A step ahead for school
SPECIAL needs students from Mossman State High School have reaped the benefits of an innovative fitness challenge by outdoor staff from Douglas Shire Council.
More than 20 Council staff took part in the “Fitbit Challenge” which used a Fitbit device that recorded the number of steps and kilometres they registered in their work and home life over a number of months.
Staff were encouraged to get sponsorship from the community to go towards their preferred not-for-profit organisation which Council would match with an in-kind donation.
Judy Chamberlain from the Port Douglas Depot registered more than one million steps over 10 weeks to take out the challenge, with depot colleague Eli Pitt hot on her heels and raising the most in sponsorship.
They both chose to donate their sponsorship to the special needs students at Mossman State High School.
Eli said the Fitbit Challenge was motivation to adopt a healthy lifestyle at home as well.
“It inspired me to get fit and I lost 7kg during the challenge,” Eli said.
“I really wanted to do something for the special needs students as I know that every kid there has a different way of learning,” he said.
“By creating a garden, it gives them life experience and it’s something they can see created from the beginning and be a part of.”
Council donated plants from the nursery, mulch and assistance from the Open Spaces crew while Ian O’Donoghue supplied earthmoving equipment and an operator free of charge to help the students create an understorey native micro-environment underneath existing mature palms.
Council chief executive Linda Cardew, who came up with the Fitbit Challenge idea as a way to inspire Council’s outdoor teams to appreciate the amount they do and set goals for a healthier lifestyle, was delighted with the outcome.
“It was a great outcome for our outdoor staff who participated and the special needs students,” Ms Cardew said.
Douglas Shire Councillors at Mossman State High School with Principal Deborah Kachel admiring the new garden