Arbutus Elementary celebrates 25th Goofy Games

Students, parents and teachers at Arbutus Elementary School spent the final day of May in a frenzy of fun as they celebrated the 25th annual Goofy Games.

Friday's noncompetitive field day was started by Arbutus physical education teacher Connie Lemon in 1988, her first year at the school at 1300 Sulphur Spring Road.

Goofy Games is a great way for students to end the year, she said.

"My goal was to culminate the school year with something noncompetitive," Lemon said June 3. "The idea is just to end the school year on a fun note."

More than 400 students and over 146 visitors participated in a variety of all-day activities ranging from the Shoe Scramble — during which kids removed their shoes, tossed them into a mixed up pile, then raced to retrieve their pair and put them back on first — to the Hippity Hop Relay.

"The big highlight is the water stuff outside," Lemon, a Catonsville resident, said.

The kids participated in a variety of what Lemon calls bucket brigades, a series of water relays that came in handy during the especially hot weather on May 31, she said.

Arbutus Elementary recently received a Silver National Recognition Award from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation's Healthy Schools Program for its efforts to make fitness fun.

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation was founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation. It works with schools, companies, community organizations, healthcare professionals and families to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity and to empower kids to develop lifelong, healthy habits.

Arbutus and West Towson Elementary were the only Baltimore County public schools recognized by the Alliance this year.

With support from the Parent Teacher Association, Arbutus Elementary replaced processed foods with whole foods for classroom celebrations, and began requiring that all students in grades three to five complete individualized physical fitness plans.

Goofy Games is a big part of that program, Lemon said.

"My idea was to make it so much fun that they would remember P.E. in a very positive way," Lemon said. "I want them to be fit."

Each student participant signs a pledge stating they will follow the rules, show respect and sportsmanship and have fun, the key principles of Goofy Games.

"I want to encourage children to take responsibility for their own health and create habits that will last a lifetime," she wrote in a statement. "If you make physical education fun as well as educational, then children will stay active their whole lives."

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