An unusual 3 way outdoor partnership came together this week at Oconto Falls Elementary. Chique Tousey-Tabar and Ray Tabar are shown with a with a $500 check from the Oconto Falls Lions, in front of their trail grooming equipment with the Oconto Falls Elementary cross country ski trail in the background.
Ray serves as the trail manager and Chique serves as the Secretary/Treasurer for the Machickanee Cross Country Ski Club. The club coordinates a system of over seven miles of trails in the Machickanee forest south of Oconto Falls.
The Tabars are passionate about the sport and have done much to promote youngster’s interest. For the past seven or eight years, when snow conditions were favorable, they partnered with Oconto Falls Elementary physical education teacher Rochelle Otto to give 4th and 5th grade students an experience on skis.
Over the years, a collection of skis, poles, shoes, and bindings has been put together from donations and Rochelle’s P.E. budget. When the time is right, Ray uses club equipment to groom trails on the property behind the school. The school’s daily schedule is modified slightly to allow for an extended physical education period.
Over a one week period, each 4th and 5th grader gets a chance to “take to the slopes.” For the 4th grade students, it is a first time experience. The 5th graders are almost “pros,” since it is a second year experience for them. The program has multiple benefits including getting a taste for a life-long sport, understanding that there are great trails only a few miles away, and encouraging outdoor physical activity at a time when “cabin fever” can creep into the classroom. Mrs. Otto’s class continues to get high marks for being fun.
Chique volunteers extensively with the Lions ticket scanning at Lambeau Field. The Lions are pleased to support the Machickanee Cross Country Ski Club and their efforts to bring the love of this “silent sport” to young people of the area.
Anyone who has good used cross country equipment, especially sized for younger skiers, to donate to this effort can contact the Tabar’s at 846-2965.