JOPLIN, MO.--- A new study conducted by the CDC tested the fitness levels of 600 children. They found that only 42% of them would be considered fit. Back in 2000, the number of fit children was higher at 54%. Calvary Baptist Church in Joplin is where community leaders are working to change those statistics. The sports camp has been going on all week and church leaders are hoping it will teach children how to live better lives.
"We get to do different sports and learn about God and Jesus at the same time," said Gunner Price, 5th Grader.
More than 500 children have packed the halls of Calvary Baptist Church in Joplin for a summer sports camp.
"The sports are fun because you get to learn different things if you haven't tried it," said Price.
Camp leaders say their goal is to build a healthier child with their mind, body and spirit.
"Number one, they can sample sport, they can try different things, but they can also see that they can take part and that they can be a champion as well. They can build their physical body as well as their spiritual life," said Herb Young, Family Pastor.
The Joplin Crusaders Semi-Pro Football League joined the kids Thursday to help with the camp's goals.
"Getting involved with the kids in the community. Kind of showing them that being active and being a part of your community, and also being involved with God as well in your life- it's a great thing. So we had similar interests and we felt like it was a good fit," said Sam Sturgis, Joplin Crusaders Football Player.
"We get to run, catch, tackle, and it's just so much fun to do. It's a good work out," said Byler Reither, 3rd Grader.
Camp Coordinator Pastor Herb Young says getting active with sports has a countless number of benefits.
"Sports teaches us great things in life. It teaches us about success and failures about champions, about teamwork and devotion. So we build on all of those themes and we help the kids build things that will be with them for life and stay with them for the rest of their life," said Young. "Things that happen at sports camp can stay with them as they grow and become adults.”
The CDC says children should have at least one hour of physical activity everyday. At this sports camp, the children participated in numerous sports from football, to gymnastics and archery.