In January, My Gym Enterprises (MGE), a leader in children’s fitness, launched a national initiative to find a winner for the My Gym Outstanding Contributor to Children’s Health & Fitness Award for 2012. The contest rules asked MGE Facebook and Twitter fans and followers to recommend a friend, co-worker, family member or other individual in their local community who was actively working to promote children’s health and fitness at a public or not-for-profit organization for consideration for the award.
The purpose of the contest was to recognize and encourage those who are contributing their efforts and their creativity to raising awareness about childhood obesity and the importance of getting kids moving. “One of our goals at My Gym is to always keep the focus on how important it is to keep kids active,” said Matthew Hendison, chief marketing and entertainment officer for My Gym Enterprises. “Childhood obesity is a real and growing problem, and this national contest was our way to shine a spotlight on people and programs that are helping to combat this crisis. We are always here at My Gym centers nationwide to offer parents fun and creative ways to incorporate physical activity into their family’s lifestyle, not just when they’re at a My Gym program, but every day.”
For the inaugural year of the contest, MGE selected a winner from the pool of nominees recommended by My Gym families and others nationwide. Patrick Baldocchi (known to his students as Coach P.J.) of the Lanai Road Public School in Encino, CA, is the recipient of the My Gym Outstanding Contributor to Children’s Health & Fitness Award for 2012. In accordance with the contest guidelines, he has recommended that the Lanai Road Public School be the recipient of the contest’s $1,000 donation of products and/or services from MGE.
“We congratulate Coach P.J. on being selected for this award,” said Hendison. “The entry submitted by a parent from his school district describing Coach P.J.’s dedication to his students and their families certainly confirms him as a deserving winner. But beyond that, this winning entry describes some creative and effective ideas that anyone interested in promoting health and fitness to young people should consider.”
- Design fitness programs that promote success for all, while challenging each child to do his or her best. For coach Baldocchi ‘s students, this takes the form of two 45-minutes P.E. classes each week, with one session conducted at the class level and one session at the grade level. Class level P.E. focuses on learning team games and specific sports or skills, and the grade level activities center on completing a relay course with different “stations.” This design allows coach P.J. to personalize the goals for each activity at the grade level to the abilities of the individual child.
- Build in both individual and group incentives to work toward fitness goals. The “morning laps” program at coach Baldocchi’s school awards individual students a ticket for each completed lap and also tracks participation rates by class. The three top performing individuals and the top performing class receive recognition each month.
- Use sports to develop leadership skills. To promote active play during recess time, coach Baldocchi trained older children as “play leaders” to lead games and model good sportsmanship to younger students during recess.
“We consider the inaugural year of the My Gym Outstanding Contributor to Children’s Health & Fitness Award competition to have been a complete success,” said Hendison. “Coach Baldocchi is truly an inspiration to all of us at MGE. We look forward to being inspired by the ideas of others like coach P.J. as our families and friends nominate their personal ‘health heroes’ for the award in years to come.”
Hendison presented the award to coach Baldocchi on April 25th at the Lanai Road Public School’s weekly Wednesday awards ceremony, which also recognized the current top performers in the “laps” fitness program that coach Baldocchi instituted at the school.
Established in 1983, My Gym is the #1-ranking fitness center destination for children, with 200 locations worldwide including international locations in Hong Kong, France and Brazil among other countries. More than 30 additional locations are planned to open worldwide in the next 12 months. My Gym combines innovative, early physical education/pre-gymnastics classes with state-of-the-art facilities to empower children – ages 6 weeks to 13 years – by helping them acquire the skills, confidence and positive self-image needed to become healthy young adults. My Gym’s award-winning, structured, noncompetitive and age-appropriate classes enhance children’s overall physical development through games, music, exercise, sports, gymnastics, puppets, special rides and fun. The children gain strength, balance, coordination, fine and gross motor proficiency, agility, flexibility and social skills. The My Gym television show, “My Gym At Home” airs on BabyFirstTV, a 24/7 commercial-free channel focusing on children’s development.
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