By Fort Campbell CourierJanuary 20, 2011
New Year's resolutions are often put into motion the moment we sing the last lyric of "Auld Lang Syne."
However, living within our hectic schedules proves that the road to lose 20 extra pounds is simply paved with good intentions.
To help combat this conundrum, President Barack Obama, an active Commander-in-Chief himself, created a wellness program and issued a challenge to all Americans to get healthy.
This challenge has been particularly noted within the Department of Defense and branded the "Civilian Wellness Program."
Upon the operation order from Obama to all DOD employees to get healthy, Installation Management Command Commander, Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, wasted no time passing down his own orders to IMCOM civilians.
"IMCOM employees are the human backbone of this command, responsible for the success of its enduring missions," said Lynch. "This command must never fall short of its primary mission to provide Soldiers with a quality of life commensurate with their quality of service."
Lynch also added that by promoting healthier lifestyles, he is convinced that it will enhance morale, increase productivity, increase loyalty, reduce medical costs, increase performance, reduce sick leave and increase both job and life satisfaction.
Fort Campbell employees are taking the challenge seriously.
"The employees who participate get one hour three days a week to exercise," said Sharon Shaw, Fort Campbell fitness coordinator. "It has to be approved through their supervisor, however."
In a nutshell, DOD employees get three hours of paid administrative leave per week for six months to get themselves into shape.
Shaw made it clear that this was not a "carte blanche" program.
"We have to do pre and post assessments on the employee," she added.
Shaw said the assessments consist of checking the employee's resting heart rate, blood pressure, weight, body composition test, cardio test, strength test and a flexibility test.
"After we get their results, we create a cardiovascular prescription for them. Then, we'll let them know where they need training," said Shaw. "We also create a strength and flexibility training program for them, too."
There does seem to be one small positive glitch in the system, however.
"It's really popular and sometimes supervisors can't let a certain person go," said Shaw. "We just tell them to get in line and maybe you can take turns within the environment of your workplace. Obviously, everybody can't be released at the same time."
The Civilian Wellness Program operates year round with an open enrollment.
The website that will walk every interested civilian through the enrollment process is www.scribd.com/doc/38535747/IMCOM-Civilian-Wellness-Program-Packet.
Once an employee has downloaded their packet and fully enrolled, they can then keep up with their progress through Army Knowledge Online.
Within AKO, there is a Civilian Global Assessment Tool under Comprehensive Soldier Fitness that can be found at www.us.army.mil/suite/page/637137.
"Once they get the paperwork filled out they can forward it to me via e-mail, then we can set up an appointment to begin their assessments," said Shaw.
Shaw's e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once the employee is enrolled and their assessments have been completed and they are ready to start exercising there is a required commitment from them in return.
"It's a six month commitment. Sometimes, the employee might not be able to commit to the full 78 hours," said Shaw. "It's not reimbursed if they go on leave or they become sick. It's a one-time grant for now."
According to Shaw, having employees not fulfill their commitment isn't a problem. Most people beg for more, in fact.
"We have people coming in trying to request additional time because they enjoy it so much," she said. "It helps them with their job performance and the release of stress."
Shaw said that Freedom Fighters, Gerscht and Lozada Fitness Centers are free to all employees in the program. Estep Wellness Center is not, however, and requires a fee to attend.
Shaw has high hopes for the Civilian Wellness Program at Fort Campbell in the future.
"Wouldn't it be nice to have all of the civilians to be able to participate'" she said.
Editor's Note: Megan Locke, Courier staff, contributed to this report.