Spring sports in winter. Organized dog walking. The opportunity to learn a new skill. Brooks School's winter 2021 afternoon activities program sees the challenges of campus life during a pandemic and deftly works around them to provide fun for all, on campus and online.
"We're using every inch of three basketball courts, for up to four different activities in each time slot, every afternoon," said Director of Athletics Bobbie Crump-Burbank. Whether students are playing volleyball, small-sided soccer or wrestling, the Athletic Center is in use until 9 p.m. each day to give everyone an ability to have at least 75 minutes of activity time — and that's just the indoor action. "It's been a lot of work to put together," she said, "but we're proud of all who pitched in and got flexible and creative to put our winter program together."
Since the Independent School League isn't offering a winter season of interscholastic games, the school has stepped up with a varied and flexible program on campus, similar to the fall season, and taking advantage of the opportunity presented by the ISL and New England Preparatory School Athletic Conference relaxing their rules against out-of-season coaching/skills training.
Afternoon programs at Brooks meet six days a week. Traditional winter activities form "base options," required of all students. (Virtual options are available to students currently attending Brooks online). Students can participate in their "base option" six days a week, or they can choose to mix in one or two "two-day options," including fall sports, spring sports and new offerings.
"Weather dependent, activities have an indoor and an outdoor space," said Crump-Burbank of the options:
- Dog Walking
- Drama/Stage Crew
- Environmental Art
- Field Hockey
- Fitness Club
- Football Fitness
- Ice Hockey
- Learn to Ice Skate
- Music Appreciation
- Power of Positive Living
- Soccer (small sided)
- Tennis Fitness
- Volleyball (co-ed, recreational)
- Winter Running
"For some students, their winter sport is what they do and most enjoy," said Crump-Burbank. "We have a large group of ice hockey and basketball players and that's what they want to do, six days a week. Others are taking advantage of learning a new sport, because it's a low-pressure time to do that, or seizing the opportunity to play their spring sport two days a week and prepare for that." No matter what, she added, "We're trying to make a lot of people happy."
The most popular of the new activities is one that achieved that happiness goal on Day One: Dog Walking. "It's a great one because it's active and kids can do it with their friends, so that's big," Crump-Burbank explained. "Sometimes the activity isn't just about the person, it's about being able to spend time with their friends, as well."
Until recently, life on campus has been quite restricted — with grab-and-go meals, online classes and strict rules of interaction — in order to mitigate COVID-19 risk. "So just the fact that students can be skating and on the courts now is huge for them," she added. "They can be doing activities they haven't been able to enjoy since they returned to campus and they're really excited!"
OTHER RECENT STORIES
Helping the Helpers
Continuing our longstanding partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence, Brooks has pledged to give the organization items that they need to run their programs during the pandemic.
Gambling for a Good Grade
AP Statistics students designed games of chance to investigate and test their probability models — on fellow students during a virtual casino night!
Model UN Goes Virtual
Four students scored awards during an "extremely intensive weekend" competing in the annual Boston Model United Nations.