March 17, 2020
Teachers blow their whistles to signal the start of the game. Third and fourth-grade students jump into action as they work together towards a win. It is the start of the intramural soccer unit.
Students are participating in an after school intramural program at Robert Asp Elementary that was started eight years ago by Principal Chris Triggs and third-grade teacher Trevor Wickenheiser.
Each unit promotes a different activity and lasts for about a month. On Mondays and Thursdays, third and fourth graders participate and Tuesdays are reserved for first and second graders.
A Program For All
The Robert Asp Intramural Program is completely free for students. It promotes physical activity, offers learning on how to play on a team and provides students with a positive activity to expel energy.
Trevor says, “When this program was started eight years ago, it was very important for it to be accessible to all students. The goal is to provide opportunities for students to try out sports that might otherwise not be achievable because of the cost barrier.” The program uses funds provided by the Robert Asp Parent Teacher Advisory Council to keep it open to everyone.
In addition to introducing students to new sports, Trevor’s goal is to teach listening skills, following directions and sportsmanship in a team setting.
Working With Family
Together with two teachers who help run the program, Wickenheiser has a volunteer that he has known an entire lifetime - his father. Chuck Wickenheiser has volunteered in the after school program for six and a half years. Trevor mentioned that his dad knows all of the students by name and they love having him around.
Chuck, who was an avid basketball player growing up, is a huge help when watching up to 70 kids at a time. Officially retired from the ND Air National Guard, he would tell you he has two jobs: working as a valet at the Roger Maris Cancer Center and helping with the Robert Asp Intramural Program.
Trevor says, “We are doing good things at Robert Asp. Students are enjoying the extra opportunities. Parents have commented that this is a nice way for students to work on life skills, while learning new sports skills as an added bonus.”