Weyburn is the first city in Canada to receive an innovative fitness course, thanks to the generosity of local sponsors and the interest of a local parent.
Parent Kimberly Pierce Swanson spearheaded an initiative to bring the Patch "O" Fitness Course to Queen Elizabeth School as a way for the mostly rural students to keep active after long bus rides to school and during winter recesses when the weather is too cold to play outside.
The school isn't keeping the new equipment to themselves, however. Principal Brenda Croft said that the school has already had calls from other schools requesting to borrow the unique equipment, and they are more than willing to accommodate them.
"We are in the process of making a sign-out sheet for the Patch so we know who has it when," said Croft. "And we want to make sure we get to use it too!"
Croft said that staff and students had the opportunity to try out the new fitness course on January 14 when the equipment finally arrived at the school from the Egoscue Foundation of San Diego. She said the school is honoured to be the first school in Canada to have the system.
In fact, Queen Elizabeth is not only the first school in Canada to receive the Patch, but it is also the first to receive the unit internationally, outside of the United States.
The Patch "O" Course came to Weyburn through the generosity of sponsors, including Great Plains Ford, Sask Lotteries Community Grant Program - City of Weyburn division, United Centrifuge, SaskTel Pioneers of Weyburn and Ruth Pierce. The unit cost $5,000.
The Patch "O" Fitness Course includes five beams, nine bases and seven tops, which can be arranged in a series of positions. The equipment has the ability to engage every muscle in the body. It incorporates movements in every conceivable physical plane and will, as a natural by-product of the movement, align the musculoskeletal system in its original and correct alignment.
"There is so much the students can do with it," said Pierce Swanson. "You can tear it down and rebuild it to any obstacle course you want. It's like Lego."
As a local massage therapist, Pierce Swanson likes to keep abreast of the latest health trends, which is how she learned about the Patch "O" Fitness Course. After taking a seminar on postural assessment at the Egoscue University in San Diego, she was intrigued by the Patch and its ability to engage people in their own fitness and movements.
"When you are on the Patch "O" versus being on a treadmill or running, which you can do mindlessly, you have to think ahead - use your brain while using your body," said Pierce Swanson.
While Pierce Swanson said that the best part about the Patch is the ability to rearrange the equipment into something new and exciting for children, Croft said that one of the best aspects of the equipment was the ease in which they could tear down and store the unit; both characteristics are really one in the same.
Any schools wishing to borrow the equipment can contact Croft at Queen Elizabeth School.