An idea was presented to me at the beginning of October by one of our school council members. They wanted to revamp the physical fundraiser of the year and give it some energy that would see the kids wanting more when they have finished. Mini Mudda was born on that day at Leopold PS. On that day if was I was see the future unfolded, I would not have imagined the success that was ahead of me.
I must be honest the first week I was trying to reign in my thoughts and initial sketches to a design that would see inclusion of 150 runners at the same time. My initial course saw obstacles stretched over 900 metres. I was working solo on this event, gathering ideas for many events that I have participated in and trying to design obstacles that would challenge but also bring a lot of laughter and joy. Many years ago I designed an adventure race for children that catering for 800 runners so when I found my event management plan for this event I was back on track with obstacles that would suitable for Primary aged children.
Mondays afternoons were spent at a recycling yard in Geelong who kindly donated their time and effort to help me find equipment worthy of Mini Mudda status. Along with this a visit or two to a car tyre centre saw 50 used tyres make their way to the top of Geelong.
Finally I was able to confirm the obstacles for the event. A 20 metre slip and slide, army crawl net and tyre run, giant inflatable slide, 15 metre mud pit, mini swimming pools, a mud slip and slide, tunnel navigation and a small run back to the start. The course was 400 metres in total.
The participation from the students was designed around an endurathon. Students had 40 minutes allocated to run as many laps as they could. We are a school of 800 students from Prep-6 and allowing 40 minutes per Year level allowed only one year level at a time on the course, which was perfect.
We were successful in gaining support once again from our parents association who manned the obstacles and catered for students safety, at the same time ensuring children were as muddy and as wet as possible.
The success of the event was beyond what I set out to achieve. Once children had finished they wanted to know what date in 2015 the event was going to be. The Principal of the school proudly acknowledged this event at our recent Graduation and stated "The Mini Mudda was the single most rewarding day of her high performing career". (Her resume is lengthy with senior roles in Regional Centres).
The following is a recount from the Geelong Advertiser of the event:
(WORDS: ALISON APRHYS)
NEARLY 800 children at Leopold Primary
School got down and dirty at their Mini
Mudda event last Friday.
Based on the gruelling adventure sport
known as Tough Mudda, Leopold’s event was
less daunting but enormous fun and resulted
in more than 3000km being covered during
the day, organiser Andy Hair said.
“A large body of staff and parents assisted
in the build process that involved seven
obstacles, which included a slippery slide,
army crawl net and tyre run, giant slide,
tunnels and crawl nets, knee-high swimming
pools and the almighty mud pit,” he said.
“About 780 students rotated throughout
the day and participated in a 40-minute Mini
Mudda Endurathon, in which they were free
to do as many laps as possible.”
Hair said older children ran in groups or ran
alone, while the younger children were
accompanied by their buddies.
“They performed Superman dives on the
slip and slide while being soaked by hoses,
they went down low on the army crawl nets,
slid through the tunnels and splashed and
belly-flopped their way through the baby
pools,” he said.
“However the largest crowds of the day
were always focused around the mud pit,
which provided lots of laughter and
entertainment as students in many grades
were joined by their teachers who let their
hair down for the day and acted like big kids,
often finding themselves muddier and
wetter than their students.”
When teachers and parents took on the
course at lunchtime, it was time for the
children to get the last laugh.
“They took on the course in a two-lap allout
sprint,” Hair said.
“Up for grabs were bragging rights as to
who was the fastest mudda of the year and a
specially crafted trophy representing power
Hair said Hayden Marshall proved the best
male teacher and Narelle Foster was the best
female teacher of the day.
“This event was a major fundraiser for the
school and the parent association led by
Alison Merrett was instrumental in
supporting myself to build this unique event
that saw 500 family members join their
children at school during the day,” Hair said.
“In all the students ran more than 3000km
across the day and raised a great deal of
money which will be used to support student
learning across the school.”
The success was evident with many
students wanting a firm date for the 2015
This event exceeded my expectations and challenged my event management skills but was one of the single most rewarding experiences of my career. 2015 is just around the corner and along with the Leopold Mini Mudda taking place again we are set to run an Interschool Championships in November. I have fielded many emails and tweets about this event and am confident that Leopold will be joined by many schools next year digging up their playgrounds and transforming them into giant mud pits......
I have been doing some reflection on my career over the past months and thought it would be timely to write a quick blog post about how things have changed over 14 years of PE at Leopold PS.
When I arrived at Leopold in 2001 I was given the keys to a multi purpose room that was called the PE space. It measured 13 metres x 13 metres. Back then I had 22 x 1 hour classes per week but was told that classes had priority of the PE sessions in the PE space. This didnt quite make a lot of sense but who was I to change the rules on day 1 of a new job. It wasn't long until classes started booking this space for their own purposes which left the PE program high and dry on cold days. It wasnt long during this year that the main school buildings were deemed unsafe and almost across a weekend the whole school was packed up and moved into a sea of portables that were placed across the existing school oval. Trucks drove their way across the oval during winter and left tyre ruts that could swallow a prep child. As the year passed the ruts hardened up leaving nice obstacles to work around when teaching stick sports. My PE space was the last to go but due to the major earth works going on in the school we found that we had a mice plaque that had made the PE storeroom their home. I remember opening the cricket pads bag and moving out of the way as 300 mice ran for their life. That December I was moved from a PE space to two blue shipping containers that once help fertilizer. The smell alone was enough to make me feel ill every day. This was my home for 2 years. I was storeroomless and office less, but I had to shipping containers. One container all the necessary items I required for teaching and the other contained the items that I deemed I wouldnt use for 2 years plus my desk. All of these seemed like a teachers worst nightmare and it may have been enough to make one snap but for me I was 26 years old and living the dream. I was a Physical Education Teacher.
Over the following two years the weather conditions were my main distractor from Physical Education lessons. When the weather was nice we excelled, when it was miserable we found cover in any indoor space we could find. When we lacked any venue to retreat to I would pack my class into the 2nd shipping container that, just by luck, contained all the gymnastics gear. Sitting on these mats listening as the rain pelted against the containers we sang songs, told jokes and shared stories. When the rain passed we emerged re-energised and ready to participate. Throughout this time the construction of the LINC had commenced and anticipation was growing. Every now and then I was permitted to enter and have a look around. I remember seeing the floor boards being nailed down.
Appreciation is an amazing thing........ Being gifted an amazing school like Leopold and being entrusted into the role of Head of PE is an honour. To be able to go to work each day to challenge students to take risks is something I dont take lightly. I have a huge responsibility in life. The formative years of a childs life is an impressionable time and my role is to give children as much confidence in this time to feel empowered so they can take off in their teenage years and be successful in anything they set their minds to.
This is why my is DREAM, BELIEVE, ACHIEVE.