By Scott Prater
When Lt. Col. Mike Manor, 1st Space Operations Squadron commander, began preparing for a weekend training run a few months ago his pre-teen daughters looked at him through inquisitive eyes.
“Uh, what are you doing, dad?” they asked.
Manor responded by telling them his biannual Air Force fitness test was soon approaching and he was ramping up his training in an effort to score well on the test.
During that particular training run, his daughters Brooke, 11, and Lindsey, 8, rode along on their bikes, pacing Manor as he jogged through his neighborhood. As he ran a thought popped into his head: Why not host a fitness assessment competition for Team Schriever children? The event could educate children about the Air Force Fitness Assessment and explain why the service requires its members to be physically fit.
Manor approached Schriever sports and fitness director Seth Cannello with the idea soon after.
“With the AF’s new Comprehensive Airman Fitness initiative beginning in January, we thought the idea and timing were perfect to put on our first CAF event,” Cannello said. “We’re calling it the Schriever AFB Kids Fitness Challenge and all Team Schriever youths ages 6 to 17 are welcome to participate at noon Jan. 7.”
Cannello and Schriever Youth Sports director Korey Kuykendall considered offering a straight AF fitness assessment challenge at first, but opted instead to present a more youth-focused event. Col. John Shaw, 50th Operations Group commander, then suggested it might make sense for children and their parents if the event counted for something.
“We settled on using the Presidential Fitness Challenge as our standard,” Cannello said. “We think that more accurately measures a youth’s fitness level than a test designed for adult military members.”
The Schriever Youth Fitness Challenge will consist of five events: the Sit and Reach test, which measures flexibility; push ups and curl ups, which measure muscular strength, the shuttle run to test agility and then anywhere from a quarter to a one-mile run (depending on age) to judge participants’ cardiovascular endurance.
“I really liked the idea because it’s an event kids can perform in front of their parents,” Kuykendall said. “Parents can help motivate and encourage their children during the event. Everyone gets excited and you can see the parents are very proud.”
Timing with the Comprehensive Airman Fitness initiative couldn’t be better. The first quarter of the CAF is centered on physical fitness, not just of Airman, but their family members as well. Manor sees this event as something that could motivate families to find some common ground and exercise together.
“I know when my daughters found out I was training for my PT test they began tracking my progress,” Manor said. “I did not want to let my kids down. Now, with this event, youth can experience the same type of challenge and it may help create a healthier lifestyle for families here.”
Children ages 6 to 17 interested in testing their physical fitness can register for the event by calling Seth Cannello at 567-6658 or Koery Kuykendall at 567-2850.