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fitness fundraisers

Childhood health and wellness are more important than ever and schools have a pivotal role in promoting healthy lifestyles. With obesity rates in children having nearly tripled since the 1970s according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it's crucial to integrate physical health where we can. One fun way to do this is through fitness-based fundraisers, which not only raise money but also contribute to the physical well-being of our students.

Why Fitness-Based Fundraising?

Traditional fundraisers often involve selling items like chocolate or pizza kits, which may be popular but contradict the message of health promotion within schools. These products do not support the nutritional guidelines that schools strive to uphold, such as providing balanced meals and ensuring that students get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day.

Fitness-based fundraisers - like obstacle courses and bike rallies - offer a great alternative, turning fundraising events into opportunities for exercise and school-wide fun. These events encourage participation in physical activities, which is linked to better health, improved academic performance, and a stronger sense of teamwork in the school!

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Six Engaging Fitness Fundraiser Ideas:

1. The Amazing Race:

Transform your school’s traditional Fun Run or Jog-Athon into an engaging "Amazing Race"-themed event. This concept is based on the popular TV show and includes a variety of challenges that test students' athleticism, intelligence, and teamwork.

How to Host:

  • Plan the Course: Design a course around your school campus or a local park. Include multiple stations where students must complete specific tasks before moving on.
  • Design Challenges: Create challenges at each station, mixing physical activities (like short sprints, agility ladders) with mental tasks (puzzles, trivia). Ensure the challenges are age-appropriate and safe but still fun and engaging.
  • Team Formation: Organize students into teams by class and encourage team names and themes to boost excitement.
  • Scoring System: Develop a points system for each challenge. Points can be awarded for completing tasks, creativity in solving problems, and team spirit. Additional fundraising points can be earned based on the amount of money each team raises through donations.

The Amazing Race is a memorable fundraising event that students will look forward to year after year!

2. Ninja Warrior Challenge

The Ninja Warrior Challenge draws inspiration from the obstacle-based competition seen on TV. This active fundraiser is perfect for schools looking to promote fitness and teamwork, while providing a thrilling challenge that appeals to students of all ages.

How to Host:

  • Design the Obstacle Course: Design an engaging and challenging obstacle course that can be set up on school grounds or a local park. Include obstacles like rope climbs, tire jumps, balance beams, mini hurdles, and crawl nets. Ensure safety is a priority with proper mats and padding where needed.
  • Team Setup: Students can participate as individuals or in teams. Teams can encourage camaraderie and make the event feel more manageable for less confident students.
  • Volunteer Staff: Organize a team of volunteers to help set up the course, register participants, supervise obstacles, and provide first aid if necessary.
  • Day of Event Logistics: Start the day with a briefing about the course rules and safety. Organize a warm-up session to get participants ready and prevent injuries. Have a clear start and finish line, with timers if competition is timed.
  • Engagement and Entertainment: Besides the main event, provide other engaging activities for spectators and participants waiting for their turn. This could include music, mini-games, and food stalls/trucks!

Aspen Academy hosts a Ninja Warrior Challenge each year with Get Movin' Fundraising and always raises BIG money. But, they weren't the only ones to use this fun idea - Mt. George International School also did a Ninja Challenge and raised almost $50k!

3. Color War

A Color War is an event where students are divided into teams based on colors, each representing their grade or a chosen team within the school. The event consists of various academic and fitness challenges, making it a fun competition that tests both mind and body. It's an exciting way to engage the entire school community and raise significant funds.

How to Host:

  • Select Teams and Colors: Assign a color to each grade or class. Encourage students to wear their team colors on the event day to foster team spirit.
  • Design Challenges: Create a mix of academic and physical challenges. Academic challenges could include quizzes, spelling bees, or puzzle-solving tasks. Physical challenges might involve relay races, tug-of-war, or obstacle courses.
  • Prizes for Winners: Award prizes for the top-performing teams in each category and overall winners. Consider creative experience incentives like a special lunch, extra recess, or a classroom party.

Immaculate Conception School hosted a Color War and raised over $25k! This is a great way to combine a Color Run with a fun school-wide competition.


4. Superhero Sprint

The Superhero Sprint adds a fun and imaginative twist to the classic fun run, inviting participants to dress up as their favorite superheroes. This theme not only makes the event more enjoyable but also attracts more participants and sponsors due to its visual appeal and the way it stands out from other events!

How to Host:

  • Dress Code: Encourage participants to wear superhero costumes. Offer prizes for 'Best Costume', 'Most Original Superhero', and 'Best Team Theme' to inspire creativity.
  • Decorations: Decorate the race course with superhero-themed banners, start and finish lines, and checkpoint markers. Consider themed music to play at various points along the route to keep energy high.
  • Social Media Challenge: Start a social media challenge or hashtag campaign where participants can share their costumes and your group can share donation progress!

Stone Creek Elementary raised over $29k - which is $21k MORE than they've raised in the past - with their Superhero Sprint fundraiser!

5. Zumbathon

A Zumbathon is an energetic and super fun way to raise funds by having a fitness dance party. Participants engage in Zumba, a popular fitness program, led by certified instructors. A Zumbathon - or other dancing event - is an excellent way for students to participate in fundraising while improving their fitness.

Tips for Planning:

  • Student Instructors: Where possible, include older students who are experienced dancers or those who show leadership in physical education to help lead the dance or assist instructors. This can empower students and help them get out of their shells for the event!
  • Dance Clubs: Collaborate with school dance clubs or groups to participate actively in the event. They could perform dance routines as part of the Zumbathon or help in choreographing segments of the Zumba routines!
  • Class Competitions: Organize the event so that classes can compete against each other in terms of participation, energy, and fundraising efforts. This can foster a friendly competition atmosphere, encouraging more students to get involved.

Emerson Parkside Academy hosted a Boogie Down and Sweat for Science Zumbathon! It doesn't get more creative than that. Emerson created this fundraiser to keep their science program alive at their school and they raised major $$!

6. Kickball Tournament

Kickball tournaments are an excellent way for middle schools to combine sports, teamwork, and fundraising into one exciting event. This activity is particularly well-suited to middle school students because it is accessible to a wide range of skill levels and emphasizes both fun and competition.

How to Organize a Kickball Tournament:

  • Set a Date and Location: Schedule the tournament during a time that minimizes conflicts with other school activities. Use the school’s athletic fields or a nearby park.
  • Tournament Structure: Opt for a double elimination format, which allows teams a second chance to compete if they lose a game, keeping them engaged in the tournament for a longer period.
  • Rules and Equipment: Clearly define the rules to ensure fairness and safety. Provide all necessary equipment, including bases, kickballs, and scorecards.
  • Homeroom Teams: Organize teams by homeroom - or by school houses - to encourage class unity. This also simplifies organization and creates a friendly rivalry among classes.

Collierville Middle School hosts an annual Kickball Tournament for their Get Movin' fundraiser. It is organized into homerooms competing with double elimination. Points are earned for wearing team t-shirts, # of students with any donation amount, and runs scored. Winner gets a trophy!


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