It was a pleasure to be the sponsor of the first ever running camp in Fort Worth this summer. The kids met down the street from my office at the University of North Texas Health Science Center to run, learn about healthy lifestyles and nutrition, and have fun. Congrats to Heidi Swartz, the hard-working executive director of the marathon, and her staff for starting this excellent activity.
I asked why the children liked to run. Their responses were wonderful.
Jaden, who is eight years old, said that “running makes me feel proud because I achieve my goals. It’s fun because you can race your friends while concentrate on anything I don’t understand.”
“Running makes me feel free,” Rebekah wrote. “Running makes me feel happy and I love to run for causes like cancer. My Papa died over cancer and it is upsetting. I miss him a lot and he loved to run also. I love that a lot.”
Melachi impressively noted that “running has helped me win because of my speed in different sports. I ran track and made it to the Junior Olympics in Jacksonville, Florida and placed 3rd and 7th in the nation.”
“Running means I can clear my mind, have fun and stay healthy,” Avery, age 11, observed. “Running is fun because you get to enjoy the outdoors and go FAST!!”
Why this camp is important
It’s no secret that many of our children are obese and unhealthy. According to the Center for Disease Control, this problem has doubled and quadrupled in children and adolescent in the past 30 years. Over one third of our children are already obese or overweight. This is a health disaster in the making.
When I was a kid, I had to pass President Kennedy’s youth fitness test and got PE every day. Every one was thin. I enjoyed running and riding my bike around Nashville where I grew up. In college and later in life, I ran, was on the fencing team, lifted weights and focused on eating healthy foods. I taught my daughter these values and she exercises before or after work almost every day. We’re going to a spin class on Sunday morning. On a trip to Colorado this past week, I loved riding a bike and hiking in the mountains.
The C.A.L. F. program is wonderful
We have to stop our obesity epidemic from continuing to spiral. C.A.L.F. is an effective strategy to do this here in the DFW area. It’s a great way to enhance our future by promoting physical fitness and nutrition, distributing running shoes, pedometers and training logs, and paying for thousands of kids to run and have fun.
I have served on the council that oversees Children’s Activities for Life & Fitness (C.A.L.F.) since it was formed in 2009. The program was named the top children’s running activity in the U.S. several years ago. Over 5,000 students from 85 schools are awarded grants to enable them to participate in the 5K race. I go to watch my adopted school children and to run in the adult race. It’s a great day for our kids — and for us.