Rotary Club Wants To Help Kids Shape Up

Wednesday, May 7th 2008, 6:26 pm
By: News On 6

Shaping up Tulsa's youth is the goal of the Tulsa Rotary Club's Fit Fest 2008.  It's a new event.  The News On 6's Steve Berg reports to give kids a better future, they're borrowing some favorite ideas from the past.

People in their 40's and 50's especially will remember the President's Physical Fitness Tests:  push-ups, pull-ups, the shuttle run, and others.  Well, they're bringing them back for a city-wide event.

Some kids don't need any encouragement to keep moving.  But, that's not always the case, at least not according to the studies that Tulsa Rotarians Steve Curley and Jim Hopkins see.

"It seems like every time we read one of those stories, Oklahoma was one of the worst five states in darn near any statistic you wanted to look at," said Steve Curley.

The Rotary Club came up with Fit Fest 2008, based on the time-tested events from the old President's Council on Physical Fitness from the 50's and 60's.  Believe it or not, they had the same anxiety about school kids' physical condition back then, too.  The program had what was probably its heyday under President Kennedy.

"Oh yeah, I remember doing them in elementary school.  I went to school in Bartlesville.  I grew up there and remember doing them at the gym in the elementary school," said Steve Curley.

The program has never gone away, but its popularity has ebbed and flowed over the years.  Curley thinks it can still get kids excited about exercising.  He says having a large event with the mayor and other officials handing out medals will make a lasting impression.

"Having that third person involved that says this is important, and we're proud of you for what you did today.  It's magic," said Steve Curley.

"I guess the governor signed a bill this week adding an hour to the amount of time they have for PE.  Obviously there's an awareness in the state of Oklahoma to get more involved in physical fitness for our youth," added Jim Hopkins.

They've extended the registration deadline for Fit Fest to May 16th.  The event itself is on May 31st.