I am from Hermitage, Pennsylvania on the border of Ohio. I started the club 5 years ago with 8 students.We called the club "TheFlying Hornets"( the hornet is our school mascot). The club started with a modest goal to simply do a local 5-K The Gobble Wobble on Thanksgiving Day. I chose this event because I had run it many times and every year many people come back to visit friends and family and run this particular race. It always seemed like a homecoming race.That year we took home 6 medals. The race has had as few as 150 to this past year over 900 runners, with 53 registered as Flying Hornets, not including many of the other parents and family members that registered race morning. In the club's very short run of 5 years it continues to grow by leaps and bounds. There are many good things that have come from this club for my students and their families.
KR: How has your club changed over the years?
Over the 5 years The Flying Hornets has evolved into a family/ community club. Brothers and sisters have joined after their brothers and sisters were a part of the club. Other family members as well have become involved with our Flying Hornets, whether joining us for a run or attending one of our seminars. What started out as a running club to train for a race has grown into an organization of students, parents, family and community members excited about the health and fitness of our community. It has become an opportunity for high school juniors and seniors to earn community service hours for their school projects. We have organized nutritional seminars for our community, performed community service, like park clean-ups and promoting other local fitness and running events. We are now creating a Web site for our runners and community where they can find training schedules, event calendars, training and health tips, and links to related subjects for the whole family. I am always searching for ways to grow. The sky is the limit.
KR: How do you accommodate individual differences in kids' running goals and abilities?
JIM BOYD: We have such a great variety of runners it would seem like a tough task but our training facility allows us to train together. I encourage team building through our warm-ups and activities. I think I concern myself with the similarities we share as runners not so much the differences. All abilities are welcome and encouraged to do the best they can. Some runners come out with the drive to become a racer, others to enjoy the social aspect of being involved in the club. They are all welcomed. What ever reason they come out, they came out. They aren't laying around at home doing nothing. I tell my kids every day, "You could have stayed home this morning but you didn't, you decided to do something to challenge yourself to make yourself stronger and better than you were yesterday." I think the thing that always amazes me is who comes out. You never know. It isn't always the superstar, sometimes it's a diamond in the rough finding something out about themselves they or I didn't know they had inside them. Those are rewarding moments when someone you never expect does the unexpected.
KR: What's the age range of your little runners?
JIM BOYD: My youngest runner was 5 years old. She took home a first place medal at her first 5-K for being the youngest and her time wasn't bad either 33min. She (Haley) is also my daughter. We have had several 5 and 6 year olds run with us since then. We even had a 4 year old....in a stroller. I'm not sure that counts. The nice thing is the wide variety of ages we have from the very young to the moms and dads and other family members that join us no matter their age our goal is the same. We encourage family fitness and to do the best we can.
KR: How do you encourage overall fitness?
JIM BOYD: I am a physical education teacher, former high school runner, former nationally competitive bodybuilder, and now a fitness enthusiast. I am always setting new goals for myself physically and mentally. I share those goals with my students and children. I encourage them to do the same, to challenge themselves. They know I am out there with them. I set the bar high and they never let me down. We go out to train in all weather rainy, cold, muddy, nasty days and they always come back the next day readt to go. They don't whine. My kids know what I expect and they do it. Sometimes I can't believe they don't whine. All of our training is preceeded by exercises, games, stretches, and drills to improve our overall fitness level not just our ability to run. As a Physical Education teacher I also really encourage playing as my students main exercise, that is thier homework for me every night.
KR: What's the percentage of male/female? Have you seen change in this ratio over the years?
Jim Boyd: Our club is pretty evenly split boys and girls. As we have grown our club has remianed at almost 50% girls and 50% boys it may be a bit higher or lower year to year but it is really close.
KR: What advice would you have for other P.E. teachers who want to start similar clubs?
JIM BOYD: The advice I have for others is pretty cliche. Just do it! If you really have a passion for a particular sport, activity, what ever, it is so easy to sell it to others when you believe in it. Fitness changed my life, who I am and what I am doing now. I wanted to share it with everyone so they could feel what I did. You always wonder if anyone will come when you start something new. Every year I come into school I wonder if any one will ask about joining the Flying Hornets and before I can get to my door somebody says when is Flying Hornets starting. Every year we have grown bigger and better. It is not only rewarding but suprising how supportive staff, administrators, family, and community members are when they see the positive affects it has on our children.
KR: What're your kids' favorite running games?
JIM BOYD: My kids favorite running games, I would say just running but I'm sure they would tell me different. They enjoy speed days when they are racing one another. They enjoy a running, tagging game called "gag-a-ball"and a good game of "cardio-kickball".
We meet two days a week, Tues. and Thurs. Our before school program begins in the gymnasium and we train in our back lot. Saturdays we meet at Buhl Park it is kind of the center of our community we usually meet at 8:30 am. We try to avoid conflict with any other events going on over the weekends.
Gag a ball is an Israeli game meaning " to stike" You have several foam balls and everyone is on their own the idea is to avoid being struck with a ball. Students are not allowed to pick up the ball, the ball must be moved by pushing it across the floor. They can strike the ball with an open hand or fist to try to strike a player waist or below. If a player is struck they are out momentarily. If a student moving the ball hits themself with the ball they are out.Rounds last about 3 min. and everybody is back in.
Cardio kickball is also called "watchamacallit" A pitcher rolls the ball, the kicker kicks the ball. The kicker runs to each base where there is an activity they must complete before moving to the next base (jump rope, sit-up, push-up,etc..) The fielding team fields the ball and throws the ball to a first base person and there is a second first base person who performs the same activity as the kicker. After the fielding person doing the activity is done doing the number of repetitions given for each activity the ball is then thrown to the next base. The kicker must complete all the tasks before the fielding team does to score points. If the fielding team finishes first the kicker is out. Everyone gets one out before changing sides. You can use many types of exercises for this game.
See how they've grown! Year 2002