OCTOBER 28, 2017, Phoenix, AZ – Hundreds of local students were given the opportunity to participate in the U.S. Army High School Challenge, Oct. 26, Trevor Browne High School, Phoenix.
The High School Challenge is an academic, teamwork, and strategy-based event that provides students the chance to learn about scholarships and career opportunities with the U.S. Army.
This takes place through various events, including a fitness relay, fitness challenges, and a strength match assessment where students can discover what Army job best suits their leadership abilities.
Recruiters from Phoenix Central Recruiting Company were present overseeing the event and assisting students with questions they had about the Army.
The High School Challenge travels to schools all around the country, said Darin Elkins, a trainer and coach for the Performance Triad, which is a part of the challenge.
Elkins said the Performance Triad focuses on sleep, activity, and nutrition, which teaches students how to become stronger, faster, leaner, and mentally sharper by making small changes to their daily routines.
“We spoke with the coaches and athletes in the All American Bowl last year and they liked the results and outcomes they got from the triad,” Elkins said. “The Army Research Marketing Group then asked us if we would be part of the High School Challenge. They integrated the Performance Triad messaging into the challenge and now we travel the country supporting this.”
Elkins, a retired sergeant first class, said he is optimizing and enhancing the messaging he delivers with the challenge to effectively communicate with students how important their health is.
“Mindfulness, team building, resiliency … they all fall in line with good sleep habits, good nutrition and activity,” he said.
Elkins said the reaction from students in Phoenix to the High School Challenge in was excellent.
“It’s always positive, because they only know what they know coming into the event,” he said. “For example we try to show them if they’re drinking Gatorade or energy drinks, how much sugar are in those. Usually their eyes go wide when they realize how much they’re consuming. Then we give them a tip card to show them what good nutrition looks like.”
Elkins wants students to be mindful of what they’re putting in their bodies, so they can perform at their best.
“In the Army you have start strong, stay strong and finish strong,” Elkins continued. “We want them to be at their best whether preparing for the game, studying or even training to join the Army.”
Currently only three out of ten of today’s youth meet the requirements for military service, due to obesity and poor health, something Elkins is keen to help remedy.
“In general our society is a lot more stagnant than it used to be, so kids aren’t as active as they were 10 to 20 years ago,” Elkins said. “I have them do a physical activity, whether it’s push-ups, squats, or sit-ups.”
“Technology is awesome, but it’s also a hindrance, so they’re locked into what’s instantaneously satisfying – we just have to give them the tools to become physically active and healthy,” he said.
Story by Alun Thomas
U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion – Phoenix