The Kansan - Newton, KS
  • Local high school starts 'adventure club'

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  • Riding a bike up a mountain and kayaking through whitewater rapids aren’t your typical after-school extracurricular activities. However, Gene Green wasn’t afraid to try something just a little bit different. He is the director of the Peabody-Burns High School’s Adventure Club, a group that gives ninth through 12th grade students a chance to enjoy outdoor activities. The group recently was featured in a Kansas Health Foundation magazine and also received a $5,510 grant from the organization. “It’s kind of a honor for us,” Green said. “It’s an innovative program. ... The recognition just meant an awful lot. If it wasn’t for the Kansas Health Foundation, we wouldn’t be where we’re at.” The club plans at least one or two bike rides a month. They’ve also taken two “adventure trips,” as Green calls them: a 23-mile kayak trip in Missouri, and a mountain biking and rock climbing trip in Colorado. The club isn’t intimidated by rough terrain — they’ll ride through fields and over rocky ground. “Anywhere the trail leads, we’ll ride,” Green said. Students learn how to fix their own bikes, and the club raises its own funds. Organizations such as Heartland Bicycle, the Peabody Community Foundation and the community as a whole also have lent their support, he said. Green said serving as the club’s mentor has been a rewarding experience. He enjoys watching students find success and learn to face life’s challenges with a positive attitude. He said sometimes a particular trail may look too difficult, and students aren’t sure if they’ll be able to tackle it. However, they get on their bikes anyway, and they discover it wasn’t as tough as it appeared. “They push themselves beyond what they thought they could ever do,” he said. He’s also excited to watch some of the older students become mentors themselves, helping the club’s newer and younger members. The club started with eight students, and interest in the group just keeps growing. Green said he recently received 21 applications from students who wanted to participate. “It’s brought the club to a whole new level,” he said. “We’re excited it’s growing. It has surpassed what we thought it was ever going to be. I never dreamed it would just take off like it did.” To Green’s knowledge, it’s the only club of its kind in the area, but he hopes other schools will pick up on the idea and start clubs of their own. “(We’re) just giving students the ability to do something different,” he said. “We have students who are good students, but not everyone plays football or basketball. They still need good exercise.”
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