Jason Holbrook is a dedicated, high-performing Account Executive here at Advanced AV, and we value him exponentially for that. We thought it was worth pointing out, though, that there’s another group of people who appreciate him for his dedication in a different way—the first through sixth graders he mentors and coaches in his role as Director of the Exeter Township Elite Track and Field youth program.
Giving the Gift of a Healthy Lifestyle, One Child at a Time
When Jason isn’t manning his station as the race director for the local Healthy Kids Running Series (a group of cross-country races for children ages 4-13), he’s managing the schedules and resources it takes to corral the 240 children and 43 volunteers (and counting!) who currently call the Exeter program home. Although the numbers have grown significantly from when he started the program two years ago, Jason says he enjoys providing educational and fun practices to the participants in a way that exposes them to track and field and also teaches them the importance of proper nutrition.
Of course, Jason, a CrossFit competitor, isn’t one to shy away from that challenge. In fact, he welcomes it as a cause worthy of his time.
“Living a healthy lifestyle is very important to me,” Jason said. “My father had a stroke very young due to his unhealthy lifestyle, and I was on the same path. It’s important to teach the children at a young age the importance of making healthy choices. I hope that I can have a positive impact on the community.
There’s no doubt Jason is doing just that, as his Exeter Track and Field participants not only gain skills in events such as distance running, sprinting, hurdles, shot put, long jump, and javelin—but they also make new friends and build self-confidence that will carry on long after the season ends.
Not Just Track, Not Just Kids
In Jason’s neck of the woods, track and field isn’t a sport that typically opens to student participation until they reach seventh grade. When he took his children to 5K races and noticed some of the other similarly aged kids were participating in sponsored running programs, though, he approached the athletic director about bringing that capability to his district. The idea took off.
“For the first year we decided to offer the program two nights per week,” he said. “We were not sure how many kids would want to participate. We were thinking around 30 would be a good turnout. By the time registration closed, we had 195 kids registered. We participated in three local track meets throughout that summer.”
Since that time, the program has expanded to include an another grade and additional activities, and they practice every Sunday and Thursday from June to mid-August. The initiative is so successful that two youth athletes qualified for the 2016 USATF Region 2 Junior Olympics—exciting not only the children and their families, but also the coach.
“I enjoy seeing the excitement and joy when a child gets a personal record or tries something new for the first time,” Jason said.
His program, though, goes beyond just the kids. Jason and his team also provide seminars on healthy eating to the kids and parents. In yet another effort to make the lessons from the program extend long after its conclusion, Jason also offers a general fitness and mobility class to parents to encourage healthy households, not just healthy kids.
Overall, the kids and their families are undoubtedly glad to have Jason, but Jason says he’s just as happy to have them, too, and to share his love of track and field and nutrition.
“I truly enjoy providing a positive program and being a part of Exeter Township,” he said.