JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- Several Sailors assigned to Naval Station (NS) Mayport volunteered at San Pablo Elementary School in Jacksonville, Fla., to help young students with their Presidential Fitness Training Test, March 15.
The President's Challenge helps people of all ages and abilities increase their physical activity and improve their fitness through research-based information, easy to use tools and some friendly motivation.
"It's important for us to get out here and promote fitness to these kids and for these kids to learn a healthy lifestyle," said Electronic's Technician 1st Class Claude Troullier, assigned to Air Operations Department. "Obesity is on the rise and we need to change the way the kids think. If these kids stay active, it will do wonders for their self esteem and they will feel better about themselves."
San Pablo Elementary is a Health and Fitness Magnet school. Health and Fitness Magnet schools provide opportunities for academic excellence through an enriched and integrated curriculum with an emphasis placed on health and fitness.
Presidential Fitness tests recognize students for their level of physical fitness in five activities. Those activities include curl-ups, shuttle run, endurance run/walk, pull-ups (or right angle push-ups or flexed-arm hang) and v-sit reach. More than 100 students, ranging from third to fifth-grade, participated in different physical fitness tests.
"There is a lot of laughter and good times during this competition because these kids are competing with their friends and are trying their best to top each other," stated John Stringfellow, San Pablo Elementary School physical education teacher. "They enjoy when the Navy people come out because they want to impress them. The kids set goals and enjoy seeing improvements in their tests."
Stringfellow went on the say he feels that the children who set goals now will only develop a good habit of achieving those goals in the future.
Dressed in their physical training uniforms, the NS Mayport Sailors encouraged and motivated the young children to excel during the competition; cheering them on to achieve one more pull up, or squeeze out one more sit up.
"Being involved with these students and being involved in the community is such a big deal for us," explained Troullier. "These kids look forward to seeing us because the Navy has such a good image. They remember our faces and can't wait to communicate with us again."
Stringfellow also agreed about the kids enjoying having the Navy present during the competition.
"A lot of these kids are not getting out after school and are not as active as they should be. Having the Navy come out is tremendous help and I know the kids enjoy having them out here and are also motivated by them. I can also tell the Navy Sailors truly enjoy helping us out as well," exclaimed Stringfellow.
For more news from Navy Public Affairs Support Element Detachment Southeast, visit www.navy.mil/local/nasjax/