New course builds community through physical education | Sports

Gonzaga University’s Department of Kinesiology and Sports Management is bringing back the Foundations in Sports Outreach course this semester, offering students the opportunity to take an after-school fitness program at Gonzaga Family Haven.

The course previously ran three times as of 2017 as a special subject course called Foundations in Sports Ministry, but a state university policy requires special subject courses to be given their own s ‘they are offered more than three times. Now the class is registered as EDPE 307.

The idea originally came from director of the kinesiology department and course instructor Jimmy Smith, who came across the Department of Sports while looking for a way to give back to his community with his brother.

“I struggled to figure out the best way to give back to my community,” Smith said. “I would go to church and help out there or go out into the community and coach youth sports, but I wanted to be able to have a bit more impact, I guess.”

Sports ministry is the use of sports within faith communities to connect with their congregations or communities. According to Smith, these can be traditional team sports or individual sports, such as the Department of Mobile Skateboard Sports in San Antonio, Texas.

“It’s not just about [preaching]there are many places that preach the word of God, but there are other places where, like mine, it’s about teaching kids sportsmanship, being a good teammate, to be a good brother or a good sister, that kind of thing,” Smith said. .

The course was originally in partnership with Trinity Catholic School when it started in 2017, running three semesters there before having to stop due to COVID-19. GU students would arrive with Smith at 6:50 a.m. to prepare for the children to arrive at 7:00 a.m., where they would be exercised, fed healthy foods, and taught about nutrition. Smith said he received positive feedback from teachers, who said the before-school program was found to be particularly beneficial for children with behavioral issues.

Smith was approached by School of Education Dean Yolanda Gallardo in May to relaunch the course after the Center for Community Engagement (CCE) received funding to create an after-school fitness program at Gonzaga Family Haven.

“It was a challenge to figure out how we were going to do this and I thought, ‘why not bring this class back?'” Smith said. this way.”

Even though registration for the course had been done in the previous months, Smith decided to bring back Foundations of Sports Ministry as his own course, Foundations of Sports Outreach. EDPE 307 is an Enriched Writing, Social Justice, and Community Engaged Learning (CEL) designated class that serves as an EDPE elective credit.

“It was a really great course in the sense that it gives Gonzaga students the opportunity to broaden their horizons about what the sport can do where they probably wouldn’t have realized.” said Smith.

Bailley Wootton is CCE’s Director of Strategic Partnerships and works closely with the Gonzaga Family Haven. Focus groups held with residents of other similar Catholic Charity Residences were able to provide input into the programs they wanted to see created, which helped inform some of the design and programming of the haven.

“The focus is on promoting activity through sport and creating opportunities for children,” Wootton said. “We recognize that there are often barriers to participation in these particular sports, so how can we remove those barriers, whether financial or accessibility for other reasons? »

According to Wootton, the program is structured to be adaptable and flexible to the guidance they receive from families and youth participants. Participant feedback will determine whether program content should be added or removed.

A typical program day would start about 10 minutes before the program starts, when Smith and GU students arrive to set up the day’s activities. Then, GU students would tell attendees about each station and walk them through, creating a space where kids can build community and increase their fitness abilities.

The course takes place directly at the Haven, taking advantage of the green space there. The Haven’s partnership with Gonzaga Prep School could allow the course to use their fields when not in use by their students, giving them the option of having extra space for certain activities.

“We really wanted to think of after-school programming as a space where young people feel welcome and where they feel safe and have a real sense of belonging,” Wootton said. “So the idea is to create after-school programming where they know what to expect when they arrive…They know they’ll have people they can relate to, and it’s all done in a welcoming and youth-friendly manner.”

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