Small group communication class allows children to strive toward fitness

Social Problem Research Project gives students opportunity to teach youth the benefits of staying active



Together with four other students, Hosely and Tetzlaff hosted an after school fitness club.

Story by Meghan Hosely and Trent Tetzlaff

Last year while hanging out in the Spectator office, we were bouncing ideas off one another as to what classes we should take in spring. It dawned on us we were both going to be taking CJ 307: Small Group Communication. In this course, students form groups to work on a social justice problem they find prevalent in the Eau Claire area.

Being physically active ourselves, we wanted to teach younger children different ways to burn their pent-up energy from sitting in the classroom all day. Together, with four other students and the help of Jodi Thesing-Ritter, we partnered up with the Eau Claire Sport Warehouse to hold an after-school fitness club with the third, fourth and fifth grade students of Roosevelt Elementary.


Personal thoughts

Going into the week where we were set to host this after school fitness club, I worried about how everything was going to go. Who was bringing the snacks again? What activities was I going to lead today?


As the bell rang at Roosevelt Elementary School, I was surprised by the mass of children flocking toward the basketball court. I knew we had 44 sign up; I saw the roster. But to see that many 8- to 10-year-old kids, all screaming and running around? I instantly thought I was in over my head.

I wouldn’t exactly call myself a lover of kids, and I wouldn’t say they’re thrilled to be around me either. But as I left the first day, I came back to campus with a smile on my face because of them. We were only together for an hour and a half, but they turned my entire day around.

I missed Tuesday and Wednesday of that week, and my friend told me some kids were asking where I was. When I returned on Thursday, this little girl weaved her way through the crowd and threw her arms around my legs, saying she was happy to see me. It was an instant day-maker.

I left each day inspired and full, knowing I made a difference in their lives. Little do they know, they also made a difference in mine, and a day hasn’t gone by where I haven’t thought about them or the impact they made on me.

— Meghan Hosely, Online Editor


As the weekend came to a close, I remembered I would be spending an hour and a half a every day after my own classes with over 40 elementary school kids for the next week. I took a deep breath and told myself to suck it up, for at the end of the week I would have all of my service learning completed.

The first day was a headache — I was worried we would lose a kid or the boy with horrific peanut allergies would be exposed somehow. But in reality, we had it


all under control.

I was able to make the camp every day of the week and teach the kids numerous different things I had learned once upon a time.

However, the most rewarding thing for me was being able to teach the kids hitting drills during our baseball day. After playing baseball my whole life and training amateurs at my high school’s annual camp, I knew someday I wanted to coach baseball and this gave me even more reassurance after I saw the kids improvements and smiles.

Being able to reach out and help kids who are less fortunate and have less resources in their current situation is the most rewarding thing I have done to this date. Honestly I could care less that I have my service learning accomplished now, because I can look back and say I changed kids’ lives, even if it was just for a week.

— Trent Tetzlaff, Copy Editor