Studies show that more than one-third of U.S. children from 6 to 17 years are overweight. Nearly half of the young people between the ages of 12 and 21 do not participate in regular, vigorous exercise. School budgets have been cut and physical education has been reduced or eliminated.
Adults in the United States have one of the highest obesity rates in the world. Nearly one-third of U.S. adults twenty and older are obese, while about two-thirds are overweight according to the National Center for Health Statistics. We have become a nation of couch potatoes. The implications for our health care system are dire as many diseases are related to a sedentary lifestyle.
In an article in the journal "The Physician and Sports Medicine (Vol. 28, #2, Feb. 2000), Theodore Ganley, MD writes: "Regular exercise ... facilitates weight control, helps strengthen bones and can improve cardiovascular risk factors. An active childhood may also lay the groundwork for a lifetime of fitness."
The Match Play Charitable Trust ("MatchPlay"™) was established as a not for profit organization in 1998 by Jack Harrison. Its purpose is to promote physical fitness in children and families. Reducing obesity, increasing self-esteem, strengthening family bonds and fostering healthy lifestyles are the goals of the school-based program and the family fitness activities promoted through MatchPlay.
Harrison created a program that makes exercise fun for children and a companion program that offers opportunities for busy parents and other family members to support their children in healthy activities.
The principles underlying the School Fitness Program are that exercise should be fun and it should be competitive only within children and not between them. The philosophy is best described by a poem of unknown origin:
Butterfly in the Wind
A child is a butterfly in the wind.
Some can fly higher than others.
Each one flies the best it can.
Why compare one against another?
Each one is different
Each one is special.
Each one is beautiful
Those schools, individuals, sponsors or other interested parties who wish to start a School Fitness Program and a Family Fitness Program need to establish an Advisory Board for their geographic area. Cities and school districts may be combined to form an "area;" e.g. the greater Tucson area. Each area will own the equipment. The area will form an advisory board (see below).
Greater Tucson Area Advisory Board:
Chair: Tina Herman (520-240-4636) - 1985 Arizona Physical Education Teacher of the Year
1st Assistant: TBA
2nd Assistant: TBA
Potential sources for Advisory Board members include: retired physical education specialists, retired teachers, ex jocks, senior citizens, business employees, park and recreation employees, city and county employees, college PE majors, etc.
- approve equipment placement,
- complete the User Agreement and keeping a copy on file,
- instruct users on the operation of the equipment,
- collect progress reports from schools,
- forward each school's final reports to Match Play's home office with:
- School name, address, zip code, Principal's name
- Total number of students
- Total number of certificates issued
- monitor the use of the equipment and participation in the program.
- Appointed and serves at the pleasure of Match Play's Executive Board
- Authorized to sign User Agreements
- Appointed by the Advisory Board Chair
- Shall assume the duties of the Chair in his or her absence in the following order:
- 1st assistant
- 2nd assistant
Compensation for Board Members
- Mileage (amount per mile allowed per IRS)
- Phone calls
- Miscellaneous expenses. (All must be dated and approved by the board Chair and forwarded to Match Play's home office by email or mail.)
On or before July 31st of each year, an itemized accounting of fund expenditures by area will be posted on the website familygetfit.com by ("Match Play "™). Neither the members of the Area Advisory Boards nor the Match Play's Executive Board will receive any financial compensation.
- Jack Harrison, President
- Todd Flynn, Ph.D. Vice President
Jack Harrison, a long time children's health advocate graduated from the University of Denver with a BSBA degree in accounting. In 1962 he started Rebel Enterprises, a data processing service bureau, and a computer supply business in Salt Lake City, Utah. He sold the business in 1999 and now divides his time between Oro Valley, Arizona and Park City, Utah.
"I've sat and watched for too long as kids lose interest in sports. I would watch a hundred kids start a race and watch ten finish. The other ninety weren't among the best so they quit participating. The solution is to eliminate the unbalanced competition. Give them a program where they can't lose to anyone or beat anyone except themselves. Let them strive for personal improvement in an atmosphere where everyone else is doing the same. Give them the same instant gratification and rewards offered by a video game."
Todd Flynn, PhD: "As a licensed clinical psychologist in Arizona since 1978, I have evaluated or treated several thousand children and families. In almost all of these families, one or more family members have experienced some life stressor, which precipitated an emotional problem. Improved cardiovascular conditioning comes along with an increased resistance to the detrimental effects of stressful life events. This, in turn, increases the probability that the affected person(s) will handle the stress appropriately and effectively."
Toll-free phone: 1-877-819-5710