Despite kids getting wiggly in their seats as summer vacation neared, some Charlotte area schools, students and their families have learned a little more about getting fit and how fun it can be, thanks to partnerships and an event organized and sponsored by Superior Fitness.
A city-wide family fitness event at the city's science museum May 17 attracted more than 300 parents and their kids and offered activities at various interactive stations, including exergames and training ideas using other equipment.
"The purpose of the event was to expose families to activities that are fun and can be shared by parents and kids," said Judy Griffin, sales and marketing director for Superior and event organizer.
Not only was the day free for everybody who wanted to come, but fitness equipment companies stepped up with equipment for the event that then became part of activity centers for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
The partnership goes beyond the one-day event, however. It all began in late winter when Superior's owner Paul Harwood and its commercial rep Gina Josey met with Deb Kaclik, who is health and P.E. curriculum director for the 167-school district. A discussion about equipment and the need for well-equipped workout rooms in middle and high schools led them into a brainstorm about how to get more and better equipment that was well-suited for kids, but without spending a lot of money since the schools didn't have it.
Harwood used his industry connections to get 15 X-Bikes from Trixter at a special price to donate to the schools, and Kaclik arranged to have a workout room with the bikes set up at a high school that has more underprivileged attendees as well as at an area alternative high school. Students are even leading their own classes after being trained by Trixter and Superior, Griffin said.
"We wanted to hit a broad range of students that normally might not get exposed to things like this," Griffin said. "In addition to the physical activity applications, this can be used for other subjects like math, reading and leadership. Students learn about heart rate, how it affects training, how to chart it, what the numbers mean, etc. They even take turns leading the group on the bikes. A side benefit is that the faculty at these schools have a place to workout before and after school, if they so choose."
Kaclik said with tight budgets it can be very difficult to get various types of equipment for schools. The bikes have spurred all kinds of interest, she said.
"The beauty is, you can mold the program to whatever the needs are of the students," Kaclik said. "We don't have a blanket curriculum district-wide so this can fit the needs of each school."
At the alternative school, where kids go as a last chance to make it through high school, she said interest has been stimulated and they are going to use the bikes, the program and heart-rate monitors to teach the kids about personal training as a possible job opportunity.
"They can see there are other jobs and avenues in the fitness area that don't require a degree" or just need certifications or an associate degree, she explained. Plus, she said, as a part of training, the students will likely "train" staff as a part of the district's staff wellness program too.
Not only do the schools benefit by also creating community awareness of the value of P.E. in schools and of fitness in general, but Superior benefits by raising awareness of the business and its website and suppliers. Plus, participants in the fitness day registered at the Superior website, where they also saw what the business offered, giving it additional community exposure. Griffin said her company has been giving away equipment on its website every month for two years, so in keeping with the family event, May's prize was a family package, with donations from suppliers such as Spri, SportBeat and Hampton.
"It is very important to us that folks get active," Griffin said. "Getting involved with the schools in Charlotte is just an extension of that belief."
Kaclik, who only started as health and P.E. director less than a year ago, said it was vital to her that the event be family-oriented since she's seen fitness rub off both ways.
"Kids buy in if their parents are involved," she said, "but it works the opposite way too."
To see a slide show of the event, click here.
SNEWS® View: What a great way to really get involved with the community and become more than just a store. We know others are doing similar things, but it's great to see more than a one-time event, but rather the development of a true partnership. We've written in the past about the growing importance of "cause" or "passion" marketing -- doing something that creates an emotional tie to a customer base rather than just ads -- and this is exactly that.