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    WVNG, state schools partner for first of its kind Guard readiness, student education program

    WVNG, state schools partner for first of its kind Guard readiness, student education program

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Caleb Vance | West Virginia National Guard Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. James A. Hoyer, and partners...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Zoe Morris 

    West Virginia National Guard

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia National Guard Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. James A. Hoyer, and partners from six colleges and universities within the state signed a memorandum of understanding Dec. 14, 2017 to develop a first-of-its-kind cooperative program between the WVNG’s Fitness Training Program and students in health science areas of study.
    Through the MoU, students attending West Virginia State University, University of Charleston, Marshall University, West Virginia University, Shepherd University, and Davis and Elkins College will have the opportunity to earn on-the-job training hours by working with Guard units, members and their families participating in the WVNG’s Fitness Training Program, a program designed to provide a holistic approach to physical fitness and wellness.

    Soldiers and Airmen are required to be both physically and mentally ready to respond to the needs of both the Governor and the President, if called upon. Unlike active-duty military members, Guard members are often challenged with managing their civilian jobs, military positions and family life, which can impact their ability to maintain and balance a healthy, whole human performance. The desire to take care of the whole person is what lead to the MoU.

    The WVNG’s Fitness Training Program originally started as a two-week, unit-based program in early 2016 focused primarily on intense physical training for Soldiers and Airmen. Since then, the FTP evolved into its new mission of improving the long-term readiness of the WVNG through a comprehensive training program formed to educate participants on physical fitness, nutrition, lifestyle improvement and personal accountability.

    WVNG leadership had determined that the most effective way of keeping Guard members healthy and prepared was by creating lifelong changes in behavior for not only the Guard member but also their family and military unit.

    “Not only are these colleges and universities going to be our partners in making sure our people are smart and capable, but also in making sure our folks are physically fit and mentally sound,” said Hoyer. “That they have those advantages, the edge they need, whether we call them to go to somewhere overseas or call them to go up the road to Clendenin or elsewhere and rescue West Virginians in a time of need.”

    While re-writing the old standards, Command Sgt. Maj. James Allen, the WVNG Senior Enlisted Leader, found that there were limited in-house options for holistic care of his troops and began looking outside the box for solutions, which included the partnership between the WVNG and institutions of higher education in West Virginia. Allen also partnered with dietitian, fitness coach and current WVNG member, 1st Lt. Jeremy Mullins, to work on building the FTP.

    According to Allen, approaching colleges and universities seemed like an ideal way to build upon a mutually beneficial relationship that exists between the WVNG and institutions due to the Tuition Assistance program that many Guard members take advantage of as part of their enlistment.

    “Soldiers and Airmen can benefit from the knowledge of students studying health sciences,” he said. “And the students have a new avenue in which to gain experience and on-the-job hours needed for graduation.”

    According to the MoU, universities will allow students to gain field hours by working hand-in-hand with WVNG Soldiers and Airmen, their units and families through lectures, counseling, training program development, food prep and meal planning and more.

    “We are excited to partner with the West Virginia National Guard under the leadership of Major General James Hoyer to provide another avenue for students in our nationally recognized sports studies program to gain valuable experience working outside the classroom,” said West Virginia State University President Anthony L. Jenkins. “This partnership is a win-win providing practical services to Guard members and their families while also giving our students an experiential learning opportunity to showcase their talents and abilities.”

    Dr. Stacey Kendig, department chair of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Sport Studies (HPEX) at Shepherd University, said they are excited about possibly hosting a WVNG Fit Camp at Shepherd in the next year.

    “This would allow our Science and Nursing students to assist in developing a fit camp program for the week,” Kendig said. “The week-long camp would be part of the student’s internship, which requires 400 hours of work. In planning and developing fit camp activities, HPEX students will have hand-on experience in exercise prescription for a diverse group of people.”

    “It’s going to be a great experience and educational tool,” she said. “We’ve all been excited to bring this to the Shepherd campus and feel it is a valuable community initiative.”

    Hoyer hopes that the forethought of this holistic program and innovative partnership between the WVNG and West Virginia colleges will spark conversations throughout communities in our state about healthy living.
    He is also hopeful that other National Guard units across the United States will see an opportunity to develop similar partnerships that will increase the readiness of the entire National Guard force.

    Attending the MoU signing representing their respective colleges and universities were Dr. Michael Prewitt, Dean, College of Health Professions at Marshall University; Dr. Rob Phillips, Vice President for Academic Affairs at Davis and Elkins College; Adam Burda, Director, Graduate-Dietetic Internship Program and Teaching Assistant Professor, Human Nutrition and Foods at West Virginia University; Dr. Edwin Welch, President, University of Charleston; Dr. Anthony Jenkins, President, West Virginia State University; Dr. Stacey Kendig, department chair, Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Sport Studies at Shepherd University; and Maj. Gen. James A. Hoyer, West Virginia National Guard Adjutant General.


    Date Taken: 12.15.2017
    Date Posted: 12.15.2017 16:15
    Story ID: 259139
    Location: WEST VIRGINIA, US

    Web Views: 327
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