Three members of the education community in Fairfax County will present a session entitled Snow or No Snow – Physical Education and Recreation Snowshoe Programming at the national conference for the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) in Baltimore, Maryland. Presenters include Jeannie Trautman of Great Falls Elementary School, Frank Ruscito of Oak Hill Elementary School and G. Linda Rikard, PhD of George Mason University.

The presentation, being coordinated by Elizabeth Payne, K-12 Coordinator for Health and Physical Education for Fairfax County Public Schools, also will include Kathy Murphy, general manager for Tubbs Snowshoes in Stowe, VT and Mary Jo Tarallo, director of Education for SnowSports Industries America (SIA), a Fairfax County-based national not-for-profit trade association.

Trautman, Ruscito and Rikard have been involved for three years in a pilot program that introduces children to snowshoeing through physical education programs in schools. Rikard wrote the curriculum for use in Fairfax County public schools and includes snowshoeing as part of the Physical Education Teacher Education program at Mason. Trautman and Ruscito are implementing the curriculum in their respective schools. Tubbs was one of four snowshoe companies that provided snowshoes for the Fairfax County program gratis.

The presentation at AAHPERD will offer a demonstration of activities that can be used as a unit in a physical education or recreation program, practical aspects on implementing such a program, the physiological benefits of snowshoeing, the basic technology and construction of snowshoes, and how appropriate types of snowshoes should be chosen for students. Trautman and Ruscito will offer “best practices” from their own experience teaching snowshoeing in a part of the country that does not receive an abundance of snow and serves a diverse, suburban-oriented student population.

The snowshoe pilot program is part of SIA’s Winter Feels Good community outreach program that focuses on public awareness about the health, fitness and social benefits of snow sports. The program originated in 2003 in response to the growing crises of childhood obesity and lack of activity among youth in the U.S.