FITNESS: GETTING THINGS DONE
The issue of July 1 was especially timely, particularly HOTBOX ("Last summer President Eisenhower appointed a council on youth fitness. Since then has anything in your area been done about this?"). My reason for writing you is to point out that the state of Illinois has done something about the matter of youth fitness.
Governor William G. Stratton called a Governor's Conference on Youth Fitness with 100 invited representatives of youth serving agencies, institutions and organizations. We met at Robert Allerton Park near Monticello, Illinois May 5, 6 and 7 for three days of interesting and worthwhile group and conference sessions.
Cooperating in staging this conference were the College of Physical Education, University of Illinois; the Department of Public Instruction; and the Illinois Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation.
The meeting was called to assess the fitness problem in the state and to see what various groups could do in the way of expansion, intensification and improvement when needed.
Organizations for which brief reports were given included: The American Turners Society, the State Outdoor Educational Advisory Council, 4-H youth fitness program, Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Federation of Settlements, Chicago Boys Clubs, Boy Scouts of America, YMCA and American Youth Hostels. The CYO sent a representative but did not accept an invitation to report.
Talks were given by V. L. Nickell, Superintendent of Public Instruction; Governor Stratton; and the keynote address was given by Dr. Shane MacCarthy, President Eisenhower's personal representative and Chairman of the National Fitness Council. Short statements were also made by Dr. F. D. Beister, President of the Illinois School Principals Association; Dr. Ray C. Duncan, Dean, School of Physical Education and Athletics, West Virginia University and President of the American Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation; Dr. Arthur Steinhaus, Dean, George Williams College; H. O. Dawson, President, Illinois Association of School Boards; and Gilbert Dodds, track coach, Wheaton College.
The most important recommendations of the conference propose that the governor appoint an Illinois Youth Fitness Advisory Committee with suggested duties listed; appoint a full-time executive director to head this committee; designate a Youth Fitness Week to focus public attention on the problem; and contact the head of each Illinois community urging him to appoint a local council on youth fitness.
Each organization represented was asked to review its own contribution to the youth of the state in the area of fitness and to expand and intensify its program wherever possible. Some have already made a number of worthwhile changes.
Inquiries concerning the conference have already come in from five state leaders and one governor. No doubt other states will have similar meetings before long.
We feel that the state of Illinois is doing something about youth fitness, and something worthwhile!
C. O. JACKSON
Professor, School of Physical Education
University of Illinois