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Governor's Advisory Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Awards Presented by Health
Date:11/13/2008

HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Schools, individuals and groups that have developed innovative ways to engage people in exercise received awards today from the Governor's Advisory Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Physical Activity, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

The award program honors local efforts to significantly increase physical activity in communities, workplaces or schools. The program recognizes up to seven award winners each year who receive a certificate and $2,000 to invest in their physical fitness program.

The award recipients for 2008 are:

-- Healthcheck F.R.I.E.N.D.S., Senior Wellness Center (Northampton County)

-- Mt. Pleasant Area School District (Westmoreland County)

-- Newport Elementary School (Perry County)

-- Seneca Valley Swim Club (Butler County)

-- Shamona Creek Elementary School (Chester County)

-- United Way of Lackawanna County (Lackawanna County)

-- Wilfred R. Cameron Wellness Center Staff (Washington County)

The Governor's Advisory Council on Physical Fitness and Sports was established through a 1997 Executive Order. The council's mission is to improve the quality of life for all Pennsylvanians by providing leadership that promotes physically active lifestyles and links families, communities, schools, worksites, health care and media.

The awards program is an initiative of the Governor's Advisory Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Individuals or groups submit nominations to the Department of Health each year and award determinations are made by the council during public meetings. To learn more about this initiative, visit http://www.health.state.pa.us.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Award recipient program details are listed below:

Healthcheck F.R.I.E.N.D.S., Healthcheck Senior Wellness Center

F.R.I.E.N.D.S. (Fun, Relaxing, Invigorating, Exercise, Needs, Determined, Seniors) is a cross-training program in which seniors work out with weights, resistance bands, low-impact aerobics, stretching and calisthenics. Twice-weekly classes are led by a peer who is 84. The median age of participants is 82. Many participants are referred to this program upon discharge from physical therapy.

Mt. Pleasant Area School District

Mt. Pleasant Area Junior High offers an interactive virtual reality exercise center using video consoles that interface with various types of exercise equipment. All students exercise vigorously for 20 - 30 minutes. Mt. Pleasant Area plans to expand the concept for use in its high school.

Newport Elementary School - Stew Kirk

Stew Kirk, the physical education teacher at Newport Elementary School, started a morning walking program for 4th through 6th graders that he nicknamed, "No Child Left on Their Behind." Many students used to arrive to school early and sit in the halls waiting for classes to start. Kirk encouraged the students to use this free time to walk on a track adjacent to the school. He offers a small token or prize for miles logged and has created a "50 Mile Club."

Seneca Valley Swim Club (SVSC)

The Seneca Valley Swim Club offers an ongoing Learn to Swim program for children. They are responding to parents' requests for swim lessons for children with special physical and emotional needs. The club will be the only club in its immediate area to offer adapted group instruction with the teacher/student ratio required to accommodate swimmers with special needs.

Shamona Creek Elementary School

The Shamona Creek Elementary School started a Healthy Active Living (HAL) waiver program. Parents sign a waiver attesting their children participated in more than eight hours of physical activity with an outside organization during each marking period. Community organizations that promote fitness are publicized school wide. They also promote IRONKID, a team triathlon that includes swimming, running, and biking.

United Way of Lackawanna County

The United Way of Lackawanna County leads "Healthy Futures," which helps children become more physically active while learning how to make better nutritional choices. The program aims for 60 minutes of daily physical activity. The group hopes to expand the program.

Wilfred R. Cameron Wellness Center Staff

The staff of the Wilfred R. Cameron Wellness Center works to address childhood obesity and substandard fitness levels through innovative physical activities and nutrition awareness. Offerings include rock climbing, swimming, yoga, circuit training, boot camp nutrition, and whole-family activities. Staff members are starting a new after-school program that will offer a nutritious snack, academic support time and structured physical activities.

CONTACT: Stacy Kriedeman

(717) 787-1783


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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health
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