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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center

"Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command"

Twentynine Palms, California
Healthy Base Initiative supports base-wide healthy lifestyle campaign

By Cpl. Charles Santamaria | Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center | April 02, 2014

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James Burke, director, Youth Sports, Marine Corps Community Services, joins the participants in a warm-up run during the Homeschool Physical Education Program’s weekly class at Desert Winds Golf Course, April 1, 2014. Burke taught golf safety and technique during the class.

James Burke, director, Youth Sports, Marine Corps Community Services, joins the participants in a warm-up run during the Homeschool Physical Education Program’s weekly class at Desert Winds Golf Course, April 1, 2014. Burke taught golf safety and technique during the class. (Photo by Cpl. Charles Santamaria)


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Amanda Knutson, 9, daughter of Lt. Col. John Knutson, officer in charge faculty advisor, Team 1, Marine Corps Tactics and Operations Group, putts a golf ball during the Homeschool Physical Education Program, April 1, 2014. The event was hosted by Marine Corps Commununity Services, Semper Fit and features a new sport for children to learn every month.

Amanda Knutson, 9, daughter of Lt. Col. John Knutson, officer in charge faculty advisor, Team 1, Marine Corps Tactics and Operations Group, putts a golf ball during the Homeschool Physical Education Program, April 1, 2014. The event was hosted by Marine Corps Commununity Services, Semper Fit and features a new sport for children to learn every month. (Photo by Cpl. Charles Santamaria)


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Felicia Crosson, instructor, Semper Fit, Marine Corps Community Services, teaches Eammah Landers, 5, daughter of Sgt. Matthew Landers, billet designator, Headquarters Battalion, about the importance of knowing how soft to hit a golf ball during the Homeschool Physical Education Program hosted by Marine Corps Community Services, at Desert Winds Golf Course, April 1, 2014.

Felicia Crosson, instructor, Semper Fit, Marine Corps Community Services, teaches Eammah Landers, 5, daughter of Sgt. Matthew Landers, billet designator, Headquarters Battalion, about the importance of knowing how soft to hit a golf ball during the Homeschool Physical Education Program hosted by Marine Corps Community Services, at Desert Winds Golf Course, April 1, 2014. (Photo by Cpl. Charles Santamaria)


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James Burke, director, Youth Sports, Marine Corps Community Services, instructs a group of three children on how to properly align with the hole when golfing during the Homeschool Physical Education Program hosted by Marine Corps Community Services, at Desert Winds Golf Course, April 1, 2014.

James Burke, director, Youth Sports, Marine Corps Community Services, instructs a group of three children on how to properly align with the hole when golfing during the Homeschool Physical Education Program hosted by Marine Corps Community Services, at Desert Winds Golf Course, April 1, 2014. (Photo by Cpl. Charles Santamaria)


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Nick Perez, 10, and Matthew Perez, 11, sons of Ret. Gunnery Sgt. Timothy Perez, execute warm-up exercises during the Homeschool Physical Education Program’s weekly class at Desert Winds Golf Course, April 1, 2014. Marine Corps Community Services, Semper Fit, began the class with dynamic workouts for the participants.

Nick Perez, 10, and Matthew Perez, 11, sons of Ret. Gunnery Sgt. Timothy Perez, execute warm-up exercises during the Homeschool Physical Education Program’s weekly class at Desert Winds Golf Course, April 1, 2014. Marine Corps Community Services, Semper Fit, began the class with dynamic workouts for the participants. (Photo by Cpl. Charles Santamaria)


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James Burke, director, Youth Sports, Marine Corps Community Services, walks with children during during the Homeschool Physical Education Program hosted by Marine Corps Community Services, at Desert Winds Golf Course, April 1, 2014. The participants were performing skips as a warm-up exercise before the golfing class began.

James Burke, director, Youth Sports, Marine Corps Community Services, walks with children during during the Homeschool Physical Education Program hosted by Marine Corps Community Services, at Desert Winds Golf Course, April 1, 2014. The participants were performing skips as a warm-up exercise before the golfing class began. (Photo by Cpl. Charles Santamaria)


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James Burke, director, Youth Sports, Marine Corps Community Services, teaches Christopher Perez, 6, son of (Ret.) Gunnery Sgt. Timothy Perez, about the proper form of a golf swing during the Homeschool Physical Education Program hosted by Marine Corps Community Services, at Desert Winds Golf Course, April 1, 2014.

