Shaping America's Future®

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Fitness Finders, Inc. partnered with Doug Finley, founder of the Center for Children's Running, to identify activities that fit well with the Mileage Club philosophy of running for fun. The chosen fun fitness activities for kids are field tested, easy to organize and ideal for encouraging children. Fun & Fitness is full of simple, playful and effective running and walking activities that will meet the needs of the children at your school or agency. Chapters include:

  1. Mileage Club: The Basics - Fun & Fitness embraces the Mileage Club philosophy of encouraging youth to enjoy movement (running, jogging or walking) through positive, unique and enjoyable approaches.

  2. Good Form + Good Pacing = Good Times - Good "times" and good experiences in running are dependent on good form and good pacing. It's FUNdamental.

  3. Getting Started - These activities are perfect for children, regardless of age or fitness level. Each activity is easy to organize and guaranteed to be fun.

  4. Fun Run Relays - In this section we describe four relays ideal for children of all ages. Relays give children an opportunity to work together, to encourage each other and share in their success.

  5. Making EveryBODY a Winner - Simple ways of running your club that will get big results and provide kids with great memories for years to come. No one will be left out.

  6. Challenges - Healthy challenges create an atmosphere of fun for children. They foster a sense of ownership and offer an opportunity for children to experience success, both of which are central to getting children excited about getting fit and staying fit.

  7. First Friday Specials - Popular runs and walks that work best with assistance from one or more volunteers. With just a little help, these activities will be a breeze, and you can offer something that excites the students.

  8. Annual Events - Beyond all the good things that happen on the playground or during physical education class, Mileage Club offers even more excellent opportunities for students, their families and the school.

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Doug Finley has been coaching young runners for more than 40 years, both as a director of community parks and recreation and as a volunteer organizer of after-school and summer running programs for youth. He holds two degrees in physical education from Western Michigan University and in 2003 was inducted into WMU’s Alumni Honor Academy. During his career, Doug has held leadership positions in city and state government; overseen the implementation of a nationally recognized educational initiative for children; served on the adjunct faculty at Michigan State University; and directed Michigan’s Great Lakes State Games, an affiliate of the State Games of America.

Doug—himself a lifelong runner and fitness athlete—founded the Center for Children’s Running, an initiative committed to providing parents and coaches with the tools to build successful running programs for children. In conjunction with Nova Southeastern University in Florida, he initiated new research on children’s running. Throughout his career, he has created a network of high-profile coaches and runners from across the nation, many of whom contributed to this book. In addition to writing and coaching, Doug speaks to parents, coaches and physical educators at clinics and conferences on the topic of motivating children to be physically active. Doug and his wife live in Lansing, Michigan, where he is currently modeling a running program for children in urban schools.

Charlie Kuntzleman has authored more than 70 books and 150 articles on fitness and health and has served as a fitness consultant for Phillips Petroleum, Campbell’s Soup Company, Kraft Foods, Rodale Press, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the YMCA of the USA and YMCA Australia. He is a former president of National Fitness Leaders Association, a former board member of the American Council on Exercise and in 2008 was inducted into the National Fitness Hall of Fame.

Charlie was the co-founder, with his wife Beth, of Fitness Finders, Inc. For more than 40 years, he steered the company and its innovative approach to developing the body, mind and character of America’s youth. Under his guidance, Fitness Finders, Inc. has grown exponentially, and the company’s programs—headlined by Mileage Club®—now reach more than five million youngsters annually across the US and in 15 other countries. Charlie has also served as Adjunct Associate Professor of Kinesiology at the University of Michigan; Chair of Michigan’s Statewide Exemplary Physical Education Curriculum (EPEC); Chair of the Michigan Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health and Sports; and Chair of the Michigan Fitness Foundation. He helped to establish Michigan’s EPEC by conducting research on Michigan youths’ cardiovascular risk factors, overall fitness status, physical activity behaviors and motor skill acquisitions.