RUSSELL COUNTY, Alabama (WRBL)— A National Leadership Academy kicked off its first regional tour on Tuesday, April 26 at Russell County High School.

The United States Marine Corps Sports Leadership Academy travels the country to reach schools for a day to teach leadership and sports skills while exposing students to post-graduation options within the military.

Members of the United States Marines lead physical education classes, JROTC members, and various sports teams in a series of relay races to compete against each other and other area schools for a trophy.

Russell County High School JROTC instructor Darrin Jones Command Sgt. Maj says this program teaches more than teamwork.

“We bring it to the cadets so they can gain experience not only of what the Army does, but also of a different service so they can broaden their exposure to all the opportunities that are available to children. . So just a lot of enlightenment,” Jones says. “The more children are exposed, the better it is for them. If they want to venture into different branches of service or whatever the case may be, they are exposed to it, know more about it and get it firsthand rather than just hearing everything from the instructor himself . So we have the different departments come in and then they can talk to the child personally and ask more detailed and specific questions and things like that about the programs and the opportunities that are there for them.

Jones shares that physical fitness is a key part of the JROTC program and felt that this exhibit is something new and different for kids.

“We think it would be a golden opportunity for them to get exposed and challenge the kids and do something different than what they would normally do on a day-to-day basis at JROTC. I mean, we have the obstacle course and things of that nature. However, the way they do the Marine Corps way is a difference for the children. So it’s more difficult, and that’s what we want to continue to do just so that we can grow the children “Jones shares.

Sam Duzyk, event director for the United States Marine Corps Fitness Challenge, also tells News 3 how this program goes beyond physical fitness.

“It just shows another avenue for kids after graduation but also teaches them leadership skills to become better leaders in their school and then also teaches them about teamwork as they have to work with their teams in the challenge alongside the United States. Marines,” Duzyk says.

During today’s sessions, the students participated in different stations where they did pull-ups, Ammo Can relays, push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks and wheelbarrow races. Duzyk broke down the various stations the students participated in.

“We are doing four exercises. There is one station which is the traction station. So that’s the number of pull-ups you can do. Another station is Ammo Can relays. So that’s how it sounds. You will take ammo boxes and return to the field. Another is just kind of like a mix of relay races with push-ups, sit-ups, and jumping jacks. And then the fourth is a wheelbarrow race where you do that with a partner on your team,” he says.

“It was a great day in Russell County. All the students get into it. Everyone is invested in it and having a great time, and it was a really fun time today,” shares Duzyk. closing out the first day of this week’s tour.

The United States Marine Corps Sports Leadership Academy will visit Carver High School, Northside High School and Central High School throughout the week.