The kids were all dressed in matching t-shirts – sitting and squirming in the September afternoon sun in Ord, Nebraska waiting to play.

Their attention, for a while, was on the principal who was introducing people they’d never seen before.  They sat in anticipation of what would happen next: finally after months of waiting, they would be allowed to use the playground/fit pit everyone was talking about.

When the speeches were finished and the ribbon had been cut, the kids swarmed into the pit behind Ord Elementary School in Ord, Nebraska to do what they do best: play.

The seven outdoor workout stations came alive with push-ups and hoola- hooping and chin-ups.  All made possible by an application for a Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE) Fearless Grant award, submitted by Physical Education teacher Dexter Goodner.

“Ord made a strong and impressive application for the grant, showing their absolute commitment to physical education,” said Marjorie Maas, BCBSNE’s director of Corporate Social Responsibility. “The community should be very proud of their leadership.”

The $16,900 BCBSNE grant was used to purchase the equipment and provide a new PE curriculum.  The curriculum includes a pre- and a post-test evaluation of each student’s growth in physical education through the year.

“We’ve been working with Project Fit America, the developer of the innovative curriculum since 2007,” Maas said.  “The Department of Health and Human Services says children need at least an hour a day of physical activity. Playing on playground equipment and jumping rope cover all the bases of the moderate to vigorous aerobic activity they need.”

This afternoon, you could feel the enthusiasm from Goodner and the children as they demonstrated all the exercises they could perform.  It was well worth the wait.