RUSSELL COUNTY, Ala. (WRBL)— One nationwide leadership academy kicked off their first area tour Tuesday, April 26, at Russell County High School.

The United States Marine Corps Sports Leadership Academy tours the country to join schools for one day to teach leadership, and athletic skills while exposing students to post-graduation options within the military.

Members of the United States Marines lead P.E. classes, members of the JROTC, and varying sports teams in a series of relay races to compete amongst themselves, and other area schools for a trophy.

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

“We’re bringing it to the cadets so they can get an experience of not just what the Army does, but also from a different service so they can broaden their exposure to every opportunity that’s out there for the kids. So just a lot of enlightenment,” Jones says. “The more the kids have exposure to, the better for them. If they want to venture off into different branches of the service or whatever the case may be, they have the exposure to it, and know more about it, and getting it firsthand versus just hearing everything from the instructor itself. So we have the different services coming to represent themselves and then they can talk to the kid personally and ask more detailed and fine-tuned kind of question and stuff like that about the programs and opportunity that exist for them.”

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

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

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

“It’s just showing another avenue for the kids for after school graduation, but also teaching them leadership skills how to be better leaders in their school and then also teaching them teamwork as they have to work through with their teams in the challenge alongside the United States Marines,” Duzyk says.

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

“We run through four drills. There’s one station that is the pull-up station. So that’s just how many pull-Ups you can do. Another station is the Ammo Can Relays. So that’s just like it sounds. You’ll take ammo cans down and back to the court. Another one is just kind of like a medley of relay races with pushups, sit ups and jumping jacks. And then the fourth one is a wheelbarrow race where you do that alongside with a partner on your team,” he says.

“It’s been a great day at Russell County. All the students are getting involved. Everybody’s invested in it and having a great time, and it’s just been a really fun time today,” Duzyk shares. closing out the first day of this week’s tour.

The United States Marine Corps Sports Leadership Academy will be visiting Carver High School, Northside High School, and Central High School throughout the rest of this week.