Shawano High offers a fantastic selection of gym courses for students including Sports Weight Training, Lifeguard Training, Everyday Fitness and many more. One of the popular choices for juniors and seniors is a course titled Challenge by Choice.
Challenge is taught by Mr. Jeff Kammerer. Mr. Kammerer has been teaching in the Shawano School District for 22 years, and he has taught Challenge for five.
Mr. Kammerer also teaches Water Sports, Outdoor Recreation, Specially Designed Phy. Ed. and Recreational Sports, but Challenge is one of his favorites.
“I enjoy it so much. Getting paid for teaching this class is a bonus,” he stated.
The course is designed to push students out of their comfort zones and show them the great results that can come from doing new things. Many students gain a lot of confidence from Challenge, as it allows them to dig a little deeper when it comes to pushing their limits just a little farther.
Depending on weather and which semester the student is enrolled in, it will affect what their class will start out doing. This year, the first semester started out with initiative and trust activities so that the students got to know their peers.
Junior Mckenzie Trinko struggled with this the most in Challenge. She explained that it was really hard “to trust people that you really don’t know or talk to.”
She did overcome this though, as the activities brought the whole group closer together.
After the activities, the students get to practice their kayak and canoeing skills by preparing to go on a half day trip down the Wolf River. Most who participate have a blast on the trip, but this year weather did not cooperate with the intended field trip days. The first planned day was cancelled due to storms and the second was not ideal either.
“This was one of the colder trips we’ve been on in the last five years,” said Mr. Kammerer.
Following the journey down the river, the students get to go on yet another adventure- spelunking. Spelunking is exploring caves, and the group travels to Chilton for a day of army crawling, getting muddy and experiencing a potential hobby.
Then, the students jump into what Challenge is most known for the climbing wall. They have two weeks of ground school, where Mr. Kammerer teaches them how to tie knots out of rope for the wall and, most importantly, how to be safe.
Along with the wall, the students also get to try different rope elements. Trinko’s favorite part about the class was the ropes course.
“One of my favorites is climbing up to a platform only to fight another person to fall off,” she said.
For the last couple class periods, the class travelled to the Crawford Center in Shawano and played Broomball. Broomball is a game similar to hockey, but a ¨broom¨ (a wooden or aluminum shaft with a rubber head) is used as the stick, and a ball is used as a puck. There are also no ice skates.
Challenge is a class where anyone can overcome any fear. Even Mr. Kammerer has had to conquer his own uneasiness in small spaces.
He described a story of getting stuck in the caves while spelunking, only he was not really stuck, his fear had just made him believe he was. Students encouraged him to keep going, and he eventually made it out.
Any junior or senior that is looking to strengthen themselves and get outside of their own comfort zone should definitely think about taking Challenge.
“It pushes people to get out of their comfort zones!” exclaimed Trinko. “And there are tons of opportunities to do things that they may not ever do outside of the class. It’s definitely worth taking!”