Fort Dodge Community School District

FDSH Exposes Students to the Great Outdoors

September 10, 2021

Fort Dodge Senior High students are exploring the great outdoors right in their own backyard.  The FDSH physical education department offers a class called “Outdoor Recreation and Leisure” that is designed to expose students to the outdoor recreational activities within Webster County.

girl holding fishRecently, students spent a half day kayaking and fishing at the Brushy Creek State Recreation Area.  Kelis Altman, a junior, was the first to catch a fish during her class’s trip. 

“I have fished and kayaked before and enjoy both,” Altman said. “I’m looking forward to trying some of the other activities that I’ve never done.  That’s why I took this class, because I like being outdoors and trying new stuff.”

According to Blake Utley, one of the instructors, classes like this one are important because they expose students to the different types of activities they can get involved with now and can continue into adulthood.   

“It’s important for students to see and experience the outdoor recreation options available to them right here where they live,” Utley said. “I hope they find enjoyment in the activities we do in class so they can enjoy them while living a physically active lifestyle where ever they call home as adults.”

Another important aspect of the class is allowing students to try activities that may be costly to try on their own due to the necessary equipment.

“If we can provide an experience with some equipment, the students can decide if it is something they would like to purchase so they can experience it more outside of class,” Utley said.

Aryssa Lumsden, a junior, had never kayaked before taking the class. She decided to take the class because she likes to be outdoors, to try new things and to explore.

students in kayaks in lake“Kayaking was a new experience for me,” Lumsden shared.  ”I was scared at first, thinking I would fall in.  But I ended up liking it.  It’s really fun and I hope to continue to kayak outside of the class.”

Utley chimed in, stating, “My favorite part of teaching this class is when you expose students to an activity that is new to them and they find enjoyment in it.  The smile on their face when they catch their first fish or hit their first bullseye with a bow and arrow is so genuine, it’s really cool to see.”

The class, which has been offered for about ten years, is popular with students. Senior student, Kody Halverson said he took the class because “it was recommended by someone who took it last year and told me it was a lot of fun.”

In addition to kayaking and fishing, the students will have the opportunity to experience archery, biking, hiking, orienteering/geocaching and learning survival skills such as how to build a shelter, start a fire and purify water. 

“Our students did awesome and really enjoyed the recent trip to Brushy Creek,” Utley said.  “I’m so glad we are able to offer these types of activities again this school year because these are the experiences that kids will remember.”

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