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Fast Break - September 2006

A Stroll Around the Base; It's a Mascot's World

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September 2006
Fast News
A Stroll Around the Base One would expect the U.S. Air Force pilots stationed at Okinawa, Japan's Kadena Air Base to enjoy an unparalleled measure of freedom. After all, they've earned their wings. However, for these pilots' infant children-even those who've graduated to crawling-it's a different story altogether. For them, getting around (or away from) Kadena can be a challenging task, indeed. And if the toddlers of high-flying dads are frustrated with being grounded, imagine how their moms feel.

For that reason, Lauren Colunga, a group fitness instructor stationed at Kadena and herself a mother of a 2-year-old son, has launched the first overseas franchise of Stroller Strides-an innovative, five-year-old fitness program that encourages new moms to exercise with their stroller-bound young (see "Baby on Board," July 2005, p. 126). Class sessions typically include 50-minute-long power walks periodically interrupted by brief body-toning exercises.

According to Stars and Stripes, the classes at Kadena "foster a laid-back atmosphere where attending to the children isn't considered a distraction-or even a detraction-from the workout."

In fact, Colunga's classes incorporate the little ones with activities such as one that has moms tickle their babies while running in place in front of their strollers. "It's amazing," Colunga said. "You'll have a row of fussy kids and the moms will start singing and then they're all smiles."

It's a Mascot's World Mascots are moving on up-from the sidelines of sports venues everywhere to the boardrooms of corporate America. Helping them do so is Dave Raymond, a former mascot himself-he portrayed the Philadelphia Phillies' original Phillie Phanatic from 1978 to 1993-whose Newark, N.J.-based Raymond Entertainment Group helps create mascots and related marketing programs for sports teams and companies alike.

In six years, Raymond has assembled a diverse client roster, including minor league baseball teams-the Fresno (Calif.) Grizzlies, for example-as well as health insurers (Horizon New Jersey Health) and public libraries (the Ocean County, N.J., system).

As Raymond told The News Journal of Wilmington, Del., the rationale for corporate mascots is simple: They have a distinct ability to help raise a company's profile and make it stand out from its competitors. "Our business is really based on fun being valuable," said Raymond, whose company's complete marketing program-costume design, mascot training and two costumes included-costs clients $45,000 to $50,000.

The sports mascot's crossover appeal in non-sports environments makes sense to Florida Atlantic University sports management professor Jim Riordan, who notes Madison Ave.'s long-time use of characters such as Tony the Tiger (Kellogg's Frosted Flakes) and the gecko of Geico Insurance. "It's an association with a very happy, childlike figure," he said. "And there's a little bit of child in all of us."

In the Field
Company News
  • Promaxima Strength and Conditioning (Houston, Texas) has acquired Stex Cardiovascular Products and is now the Stex exclusive distributor for North America, South America and the Caribbean.
  • John Deere (Cary, N.C.) held a "Feedback" event in August during which golf course superintendents and equipment managers met with John Deere distributors and employees to analyze equipment and products.
  • NuStep (Ann Arbor, Mich.) will host a Cooper Institute certification workshop on fitness programming for older adults, Oct. 23-26, at its headquarters in Ann Arbor.
  • Ruby Newell-Legner of RubySpeaks has been contracted by Dolphins Stadium to provide guest relations training for its event staff and supervisors.
  • Corporate Fitness Works (Montgomery Village, Md.) is supporting Dr. Donna Allen's Pink Pedals Bike Tour across America-a benefit for the American Breast Cancer Foundation-by matching all donations made by Corporate Fitness Works' team members.

Want to see your name in lights? Send press releases and news to our Web Editor for consideration: webeditor@athleticbusiness.com

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Don't Wait . . . Register Now for ABC It's not too late to register for the 25th anniversary Athletic Business Conference and Expo, Nov. 15-17 in Las Vegas at the beautiful Mandalay Bay Convention Center. The conference and trade show features all this and more:
  • The industry's best education-91 seminars and workshops, 72 brand new-by the industry's best speakers. Plus, 48 bonus seminars sponsored by the International Council on Active Aging and 32 bonus seminars sponsored by the Medical Fitness Association, free for ABC attendees. Plus, CEU credits are available from a number of organizations.
  • World-class keynotes by NFL Sunday analyst and football great Terry Bradshaw and Nike's former "Katalyst" Kevin Carroll.
  • The industry's most diverse trade show featuring 300+ exhibitors.
  • ABC's early-morning workouts to get your heart pumping while learning about the latest product innovations.
  • Welcome Reception at the fabulous House of Blues, a networking celebration with live music, dancing and more!

Conference fee: Cost is just $395 for the first person, $340 per person for the second and third person from the same organization, and $160 per person for each additional person (4th and beyond) from the same organization.

Fast Job
MVP Sports Clubs in Grand Rapids, Mich., is seeking a director of its MVP Fieldhouse, who will design, develop, administer and evaluate a broad range of high-quality fitness, recreation and sports programs to a large, diversified customer base. Duties include:
  • designing sports programming
  • creating a yearly budget
  • scheduling
  • promoting facility rental/usage
  • managing all projects and capital expenditures
  • supervising staff
Résumés should be submitted to humanresources@mvpsportsclubs.com.

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