Who We are and What We Do
In 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower formed the President's Council on Youth Fitness as part of a national campaign to help shape up America's younger generation after a study showed that American children were less fit than their European counterparts. In 1960 President John F. Kennedy changed the name to the President's Council on Physical Fitness and expanded the Council's reach to all ages and clarified its mission. The late Bud Wilkinson of Oklahoma University was the first designee as Director of the President's Council. In 1968 President Lyndon B. Johnson, recognizing the importance of sports participation, changed the name to the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, as it remains today. The Oklahoma Governor's Council on Physical Fitness was created in the 1960's after President Kennedy directed governors to create state councils. Oklahoma's Council operated in an informal manner in an advisory capacity during the 60', 70's and 80's. In 1988, the Oklahoma Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports was formally established by Executive Order (91-10) under the administration of Henry Bellmon. The Governor's Council has continued by Executive Order under the administrations of Governor David Walters, Frank Keating, and presently Brad Henry. As defined by the Executive Order, a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit affiliate corporation was established to conduct the general business and to promote the objectives of the Governor's Council. The Council functions as an advisory board whose members are appointed by the Governor. Its two-fold purpose is: 1. to serve in an advisory capacity to the Governor and state leaders on issues related to physical activity, by providing vision and leadership to state agencies and policy makers; 2. to bring about improved health and quality of life for all Oklahomans by promoting and facilitating increased participation in regular physical activity.
The creation of the Oklahoma Governor's Council has brought concern for Oklahomans' health and fitness to the highest level of state government. The Governor's Council serves in an advisory capacity to the Governor and State leaders on issues related to physical activity, providing vision and leadership to agencies and policy makers. It serves as a catalyst in the development and promotion of programs and activities that contribute to healthy lifestyles and wellness of the people of Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Council is charged with promoting the benefits of sports, fitness and physical activity and motivating all Oklahomans to become and stay active and fit.
In accordance with Executive Order 91-10, the Council "shall assist and coordinate activities of existing companies and agencies including cooperation with the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports."
The Council's objectives are:
- Enlist the active support and assistance of individual citizens, civic groups, private enterprise, voluntary organizations, and others in effort to promote and improve the fitness of all Oklahomans through regular participation in physical fitness and sports activities.
- Initiate programs to inform the general public of the importance of exercise and the link which exists between regular physical activity and such qualities as good health and effective performance.
- Encourage our State and local governments to emphasize the importance of regular physical fitness and sports participation.
- Seek to advance the physical fitness of children, youth, adults, and senior citizens by systematically encouraging the development of community recreation, physical fitness, and sports participation programs.
- Develop cooperative programs with medical, dental, and other similar professional societies to encourage the implementation of sound physical fitness practices and sports medicine services.
- Stimulate and encourage research in the areas of sports medicine, physical fitness and sports performance.
- Assist educational agencies at all levels in developing high quality, innovative health and physical education programs which emphasize the importance of exercise for good health.
- Assist recreation agencies and state sports governing bodies at all levels in developing "sports for all" programs that emphasize the value of sports to physical, mental and emotional fitness.
- Assist business, industry, government, and the labor organizations in establishing sound physical fitness programs to elevate employee fitness and to reduce the financial and human costs resulting from physical inactivity.
The Council promotes various types of state and federal legislation. It serves as a liaison for information and support, and works with decision makers to help provide a stronger, unified speaking voice for the movement.