Project Fit America is a charity that works alongside educators to create opportunities for kids to stay active and healthy. It offers fitness grants and programs to help fund resources such as equipment, teacher training and curriculum. The goal is not only to get students involved physically, but also nurture an environment in which children enjoy living a healthy lifestyle. For the past five years at Homer-Center Elementary, in Homer City, Pennsylvania, that opportunity to stay active has been the Lub Dub Run Club.
Scott Bauer, a physical education teacher at Homer-Center Elementary, was one of the first to introduce Lub Dub to students and integrate it across all ages. For 20 minutes a day,
up to four times per week, children in kindergarten through sixth grade are welcome to run laps in the gym before school. Anywhere between 25 and 70 students show up with pep in their step for Lub Dub each morning.
Bauer requires that students jog throughout the duration, and while some do the bare minimum, others run for the entire 20 minutes. As long as they’re moving, kids are free to talk with their friends.
The integration of students throughout the elementary school makes Bauer hopeful that the older students will inter- act with and encourage their younger classmates.
In order to get more kids interested, Bauer implemented a token system into the club. For every mile they run, students receive a foot token. These tiny trinkets incentivize kids
to keep running and collecting during their time at the club. Each month, Lub Dub holds a special run, with the chance to grab a token specific to that event — for example, heart tokens for the Valentine’s run or Christmas tree tokens for the winter run. They’ve become particularly popular among students, spreading like wildfire in recent months, Bauer says. Kids really love their collectables, and the Lub Dub token system
is the perfect motivation to keep them invested in running, he adds.
While the tokens provide a nice boost for the kids, the real goal of Lub Dub is to help them form healthy habits. The club is Bauer's his way of fighting child- hood obesity and physical stagnation. Today, more than ever, some children are not getting much physical activity outside of PE or recess.
Running each morning, even just a light jog, is beneficial to their developing bodies and minds. Studies show the ability to learn is increased after 10 to 15 minutes of physical activity. Of course, student safety takes priority, so Bauer urges his kids to eat breakfast before they come to Lub Dub each day. A hearty meal and a light run are a great way to start each morning, he notes.