James Burke, director, Youth Sports, Marine Corps Community Services, teaches Christopher Perez, 6, son of (Ret.) Gunnery Sgt. Timothy Perez, about the proper form of a golf swing during the Homeschool Physical Education Program hosted by Marine Corps Community Services, at Desert Winds Golf Course, April 1, 2014. (Photo by Cpl. Charles Santamaria)


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Chuck Mastropaolo, manager, Desert Winds Golf Course, teaches Christopher Perez, 6, son of (Ret.) Gunnery Sgt. Timothy Perez, the proper technique of gripping a golf club during the Homeschool Physical Education Program hosted by Marine Corps Community Services, at Desert Winds Golf Course, April 1, 2014.

Chuck Mastropaolo, manager, Desert Winds Golf Course, teaches Christopher Perez, 6, son of (Ret.) Gunnery Sgt. Timothy Perez, the proper technique of gripping a golf club during the Homeschool Physical Education Program hosted by Marine Corps Community Services, at Desert Winds Golf Course, April 1, 2014. (Photo by Cpl. Charles Santamaria)


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Chuck Mastropaolo, manager, Desert Winds Golf Course, teaches children about the fundamentals of golf during the Homeschool Physical Education Program hosted by Marine Corps Community Services, at Desert Winds Golf Course, April 1, 2014. The program is for children to learn a different sport every month and promote an active lifestyle.

Chuck Mastropaolo, manager, Desert Winds Golf Course, teaches children about the fundamentals of golf during the Homeschool Physical Education Program hosted by Marine Corps Community Services, at Desert Winds Golf Course, April 1, 2014. The program is for children to learn a different sport every month and promote an active lifestyle. (Photo by Cpl. Charles Santamaria)


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MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- “The Healthy Base Initiative is an effort to increase health and wellness across the installation through education, activity and assessment,” said Brad Brimhall, director, Semper Fit, MCCS.

MCCS’ Semper Fit division is supporting the initiative by implementing more youth sports, fitness testing and fitness based activities for families aboard the base. One such program is the Homeschool Physical Education Program which hosts a weekly class for children aboard the Combat Center who receive home schooling.

“The physical education program we started begins with a warm-up exercise then lets kids experience a different sport every month with one class a week,” said James Burke, youth sports director, MCCS. “The class actually brings coaches, who are familiar with the sport, teach the fundamentals, and at the end of the month, we move to another sport.”

These new programs give children an opportunity to experience sports like rock climbing and golf. As the program progresses, more elements will be added. This includes classes on nutrition and setting goals.

“It’s great to see my boys excited to participate every week,” said (Ret.) Gunnery Sgt. Timothy Perez. “The program breaks up the normal routine and exposes them to many different sports which give a lot of opportunities to find something else they may like. It also builds family structure because they get to interact with other children and it teaches them about healthy living which sets them up for success.”

Other programs like Tobacco Cessation and HITT also promote healthy lifestyles by educating service members on tobacco use and exercise. The Healthy Base Initiative will be introducing several programs to promote a healthy lifestyle for not just children but the whole family.

“The initiative is to encourage healthier choices in everything from diets to the way units exercise and educate themselves on nutrition,” Brimhall said. “I would like to see more units use the HITT program which not only provides workout programs similar to those used by professional athletes but classes that inform participants on proper technique and workout routines.”

Fitness tests will begin in on-base youth sports programs to gauge the impact they have on the youth. In basketball, soccer and football youth leagues, Approximately 435 children from the ages of six to 10 have participated in fitness tests. At the end of each season, the participants will conduct the same test to see how they have improved.

“It’s good that this initiative is encouraging healthy choices starting from the youth all the way to the parents and service members,” Burke said. “I’m looking forward to seeing even more improvement and support for the initiative and its goal to make a healthier base.”

Albeit the Healthy Base initiative has already began, MCCS is always finding way to spread the word of healthy living and will continue to improve facilities and programs to support health and wellness.

“The goal is to give service members and their families the tools and the opportunities to make healthy decisions,” Brimhall said. “If world-class athletes can have top-of-the-line programs, facilities and equipment, why can’t the service members who defend our nation have the same.”
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