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Empowering Eagle Rock Students Through Fitness and Leadership

Empowering Eagle Rock Students Through Fitness and Leadership

Located in the scenic mountains of Colorado, Eagle Rock fosters a unique learning environment that emphasizes holistic growth and individualized education. One of the critical aspects of this approach is our commitment to physical fitness and wellness. In this blog post, we'll explore how Piñon House Parents Mark Rutberg, the Athletic Coordinator, and his partner Sara, a Fitness Consultant at Eagle Rock, are making a positive impact on students' lives through innovative fitness programs and inclusive leadership opportunities.

Redefining Athletics at Eagle Rock

At Eagle Rock, we don’t have traditional sports teams playing on campus. Instead, Mark Rutberg oversees a wide variety of fitness programs and outdoor activities. From the pool to the climbing wall, the dojo space to the gym facility, students have access to a diverse range of physical activities. This inclusive approach allows students to explore and discover what works best for them on their interests and needs.

Oftentimes, fitness spaces are dominated by masculinity, and Mark and Sara have partnered with Eagle Rock students to create an inclusive environment for women, femme, nonbinary, and transgender students to feel safe and welcomed wherever they are on their health and wellness journeys. Sara's expertise in nutrition and wellness complements Mark's focus on physical fitness, ensuring students receive holistic guidance.

Building Inclusive Spaces and Leadership Opportunities

One standout initiative at Eagle Rock is the "Workout Warriors" program, which Mark and Sara have been instrumental in developing. This program goes beyond traditional fitness goals, emphasizing commitment to fitness and strength training rather than appearance or athleticism. It's a safe space where students, regardless of their gender identity, can feel welcomed. The program emerged when Eagle Rock students advocated for an inclusive gym environment.

Three dedicated students have become Workout Warriors, not only receiving safety training but also delving into the "why" of their fitness journeys. This emphasis on personal motivation helps center the program around students' voices and experiences, reducing barriers for others to join.

Furthermore, students in this program are given the autonomy to open the gym and welcome their peers, eliminating the need for staff to dictate schedules. This student leadership role empowers them to shape their fitness community.

Empowering Through Autonomy and Leadership

The Workout Warriors program offers students a unique set of benefits:

  • Knowledge and Skills: Students attend weekly training sessions, gaining expertise in strength training. As they progress, they have the opportunity to lead training for their peers.

  • Community: The program creates a tight-knit fitness community where students can take pride in their accomplishments.

  • Leadership: Being a Workout Warrior allows students to develop their leadership capabilities, leaning into one of Eagle Rock’s five expectations: “creating and making healthy life choices”

  • Autonomy: Workout Warriors have the responsibility of supervising the gym and opening it for other students, further building their sense of ownership.

Mark and Sara, along with the dedicated students at Eagle Rock, are reshaping what it means to incorporate fitness and wellness into education. By providing inclusive spaces, leadership opportunities, and a supportive community, they are helping students not only grow physically but also gain confidence, find their voices, and become active contributors to the Eagle Rock community. Through programs like Workout Warriors, Eagle Rock is helping shape the future of holistic education and wellness.