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USAFFitFamily website celebrates

Month of the
Military Child

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Public awareness on the health and well-being of the military service member and their families continues to populate the news media in 2011. Taking very seriously this movement, the USAF launched not only a website ( with a family-oriented approach to fitness, but also special initiatives 

Meet the Burns Family!
SSgt Phillip A. Burns serves as a firefighter at Kadena Air Base, Japan. The Burns’ family members include mom Tracie, Aaron (age 10) and Zahria (age 5). As with most families, carving time out to be together becomes quite a challenge for the Burns’, but their priority of experiencing activities together motivates them to find a way.

Kadena Air Base Youth Center offers great programs to keep kids involved.
While Aaron excels at basketball and Zahria enjoys gymnastics and hip hop dance at the Youth Center – Mom and Dad are close by cheering. Wanting their children to succeed is important for Tracie and Phillip, but their primary goal in keeping Aaron and Zahria active is to see they have fun. This way of life is not new to the adult Burnses. They were both raised by avid sports enthusiasts who encouraged physical activity making it very natural to follow the same pattern with their own children.

FitFamily plays an important role between parent and child!
Offering suggestions on activities to do together is just one of the reasons the Burns family likes the FitFamily website. “It’s almost like a ‘to do list’ with a tracker!” said Tracie. “USAF FitFamily helps our overall goal to be healthy by continuing to provide a place where we can log our activities and see our progress.” Biking and running are among their favorite activities to do as parent and child.

Month of the Military Child holds special meaning for the Givens Family!
Five daughters (four teenage and one ‘tween’) are the reason! Through the Youth (Teen) Center at Charleston AFB, S.C., the Givens girls will be participating in a tennis tournament, Military Child activities and the Destination Imagination Family Night this month. Active? Absolutely! Dad, LTC Howard Givens, MDOS/CC and mom Teresa share activities individually with the girls and collectively as a family whenever possible.

Physical Fitness is a lifelong commitment.
In order to spend time individually with their children, Howard and Teresa are motivated to learn new skills – that are of interest to their daughters. While most activities are from the ‘family fun’ category to include household chores, shopping, evening walks and trips to local tourist locations, the Givens are determined to make family memories that will last through deployments and teenagers leaving home for college. Each member of the family understands a healthy lifestyle isn’t just a fad or trend – it’s a way of life. Teresa suggests families can get started “by logging the activities you are currently doing as a family, then add a goal for the next week. Try a variety of activities and ask the children what activities they would like to do with a parent or as a family.”

The Givens girls give back!
If one family member is involved in a certain sport or activity, the rest of the family finds ways to support her efforts. For example, one daughter loves tennis. Dad is her practice partner and during tournaments, the rest of the family serves as line judges, snack crew and ball girls. They respect one another’s interest by showing support through involvement – a powerful reward in honor of the ‘Military Child’!

Anything outdoors interests the Clark family.
Favorite parent/child activities for dad TSgt Raymond Clark, 18 MXG Manning Manager/MOS Security Manager, Kadena AB, Japan, mom Rena, children Patrick (age 10) and Dominick (age 3) include bowling, swimming, exploring, walking, catch, trampoline, bike riding and skating – and it seems everything else they can manage outdoors. “We just love having fun together. Okinawa is beautiful and we feel we need to take full advantage of it while we can,” says Rena.

Active parents equate to active children.
It is the goal of Rena and Ray to teach their children about good nutrition and fitness while they are young so that it translates into healthy habits for them through adulthood. Their advice to other parents is to participate with their child by trying new things – the FitFamily site offers a wealth of ideas as well as the local community center, base magazines and papers.

The Clark boys love the Kadena AB Youth Center!
Celebrating the ‘Month of the Military Child’, Kadena AB Youth Center offered Patrick a host of activities during Spring Break – each day was a new adventure; ice-skating, hiking, snorkeling, tubing and jet-skiing plus stand-up paddle surfing!  And Dominick has been introduced early on to physical fitness through gymnastics.

Taking control of the family schedule helps the Bredlow Family.
“If you make being active as a family a top priority, you’ll see your schedule start opening up to new opportunities each and every day”, says Heidi Bredow, mom to 3 very active boys - Tyler 12, Trey 8 and Trygg 5. Major Bruce Bredlow, Battalion S3 (Operations Officer) of 1-1 ADA, Kadena AB, Japan and Heidi believe their home is a time to reconnect and recharge as a family, so spending time together is very important.

Setting attainable goals!
As a family the Bredlow’s participate in at least one activity each week plus see that the boys are active for at least sixty minutes each day. With the busy schedule of Major Bredlow and the individual sporting events of the boys, it is important that they set goals they can reach – anticipating this will establish a positive behavior for future goal-setting by the children. Once again, home to Okinawa’s Kadena AB, their favorite family activities include scuba diving, snorkeling and family roller slide racing.

Friendly competition sets the pace.
Heidi finds it difficult sitting still and seems to have passed this trait through to the boys, so motivation isn’t a problem for them. However, to spice up some of their activities, they’ve added a little family competition to boost everyone’s fitness levels like trampoline bounce competition, leaf raking contests, tree climbing races and Geocaching (modern day treasure hunting).

FitFamily salutes the military child and congratulates military parents!
Finding ways to stay fit with your child takes time – creating a life-long healthy model for your family is the reward. Join these families for a healthier 2011. The FitFamily website,, is continuously updated with new information designed to help families.  Visit the FitFamily site now and often –and help your family reach their fitness goals.  Get up, Get out and Get fit. Together!


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