by Sean Glynn, Allamanda Elementary School, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
PHIT America is a national non-profit that is determined to provide programs to schools to get kids more active, healthy and in turn perform better academically and I fully align with their mission. In January of 2021, I applied for and was awarded the PHIT America AMPED Grant, which is valued at $4,000 and provides equipment, necklaces, running charms, and a three year membership to EZ Scan, which is a lap tracking app.
While using their AMPED Running program in the fall of 2021 and tweeting about it (and how it was motivating students to enjoy running!), they reached out to me because it turns out the founder, Jim Baugh, lives in nearby Jupiter, Florida. He wanted to come to Allamanda to film promotional videos for their YouTube channel to promote their programs AMPED, Play Golf, and Play Tennis nationwide. So in December 2021, they came with a camera crew and filmed for their three programs and it was such a fun experience.
I have continued to work closely with them over the years and use all three of the aforementioned programs and now their Play Pickleball program as well. Due to the fact that they value what I am doing at my school, my feedback, and how I am an advocate for their programs by speaking about PHIT America at my Palm Beach County physical education professional development days, they appointed me as a Champion Advisory Team Member.
They also sent me their first version of the “PHIT Zone” banner to pilot with my students and provide feedback on it to perfect it. It is a banner with different emotions on it and allows students to evaluate how they feel at the beginning of class and at the end, and the goal of it is to teach kids that physical activity can boost your mood in a positive way. Allamanda was the first school in Palm Beach County to be using PHIT America programs and now thanks to my advocacy and promotion of their programs there are at least eight schools in our district using AMPED and growing!
Testimonial of AMPED from my perspective
This school year is the third year that I have been using the PHIT America AMPED program with my after school running club. This is an easy program to incorporate because it allows me access to their EZ Scan app service where I can track the students’ laps and award them necklace charms based on certain milestones that they surpass. This is very fun and motivating for the students because they love pushing themselves and each other to break their personal bests and are improving their cardiovascular endurance at the same time. And as we know, healthier students perform better in the classroom!
Our running club has over eighty runners now (it’s grown in size each year) and I believe AMPED is a big reason for that! Consequently, as our team has grown, so have the number of miles that our school has logged. Our first year, the team ran over 800 miles, and our second year was 1,081! We use our running club as a way for students to participate in an after school club and feel belonging and success no matter what their ability level. The AMPED program also provides training for community races on the weekends that I promote to the families throughout the year. We average five races per year and have a turnout of 10 students per race on average.
Benefits to Students
Lastly, there is a student in fifth grade who is on the autism spectrum and has been a part of the AMPED program since the start in October 2021. She has always been a well-behaved, focused student but now that she has joined our after-school running club, she is really starting to blossom! She is coming out of her shell more from a social standpoint with her teammates and she has also attended multiple community races. She is benefitting from the safe, positive culture that I have instilled. This is so nice to see because physical activity with peers not only leads to improved physical health but also social emotional and mental health as well. Now as a fifth grader, she is among the top students each week in turns of laps ran. As a result of the AMPED program, she went from a shy third grader to a role model fifth grader for the younger students on the team!