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Track program helps children stay healthy

Youth from the Travis Flyers learn the importance of staying fit during practice March 16. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Michael Battles)

Youth from the Travis Flyers learn the importance of staying fit during practice March 16. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Michael Battles)

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE,Calif -- The Travis Flyers' track program encourages children and young adults to maintain a healthy lifestyle through using running as a method of developing the young body.

Helping develop the young athletes is Richard Burke, a U.S.A Track and Field endurance coach, who is dedicated to achieving great results from his athletes as long as they have fun doing it.

"The program gives the children a positive outlook on life, fitness, confidence and helps build self-esteem," said Master Sgt. Marcy Thomas, 349th Wing Operations Center, a parent. "Coach Burke encourages our children to socialize, eat well and shows them ways to stay fit."

It gives the kids a chance to stay fit, as well as visit other areas in Northern California, said Mr. Burke. The athletes usually compete once a month in events against as many as 250 other youth.

The program promotes a balance of the mind, body and spirit to allow youth to achieve the highest potential.

Mr. Burke's passion and more than 10 years of experience allows him to design individual programs for athletes to improve performance, provide proper motivation, nutrition management and injury avoidance.

"If America is to be strong, we need our youth to be both healthy and well educated," said Mr. Burke. "The world is becoming very competitive and we need people to step up to the plate and teach our children the merits of everything from proper diet and nutrition, the importance of education and of course athletics."

A good portion of Mr. Burke's experience comes from training youth and adults in the United States Special Olympics Organization, which many of his athletes brought home gold and silver in many events.

"It's a great program for youths," said assistant coach Tech. Sgt Wayne Lewen, 60 Maintenance Operations Squadron crew chief instructor. "If we can teach them health and fitness early, it will stay with them for life."

Boys and girls ages 5 to 12 meet every Tuesday and Thursdays from 5 to 6:15 p.m. at the Travis Fitness Center running track.

Young adults ages 13 to 17 meet every Tuesday and Thursday from 5:15 to 6:30 p.m. at the Travis Fitness Center running track.

Single membership for youth children is $30 per month. Membership for young adults is $35 per month. A monthly membership for two or more family members, including parents, is available for $59 per month.

The program is always in need of volunteers who are willing to donate their time twice a week. The program is a way to serve the community and inspire children with hands-on mentorship, said Sergeant Thomas.

The Travis Flyers is a sanctioned U.S.A track and field youth track club.

For more information on joining the Travis Flyers, contact Mr. Burke at 451-9282, or visit www.justdoitrunning.com

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