– Written by Jesse A. Saperstein, Habilitation Liaison orienteering1

At the College Experience we do our best to provide as many options as possible so that the students will undoubtedly find activities the pique their interest and/or prior passions. The spirit of learning cannot be fully accomplished unless there is some element of fun involved and we realize this is especially true with physical education. Some of our students (and the author of this blog entry) may harbor unpleasant memories of physical education growing up. We may remember being pushed into activities in which we were not the most talented or were picked last. It pleases us to see our students try new things even if there is some amount of reluctance at first to embrace something brand new. Every Friday we offer electives for physical education in addition to encouraging the students to push themselves to exercise on their own time. The fitness electives are: Nordic Fitness, Weightlifting, and Dance Studio.

It is a safe assumption that nobody from the College Experience had even heard of Nordic Fitness until our awesome instructor – Russ Myer – entered our universe.   We most recently wrapped up a unit about Orienteering The best way to describe orienteering is a fun composite of physical endurance, map reading skills, a scavenger hunt where we activate physical and electronic controls, and even marksmanship. The students just learned how to use infrared rifles that shoot an electronic beam toward a target and for those students that have visual challenges, Russ was kind enough to bring in a rifle that operates with a sequence of bleeping sounds that become more intense as the target is properly aligned with the rifle’s scope. The thought of rifles in a classroom may strike some other programs as unorthodox, but one of the more fascinating aspects of this obscure sport is how it boasts a perfect safety record even at the professional level. There is not one documented case of anyone becoming injured by the rifle or other aspects of the game.

It has been a pleasure working with Russ and the students on this Orienteering unit that concluded with a Dunkin Donuts celebration and lesson on marksmanship on Saturday morning as an extension of our regular Friday sessions. Some of the students achieved near-perfect scores on the targets and will become more skilled in the future. The students have learned topographical skills by studying symbols on a map and reading Legends (classifications of map symbols). By paying attention to their surroundings, every student was able to locate the controlorienteering3s during one of the first Orienteering classes.

We look forward to what the rest of Nordic Fitness has to offer such as Cross Country Skiing as a bonus of the inevitable snow that may arrive as the students conclude the exciting challenges of their fall semester!