Cooperstown Crier - Your Source for Hometown News - Cooperstown, Baseball Hall of Fame

August 30, 2012

Letters to the Editor: Aug. 30, 2012


— Project creates an opportunity

I read with interest, the lead story in last week’s Crier about construction projects creating bumps in  the roads as school begins. “When life gives you lemons…” What an opportunity these projects  present to start school this “STEPtember!”

Here’s a chance for village families to get active and be healthy.

Older students can walk or bike on their own or with friends. The younger set can walk with mom or  dad; hard to beat that for quality time. The number of children walking or biking to school has dropped  in recent decades as the childhood obesity rates have increased. Is there an association?

To step it up, try a Walking School Bus. What is it? It’s a group of children walking to school with one  or more adults. It’s a simple idea and can be as informal as two families taking turns walking their  children to school, to  as structured as a route with meeting points, a timetable and a regularly rotated  schedule of parent volunteers. A variation is the bicycle train, where adults supervise children riding  their bikes to school. With safety a primary concern, providing adult supervision reduces those worries for families living within walking or bicycling distance to school.

To start a walking school bus, go slowly, it can always grow. Start with a small bus and see how it  works. Pick a single neighborhood with a group of interested parents and children. It’s like a carpool  without the car, but with the benefits of exercise and visits with friends and neighbors. An informal bus takes three easy steps: invite families who live nearby to walk, pick a route and take a test walk,  decide on parent “drivers” and how often the group will walk together.

Lastly, have fun! For more, go to  http://www.walkingschoolbus.org/.

Thanks to the school and village for working together to see that these projects get done in a safe,  efficient and timely manner. Sometimes new habits take a bit of time to take hold, so it might not be  so bad if the construction continues into “WALKtober.” Happy trails!

Tom Hohensee,

Coordinator,

Healthy Schools NY Cooperstown