Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan (5/30/2013) – Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler’s Semper Fit health promotion program was recently awarded the 2012 Blue H–Navy Surgeon General’s Health Promotion and Wellness Award gold star.
The award encourages and rewards the promotion of health in Navy and Marine Corps organizations. Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center directs the annual award that has three separate categories: Fleet, Medical and Semper Fit.
The Fleet and Medical categories are geared toward Navy commands and medical facilities, respectively. While the Semper Fit category recognizes programs that have portrayed excellence in conducting community-level health and wellness education and awareness within the Marine Corps.
MCB Camp Butler’s Semper Fit health promotion program earned the gold star by properly representing important health and wellness topics, according to Bert Griffith, the Semper Fit chief, Marine Corps Community Services Okinawa.
The award was based on specific topics to include alcohol and drug abuse prevention, injury prevention, nutrition, physical fitness, sexual health, psychological health, tobacco cessation and weight management.
“One of the biggest challenges is the fact that the criteria to win the award changes annually, and with each passing year, the standards become more stringent,” said Kimberly D. Beard, the Semper Fit health promotion program manager, Marine Corps Community Services Okinawa. “Each year, we have to improve our practices to stay in the running for the gold star award.”
The health promotion team worked tirelessly throughout 2012 to provide the military community on Okinawa with the best programs, said Beard.
“Health promotion is a small team, yet we are always ready and willing to adapt and overcome in order to deliver the best product to our customers,” said Beard. “In addition, the quick-paced tempo, high demand and use of our programs and services, and the constant change always provide plenty of excitement and opportunity to improve. We continually strive to stay current with health and fitness trends and understand the needs and wants of our patrons.”
Griffith attributes two promotions, “Community Outreach” and “Nutrition and Weight Management,” along with the team’s dedication to the good health of the local Marine Corps community to the program’s success.
“The fundamental reasons for our Semper Fit folks winning this award are Beard’s commitment to supporting the Marine Corps’ mission and mentoring her team to believe in the mission,” said Griffith. “Beyond that, Beard is fortunate to have a team of stellar wellness and fitness professionals who are passionate about what they do for a living.”
The Marines, sailors, families and Department of Defense civilian employees are the driving force for the program to succeed, according to Beard.
“We are extremely proud to be the recipients of this honor,” said Beard. “Our team works hard to ensure that our military community on Okinawa receives the best health, fitness and wellness programs possible, and we strive to deliver innovative and effective programs and services that truly make a difference in the lives of our customers.”
Beard and her health promotion team are already working toward another successful year for 2013.
“Our emphasis for 2013 is functional fitness and overall morale and well-being, as well as promoting key areas such as nutrition, injury prevention and tobacco cessation,” said Beard. “We continue to look for innovative ways to connect our fitness, group fitness and wellness programs together to achieve a comprehensive program that meets the needs of our clientele.”