The fun zone

MARQUETTE- To get its students up and active Westwood High School is now offering a Saturday Recreation Program, giving middle and high school kids a place to go and have fun on a Saturday night.

The program started on Jan. 18, and on the first night there were around 30 students who went to shoot hoops, swim or workout at the high school, said Ryan Reichel, Aspen Ridge School teacher and program organizer. He said he got the idea from Rob Soyring in Gwinn from when he was a high school student.

“I used to get rides out there to play basketball or swim on a Saturday night,” Reichel said. “I’ve been wanting to run something like this since I became a (physical education) teacher here four years ago.

“I think Westwood High School has some of the best facilities around and I think maximizing them is only going to help our youth in this area.”

The program runs from 6 to 10 p.m. on Saturday nights. The hours of 6 to 8 p.m. are designated for middle school students in the gymnasium and 8 to 10 p.m. is for high school students. The swimming pool and weight room are available for all students from 7 to 9 p.m. There are staff members and volunteers at each station. The cost is $2 per student.

“With most kids looking for something to do on a Saturday night it was an easy choice to run with Saturdays,” Reichel said. “This allows kids to have a healthy, safe option on a Saturday night, especially during the winter.”

According to Reichel, the program will run every Saturday until spring break, and then it will be re-evaluated and may continue until school gets out. He also said he these activities were picked for a reason.

“We chose basketball because it is the heart of basketball season right now and also because it allows us to have a ton of kids in the building at one time,” Reichel said. “I also wanted to give the kids an opportunity to jump in the pool, have fun and be kids. So we decided opening the pools is a great idea.

“The weight room gives the kids who are training for football or any other sport to get extra work in on a Saturday that wouldn’t normally be there.”

Reichel said he hopes that eventually there will be at least 50 students a night and that the kids gain social confidence, athletic growth and healthy decision making by attending the program.

“By choosing to hit the gym versus going to a party or doing something not as healthy with their time, they are creating a healthy lifestyle,” Reichel said.

For more information about the program contact WHS?at 485-1023.

Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 243. Her email address is