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Skyline Stars take first place in Love Your Mother Challenge

By Staff | Oct 10, 2011

The Skyline Stars team from Skyline Elementary School took first place in the Love Your Mother Challenge, claiming the grand prize of a 400-square-foot garden from Heartland Garden for its school Friday.

There were 318 individuals who signed up for the challenge in the Lee County School District, with 292 of them logging in information constantly. There were a total of 31 teams that participated in the challenge.

Skyline Elementary had 7,028 average points for the challenge, Orange River Elementary School claimed second with 6,948 points and Bayshore Elementary School logged 4,302 points for third place.

The four categories that the Love Your Mother Challenge concentrated on were physical activity, portion plate, reduce reuse and recycle and hang up the keys.

Employee Wellness Coordin-ator Lisa Brown said when they held a health screening district wide, 65 percent of the employees did not meet the minimum requirements for physical activity.

The first district-wide challenge of the year helped that percentage because of the physical activity portion. She said more than 50 percent of the participants in the challenge exercised five to seven days a week.

Brown said an estimated 15 percent of the total healthcare expenditures for the school district results directly from individual inactivity. If employees exercised for 150 minutes a week, she said the district could save approximately $10 million in healthcare.

Nancy Afflerbach, wellness advocate for Skyline Elementary, said the medical costs for the district are staggering. She said the amount the district can save when an individual changes his or her diet, exercises more and incorporates stress release into his or her daily life is huge.

After school ended Friday afternoon, Skyline Elementary staff poured into the media center to be congratulated for winning the Love Your Mother Challenge.

Skyline Elementary had 22 individuals participate on the team for the challenge.

“We are enthusiastic and so excited,” Afflerbach said about winning the garden.

She said the garden will help educate the kids about nutrition, along with explaining where food comes from.

Colleen McCarthy, the team leader of the challenge, said it provides a lifestyle change because individuals have to log stuff into the computer, which encourages them to keep on top of exercise and what them eat.

She said although the four categories were difficult, it made her think before she did anything.

“It helped me stay focused on my total health,” McCarthy said. “If I keep myself healthy, it will keep me in school.”

Andrea Guerrero, with Heartland Garden, said it will provide the soil, composite, mulch, seedlings and full installation of the garden to Skyline Elementary School, hopefully in January.

“This will be cool,” McCarthy said about the garden.

Guerrero said Heartland Garden wanted to provide a garden to the school because it is a part of the business’ mission of installing food producing gardens into the community. The garden, she said, helps spread health, nutrition and wellness throughout the county.

“What a wonderful way to do it with children,” she said about providing a garden to the school.

The 400-square-foot garden has a tentative plan of 16 crops, which will produce 400 pounds of food a year.

“We would love to see that found in the cafeteria because it is good, healthy, organic food,” Guerrero said.

The 16 crops were taken from a survey of what kids like to eat, along with what the highest producing crops are. Some of those include carrots, corn, broccoli, peas and tomatoes.

“It is amazing when a kid grows something with their hands,” Guerrero said.

She said studies have shown that when a kid plants vegetables they are 98 percent more likely to eat them.

Cape Coral High School will be the second school in the district to receive a garden in January from Heartland Garden.

Heartland Garden is a non-profit organization located at 16836 McGregor Boulevard in Fort Myers. For information call 239-689-4249.

The next physical activity challenge, Out Island Adventure, for district employees, will kick off on Oct. 24. Brown said the virtual trail will visit 18 islands off of the Bahamas.