In hopes of promoting physical activity, Salem High School’s PE teacher Gwinn Miller started the Hiking Club to encourage students to get up and move.
The Hiking Club, which was started in the fall, is a club that offers an opportunity for students to up their fitness level and get some time outside. It also introduces new trails and locations for students to explore and enjoy.
Miller came to be advisor of the club when the REACH grant was introduced. She thought about how interesting and beneficial the club would be for students.
“I love to hike so it was a perfect fit,” she said.
The club does a good amount of hiking. Although, when the weather doesn't allow them to get outside, Miller has found a way to enjoy club activities inside as well. Members can be found making trail mix with a variety of ingredients, then calculating the amount of calories they would need while hiking and seeing if each individual mix would be a good fit.
Another inside activity Miller has presented is CPR training, bringing in Matt Gorman to spend some time with the members to certify them in CPR.
Miller said she hopes to see the club grow in size and in activities and especially would like to see more opportunities for the club to go hiking. The club allows students to have the chance to be active while communicating with peers. It's a time for students to clear their head and discover places they've never been before.
“I didn’t even know that Henderson Park was a place until Mr. Calhoun suggested it!” said Miller.
She hopes to finish the Friends of Spring Mill hiking challenge, a 10.8 mile hiking challenge, nine of which the club has already hiked.
The club has also benefited Miller in other ways. She enjoys being able to participate with the students and help them find new things they may like.
“I have gotten to know the members of the club a little better and I enjoy that, too,” she said.
One active member of the club is Ivy Harris, who hasn't missed one opportunity to hike, and was made president due to her active participation. Harris said she feels as if it is her job to show up and be a leader for other members, as well as give her ideas and suggestions on club activities.
Harris commented on how the club has benefited her in many ways, one being able to talk to and meet new people that join the club. She explained how she has been able to meet people she never would have before because of the Hiking Club.
“It's an opportunity to be exposed to new people,” she said.
The club has given Harris motivation to stay active and expand her social skills. It has also motivated her to stay healthy and has been a good distraction to get her mind off things.
Harris joined the club because the PSATs in October had caused Harris and Miller to go on a walk and Miller mentioned that there should be a Hiking Club and Harris wholeheartedly agreed.
“Mrs. Miller is my best friend,” said Harris. “We have a lot in common.”
A few of the club members were able to get CPR certified, including sophomore Ashley Stewart. She was able to get CPR certified with Gorman, who spent some time with the students to teach them the basics of CPR.
Stewart explained how CPR is important for hikes, in case of emergency, and how it is also helpful in the future.
“CPR is a really important skill and can save lives,” she said.
The club itself has helped students in more than just a few ways, it motivates students to be healthy and physically active. It is a good distraction and a fun way to get away.
“It has been such a joy to participate with the club,” said Miller. “I love to hike and be outside so getting to share that with students has been awesome.”