The call was made in July: Independent School League (ISL) schools would not offer traditional competitions this fall due to health and safety concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic. Just a few weeks later, Brooks answered, with a "Game on!" introducing a whole new fall afternoon program providing students with more athletic and activity choices than ever before.
The fall program, starting on Monday, gives students the opportunity to participate in a sport or activity of their choice — designated their "base activity" — six days a week or four days a week. The four-day-a-week choice provides students the opportunity to also do one or two "two-day activity," consisting of enrichment offerings and winter or spring sports (taking advantage of ISL coach-athlete contact restrictions being waived this season).
Skateboarding instructor, Media Arts Teacher Max Nagel in action (Off-campus photo courtesy of Max Nagel).
The 2020 roster of "base activities" includes traditional fall sports and a few new offerings: boats (canoeing/kayaking), cross country, disc golf, drama, field hockey, fitness, football, outdoor club, skateboarding, soccer, volleyball and yoga.
Two-day activity options include: baseball, basketball, crew, ice hockey, lacrosse, softball, squash, tennis and wrestling, for the sports, plus aquatics, boats, disc golf, esports, "Healthy Habits for Life," leadership lab, model UN, speech and debate, nature walking and yearbook, for the other pursuits. (Crew, squash and tennis are split into two levels).
Online students are able to participate, too. Eight activities are available for teammates to do from home: cross country, drama, fitness, esports, Model UN, speech and debate, yearbook and yoga.
Creating this eight-week fall program from scratch has been a challenge for the Athletics Department, among the other faculty leading activities, but it's one they've fully embraced.
"We are so pleased and thankful for the support and creativity from our entire faculty in regards to the various programs that have been added to our afternoon activities," said Assistant Director of Athletics Kerry Baldwin, who also serves as girls 1st soccer coach. "Our vision came to fruition as we have taken advantage of many spaces on campus that were not utilized in the past. With 270 beautiful acres to work with, we feel lucky in so many ways."
The new options were specifically selected to provide a wide range of afternoon activities, allowing high-level athletes to continue working on their skills as well as offer students the ability to try new sports or devote more time to non-sport group pursuits they already know they enjoy, such as model UN or speech and debate.
In sum, teamwork will take many forms at Brooks this fall — and onward, if all goes well.
Baldwin said some of the new activities could end up joining Brooks' regular roster. "We feel," she explained, "that many of our new offerings this fall will outlast the current pandemic as they are going to bring fresh ideas to campus while fostering building blocks for lifelong skills and interests."
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