MILILANI, Hawaii - Soldiers from the 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade volunteered May 25 to support Mililani Uka Elementary School's 'Get moving, get fit!' program in Mililani, Hawaii.
The 'Get moving, get fit!' event has been one of Mililani Uka's favorite programs for over 15 years. The event is planned by faculty and includes 14 stations of fun challenges, obstacles or games to motivate the students to focus on fitness and leading a healthy lifestyle.
'Get moving, get fit!' is hosted by the school twice a year, and the 84th Engineer Battalion has volunteered to run stations and provide motivation for as long as the program has been in existence. This year, 25 Soldiers came out to support the event.
Spc. Mark Perchatsch from the 561st Engineer Construction Company (ECC), 84th Eng. Bn. began the day by leading warm up and stretching exercises for the students. With one of the faculty members playing uplifting music in the background, the Mililani Uka students yelled out in thunderous excitement while counting along with the stretches. They even asked to incorporate some of the Army's physical fitness routines.
The students then split into their respective classes to tackle the stations. 84th Eng. Bn. Soldiers enjoyed the energy that the students brought to each station.
"The sight that impressed me the most was how much the kids looked up to us as role models", Capt. Phillp Hom, commander of the 95th Clearance Company (CC), 84th Eng. Bn. said following the activities. "It was great to see some of my Soldiers fulfilling an active part in providing that mentorship that is so important in their lives".
The fitness events also focused on communication and teamwork. At one station, students had to work together to figure out how to move a foam ball with irregularly shaped objects without touching the ball with their hands.
"The kids look forward to this event more than any other. It is fantastic as a faculty member and parent to see the kids problem-solving as a team to complete challenges", said Ann Harrison-Nakata, the Parent Community Networking Coordinator at the school who assists in planning the bi-annual event. "They really love working with the Soldiers."
Following the event, 84th Eng. Bn. Soldiers joined the students in the school cafeteria for lunch. The opportunity to engage with students was a priceless experience for both parties.
"Working with the kids was a great experience; you could tell how appreciative they were and that makes volunteering worthwhile for me", said Perchatsch.
When asked about the significance and impact of the event, Perchatsch said "It was a great way for us to help the students in one of their last school days before summer vacation. We were able to show them some fun exercises and games that will encourage them to stay healthy over the break."
Mililani Uka Elementary School and the 84th Engineer Battalion share a rich relationship that has been fostered continuously over the last 15 years. Both organizations have many activities planned for the next school year and will continue to work together to make a positive impact on the students' lives.