I’ll be the first to admit it…I didn’t like to run, just wasn’t fun to me. I did it because it was a requirement for me to pass my PT test if I wanted to stay in the Air Force…pretty good motivation to go out and run. Then along came Chief Amo…he was all about fitness and all about some fun…the fun part I liked. He decided to start a “Chief’s Fitness Friday”…it was how we were going to end our week at around 3:00 every Friday. Didn’t start out so hot…4 people showed up, they were Flight Chiefs…so they kind of had to show up. We ran a couple of miles as a group and called it a day. In our group huddle afterwards, Chief “encouraged” everyone to bring at least one person with them next week…that’s where the fun began.
I think the next week we played Ultimate Frisbee and we had ~10 people…I’ll admit, I enjoyed that more than plain running. As the weeks went on Chief and I started to make up games…there was an Ultimate everything…football, soccer, basketball, kickball. We even grew to having an “Ultimate Race” competition. Participation grew too…it started with mostly athletes showing up…but we wanted folks that needed some help with fitness out there too…so we got them out there. It got to a point where we had to have 2 sports going at the same time on Fridays.
In the midst of all this “fun” he was also doing something nobody else realized. Camaraderie within the unit was improving. He was tasking a young Airman to be in charge of coordinating reserving the fields, getting the cones, jerseys and balls, having someone explain the rules…teaching them responsibility and leadership. For those who didn’t like running…they were out there running their tails off, sweating a ton…and not even realizing how much they were improving their fitness and stamina…all while having a little fun.
Don’t be afraid to get creative, don’t be afraid to have fun and don’t be afraid to “encourage” a little participation. That 1 hour out of the week we were more productive than every other unit at 3:00 on Friday afternoon. Thanks Chief Amo for the lessons you taught us!