This new school year, Fort Payne middle schoolers have been enjoying a recently installed ninja obstacle course.
The course was made possible through the coordination and efforts between the Fort Payne Kiwanis Club, GameTime, Fort Payne City School Board, and Superintendent Jim Cunningham.
“The Fort Payne Kiwanis Club made this their 2019 community project and raised approximately $35,000 for the project,” Cunningham said.
He said they are excited about the new addition to the Fort Payne Middle School Physical Education Department.
Club President Randy Posey said the Kiwanis Club had raised a significant amount of money for a project for more than a year.
“We decided we needed to utilize the money, and we started brainstorming ideas for projects,” Posey said.
According to Posey, during that time, it was brought to their attention that the Fort Payne Middle School could use some new equipment.
Posey said Mike McWilliams, a Kiwanis Club member who works for GameTime, suggested they could potentially use a new course from GameTime, at a discounted price, and would also allow the company to showcase the new challenge course.
“We all decided that would be a great project for the kids in Fort Payne,” he said.
Posey said the Kiwanis Club covered the equipment cost, which was around $35,000 and was “tremendously discounted” to them from GameTime.
Cunningham said Playcore/GameTime provided all the manpower to install the challenge course, and the Fort Payne School Board provided funding for the groundwork, concrete, and turf.
“This joint effort provided over 1,000 middle school students the opportunity to develop skills in a very competitive setting,” he said.
According to Posey, although they had funds raised, they still needed additional funds for the Kiwanis Club to not only pay for the course equipment but also honor their $5,000 worth of scholarships that are given out to Fort Payne High School students at the end of the year.
He said the funds were made possible by their annual Pancake Day fundraiser at the high school.
“We came up with a flyer and showcased it to the community, saying any additional donations to the Pancake Day would be greatly appreciated because we really needed some additional help,” Posey said.
He said there were “a good bit” of people who stepped up and helped with donations from $500 to $1,000, and several businesses in town provided contributions.
Posey said the Pancake Day is typically their largest fundraiser. However, they have a few others throughout the year that allow them to build up funds in their fundraising account for large projects like the ninja course.
“This challenge course will be used by thousands of students for years to come,” Cunningham said.
According to Posey, the courses come in three categories, and they were able to purchase the larger of the packages, which features a 40-yard dash.
He said this course is just another example of the support provided by the Fort Payne Kiwanis Club for the youth of the community.
Posey encourages people who are intrigued to get involved with the community to reach out to the Fort Payne Kiwanis Club for membership.
“We do a lot of things for the community that a lot of folks are not aware of,” he said.
He said the club has an interesting and great group of people who all have the same drive to help out the kids in Fort Payne.
The Kiwanis Club meets at 7 a.m. every Wednesday at Western Sizzlin for breakfast and to discuss ways to help the community.
For additional information, visit the club’s Facebook @fortpaynekiwanisclub.