIP grant

Photos by Dana Pavek, WDC Schools Pictured are several of the Wadena-Deer Creek-Bluffton Recreation Program workers for the summer season. Front row: Keeley Timm, Kevin Tumberg and Joey Price; middle row: Kayla Krause, Charley Cantrell, Ryan Redfield, Cory Tumberg and Hannah Toedter; back row: Scott Fillhouer, Dylan Anderson, Macy Hartman, Ryan Redfield and Luke Sturm, recreation director.

Area parents and youth will soon see changes in Wadena-Deer Creek-Bluffton's recreation program thanks to a grant that will pump money and muscles into it.

Wadena-Deer Creek Community Education recently was awarded a $10,000 wellness grant to be used toward its year-round recreation program.

The money will help pay for the full-time position for the Recreation Coordinator position, as well as increase WDC student activities for youths K-12. More specifically, the grant will provide students with access to a variety of wellness activities that currently don't exist, such as expanded hours of open gym times, "let's move" sessions on early-release days, and hiking and biking activities, just to name a few.

"Many of our students are not as active as they should be before and after school," explained Sandie Rentz, Community Education director, who coordinated the grant application. "Furthermore, data collected by health personnel in Wadena County support our youth are overweight and in need of a healthier lifestyle. WDC currently does not provide wellness activities for students not engaged in organized sport. This is what we intend to now offer."

A make-over of the WDC Community Education program for K-12 students has already started, thanks to the efforts of Rentz and Luke Sturm, the new Recreation Coordinator.

"The grant funding has provided a jump-start to change the current WDC Community Education focus and programming. A new wellness policy is in the process of being written and will be presented to the school board for adoption," explained Rentz.

The grant funding will also cover the cost of staff training, equipment for wellness activities and special events.

According to Rentz, the grant was made possible by the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) and approved by the Morrison-Todd-Wadena SHIP Community Leadership Team.