For immediate release: December 1, 2011
Contact: Sean McManus (802) 764-4831
BERLIN, VT – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont today announced it will accept applications until December 16 from schools interested in offering the 2012 season of the Velocity all-boys after-school program.
Velocity is a unique program designed for middle school boys to:
Encourage healthy and active lifestyles
Provide opportunities to try new activities in non-competitive settings
Address common issues middle school boys face, and
Build confidence and communication skills.
The program runs on six days after school in the spring, usually once a week.
“The program consists of a variety of different activity modules, each with a corresponding discussion curriculum,” says Sean McManus, who coordinates the program at BCBSVT. “We create an environment where boys can challenge themselves both physically and mentally.
“We feel that boys need to be given as many opportunities as possible to be healthy and active. Many middle school boys begin to lose interest in traditional sports and gravitate towards more sedentary activities. Now more than ever, boys struggle with obesity due, in part, to ’plugging in’ to video games, TV and the internet,” according to McManus. “Velocity offers them alternatives.”
A school must identify a strong male leader who will be a consistent presence for the boys to bring Velocity to its campus,. BCBSVT provides each site with curriculum materials and coordinates with activity experts to visit sites. For example, BCBSVT may send a chef to teach healthy cooking one week and a break-dancing teacher on another week. BCBSVT coordinates collection of program fees and pays stipends to activities experts and mentors. The company also provides tee shirts and water bottles to the boys and their mentors.
“The program costs $60 per participant, but we don’t want anyone to be left out due to lack of resources,” McManus states. “We will work with schools to determine whether
afterschool funds or other grants could cover costs for lower-income participants. In fact, some schools have been able to offer the program completely free of charge,” he adds.
“Browns River Middle School (BRMS) in Jericho is in its third year of supporting the Velocity Program,” says Greg Martin who serves as a mentor at BRMS and sits on the Velocity advisory board. “Not only has it shown itself to be a sustainable program, but our numbers continue to rise. The boys value the program’s mission of coming together to discuss issues of importance specific to their age and gender coupled with vigorous activities aimed at building camaraderie and purpose.”
McManus says that BCBSVT will double the number of 2011 Velocity sites in 2012, but that in order to grow responsibly, the company will continue to place a limit on the total number of groups.
“We will look at each application and decide which schools are the best fit for our program,” he explains. “Applications must come from schools, but we encourage community members to bring Velocity to the attention of their local school officials if they’re interesting in having Velocity in their towns.”
For more information or to get an application for your school, visit www.bcbsvt.com/velocity or, contact:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont is the state’s only Vermont-based health insurer and is the largest private health plan in Vermont. The non-profit company employs more than 340 people and provides health care benefits for more than 160,000 Vermonters. The company offers benefits and services to virtually all Vermont populations through its array of products and through its partner companies, The Vermont Health Plan (TVHP) and Comprehensive Benefits Administrators. More information about Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont is available on the Internet at www.bcbsvt.com Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont is an independent corporation operating under a license with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans.