Last week, Pagosa Springs Elementary School received the first installment of a $182,000 grant from the Colorado Health Foundation (CHF).
The first installment totals $82,000. The second will total $100,000 and will be awarded to both the middle and elementary school.
According to elementary school Principal Justin Cowan, the money will be used to purchase sporting equipment such as mountain bikes, helmets, snowshoes, cross-country skis and a “Gaga Pit,” or an enclosed pit used for dodge ball. It will also expand after school programming.
The first Gaga Pit was installed at the middle school after Cowan and middle school Principal Chris Hinger visited Sonlight Christian Camp to view its team-building and sports equipment.
The pit stood out as one of the most popular games at the camp, and proved to be a success at the middle school, as well.
The CHF grant will also fund two coaches and a program manager each quarter. The aim is that these coaches will teach a love for outdoor sports that students can take into adulthood.
The primary extension to after-school programming through the grant is the CATCH On! program.
According to the CHF grant application, the program aims to decrease childhood obesity in Archuleta County by engaging elementary school students in vigorous activity four days a week.
CATCH On! will offer nutrition education and a wide variety of outdoor activities, including biking, disc golf, hiking, running, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.