By Jim Hughes, Fort Rucker Public AffairsAugust 30, 2019
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Fort Rucker youth now have a facility of their own to work out in as the post opened its first youth fitness center in the former The Commons building, Bldg. 8950, on 7th Avenue, Aug. 21.
About 100 people showed up at the facility's open house held to showcase its ability to meet two needs in the community, a place for youth to get some exercise on post, and also a place for parents and children to work out together, said Randy Tolison, youth sports and fitness director.
"It went fantastic -- very successful," Tolison said of the opening evening. "It was very exciting to see the faces on the children and parents -- they seemed really excited about this new program that we've got going on."
The center will be open Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 3:30-7 p.m. The center features aerobic machines, weights, functional fitness equipment and more, Tolison said. High-intensity interval training will also be offered courtesy of Taylor Jones, a functional fitness specialist at the center.
"She'll be in there all the time because that's her element -- her specialty," he said. "If youth want to focus or work on certain areas of their bodies, she'll be there to assist them. She can show them how to use the equipment in the proper way. She can work with them on a plan, if they want to develop a plan. She'll have different things on a dry erase board -- the workout of the day. Whatever they need help with, she'll be there to help them out."
Youth ages 8-18 who are child and youth services registered members can use the program for free, Tolison added. However, youth 8-11 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Youth ages 12-18 can work out on their own or with parents, but adults aren't allowed to use the facility on their own.
And the initial feedback is that Fort Youth Sports and Fitness is right on target with the needs of many in the community.
"We received a lot of compliments on it," Tolison said. "Several folks made a point of telling us they are so thankful for this because they can now work out with their children. That was something they'd been longing for, and it's neat that we can provide that for them."
While the positive feedback was great, seeing people actually putting the facility to good use really pumped the staff up, he added.
"The numbers were great and all, but just seeing the youth working on the equipment, whether pushing the sled or on the elliptical equipment, seeing their faces, hearing their laughter -- that was exciting," Tolison said. "And when most of them left, they were sweating. They don't get to use this type of equipment very often, so it's exciting for us to get to provide it for them."
Tolison said the goal of the center is to help young people get into a physically fit frame of mind.
"We want to encourage youth to develop their health and wellbeing -- that is important for us," he said. "We're not here to embarrass anyone. We're here to help you develop a future for yourself as far as being physically fit. We're here to encourage you, to help increase your confidence, your strength, your social skills -- those are things we can help develop and at the same time get you physically fit for later lifestyles. People have to start somewhere, so why not start here with us?"
For more on the center, call (334) 255-2254.