Mental Health Week- May 6-12

Learn and help the stigma around Mental Health.

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Minnewasta School in Morden may be small, but they are maximizing their gym space with the addition of a colourful traverse rock climbing wall. Instead of climbing up, students travel horizontally across the five panels and are roughly three feet in the air.

A donation of nearly $10,000 from Enbridge saved the school about ten years of fundraising efforts in one go. "We know it's going to be great for the kids [and] healthy for the phys ed program," says Enbridge Land Agent, Andrew Plett.

Physical Education Teacher, Kyle Turnbull says, "it's kind of the direction phys ed is going now. We're getting away from some of the traditional sports and working on some more skills with students, and body movements, flexibility, and strength." rockwall insertThe protective floor mats can be lifted up and hooked onto the wall as a protective barrier during other games, and during events held in the gym.

The wall is versatile enough that all of the school's students can use it. The rocks can easily be taken off and moved around to change up the path from one end to the other or make it easier for kids who struggle with mobility. There are also different magnetic pieces like flags that can help connect to classroom material the students are learning.

"The flags are colour-coordinated so we've played games where they've got to put red flags on red rocks, green flags on green rocks . . . Some of the activities could be your partner is holding a word and you have to climb up and spell the word with the magnetic letter that are on there. We've had numbers, so the same idea," says Turnbull.

He adds the students love the wall because it gives them something different to do. "We've been using during the noon hour for intramurals, they've come in and played on the rock wall, and it's a lot of fun. I've enjoyed it myself too."

Plett says that Enbridge is thankful for the patience people have had as they work through the community, and they are happy to give back to the community by making donations that support the environment, community, and safety.

"I feel good to be part of a company like Enbridge that does give back so much, so it's good to see them be able to come out here. I wish I had a wall like this when I was in elementary school," adds Plett.

Turnbull says the wall is a great fit for every student, as well as the division.

"With our board priorities, they want to encourage stuff like risky play and adventurous achievers, and what better way than a rock wall? Your students are stepping out of their element, they're trying things maybe they're hesitant to do, they're building self-esteem, [and] making positive choices," he says.

rockwall bottomThe red rocks are the most difficult to traverse. A hula hoop can be snapped into the castle-shaped rocks at the bottom of each panel for kids to climb through. The blue rocks can hold tennis balls, and the yellow rocks on top can fit the end of a pool noodle.

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