Fit for funds at St. James

Fitness and fun translated to a lot of funds as students at St. James the Less Catholic School participated in the first of what’s expected to be an annual event at the school.

More than $7,100 was raised through donations for last Wednesday’s Survivor Challenge, a donor-driven boot camp warm-up and obstacle course at the school. The event was sponsored by Linda Taix and Extreme Boot Camp in La Cañada. A few other local businesses, Tom’s Toys, Color Me Mine, and Revolution Dance Studio, also provided prizes for the event.

“It was quite a day,” Taix said of the event that collected more than double the amount of money the school has raised in previous activities.

Taix became involved in the event because she’s a former St. James student. In the 1970s, she went to school there and she has kept in touch with some staff in the following years.

On Father Ed Dover’s recommendation, one of the parents coordinating the event contacted Taix and she gladly put her staff to work on the project.

Taix and her staff held a rally last month at the school and, on the day of the Survivor Challenge, nine trainers from Extreme Boot Camp ran the workout stations.

Students, staff at the school, and the parents, who got involved as well, enjoyed the heart-pounding event.

Taix said her business has received several requests from other area residents since the event to hold a similar activity at their school.

Jose Paz, father of three St. James students, Victoria, fifth-grade, Cecilia, third-grade and Sophia, first-grade, said he thought the event was a big success for all involved.

“Everybody has fundraisers, but rather than a plain vanilla jog-a-thon, we had this great activity that tested the students’ athleticism and provided a lot of fun,” Paz said.

Paz, who also is on the school’s finance council and PTO board, said he enjoyed watching as the children were led through a rigorous workout.

“This was fun for all of the kids, even the older eighth graders. They loved it and had smiles on their faces. Some found out they weren’t in as great of shape as they thought, but it was neat to watch,” he said.

In addition to being a fundraiser, the event was a great way to teach the children about the benefits of physical activities and the importance of teamwork.

After a warm-up with their trainers, the children — in four groups of 38 to a team — went through a series of stations, which included a tire and ring run, a push-up area, hurdles, relay races, basketball throw, ladder run, crawl tubes, duck and weave, and a moon bounce — where the children bounced, climbed a wall and slid down a slide.

“The course was a great team building exercise that taught the students leadership and how to work together to achieve a goal,” said Tricia Flynn, a mom and member of the school’s staff.

Youths also had an opportunity to win prizes for their part in collecting sponsor money for the event. Kids who had more than $25 in sponsors won a Survivor Challenge water bottle with logo; a Survivor Challenge Extreme Boot Camp shirt was given to youths who raised more than $50; those who gathered more than $75 or $100 in sponsors had the chance to win raffles for gift baskets.

Valerie Logan, mom of fifth grader Nikolas Logan, said the event was “awesome” and “fantastic” for the kids.

“Not only [did] this get the kids motivated to get out there and move, it’s really helped them to be a team and encourage each other, and bring together a unity for the school,” she said.

After the event, Melinda Burkhart, a first-grade teacher at the school, expressed gratitude to Taix and her team for “an excellent day filled with fitness, fundraising, and fun.”

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