NEWS | Feb. 18, 2015

Deployed Airmen inspire kids to exercise

By Capt. Mary Stanton 16th Airlift Squadron

Members of the 437th Operations Group, who are currently deployed to Southwest Asia, took time during their current deployment to participate in a local school's sports day.

Qatar's 4th Annual National Sports day was held Feb. 10, 2015. The national holiday, held every year on the second Tuesday in February, emphasizes the benefits of physical activity for a healthy lifestyle among its population.

The American School of Doha, a local K-12 school, conducts its own Sports Day each year for its 1,000 elementary aged students. This year, volunteers from Al Udeid Air Base attended the school's Sports Day and ran the event's 53 activity stations.

Started in 1988 as a nonprofit school by the American Embassy and some prominent Qatari community members, the American School of Doha was dedicated from the beginning to providing an American style of education that was internationally enriched by students of many different nationalities.

The day began with breakfast and activity set-up after the volunteers were bused to the school from the base.  Shortly after, the students arrived and were arranged by their grade level and class, and then were turned loose to begin the activities.

For four action-packed hours, the students rotated through activity stations that included three-legged and potato sack races, relay races, throwing and jumping competitions, indoor rock climbing and even water activities.

"I particularly enjoyed witnessing the kids of all different nationalities come together to just have fun," said Capt. Melanie Cuevas , 437th Operations Support Squadron's chief of intel readiness.  "It was a privilege to be a part of the special day for them."

For Master Sgt. Kyle Hunt, 16th Airlift Squadron's operation superintendent, this was his first deployed volunteer event.

"It was a wonderful time and a great opportunity to get off base and meet new and interesting people," said Hunt.

The Schools' event coordinator, Jennifer Bryan, thanked the volunteers and expressed her appreciation for the base's support in making the school's Sports Day a "Great Day!"