Last week we began the Walk or Wheel Challenge here in Dane Co. The WoW Challenge is an opportunity for twelve elementary and middle schools in Dane Co. to encourage their students to walk or wheel to and from school with the chance of a $1,000 prize for their school. I had the pleasure of participating in two great launch events for the challenge last week, media events at Horizon Elementary in Sun Prairie and Cesar Chavez Elementary in Madison.
The event at Horizon Elementary in Sun Prairie featured an all school assembly followed by walking school busses lead by Sun Prairie leaders. With support from the fire department, police, and Hooty, the Horizon mascot – over two-hundred kids participated in biking or walking home from school.
The event at Cesar Chavez Elementary on Madison’s west side also featured an all school assembly. With Pacific Cycle and Helmets on Heads on hand to discuss the importance of wearing a helmet with the kids, CC the Cheetah was scolded when he entered the gymnasium in hopes of becoming a professional bicyclist without his helmet.
These events were a lot of fun. It was great seeing the kids get excited to see their mascots, and even more exciting to see their enthusiasm for walking, riding, and being safe on their bicycles. These two events are only a snapshot of all the great energy behind walking or wheeling this past week in Madison. Throughout the week there were other events such as walking school buses at Creekside, Shorewood, Prairie View, and Patrick Marsh, Bike To School Day at Van Hise, and many others.
As we continue in to week two of the WoW Challenge – It is clear that this great challenge will have a lasting impact here in Dane Co. With so many students participating, I hope that this can become a catalyst for continued efforts and am already hearing about groups forming within some of the participating schools to continue walking or wheeling long after the WoW Challenge wraps up. We have had a lot of support from community advocates and the hard work of these individuals and organizations has made all of this possible. Thanks to Sonia Dubielzig, Lisa Bullard Cawthorne, and all the other wonderful advocates and educators who have helped move this challenge from idea to reality here in Dane Co.