Semper Fit staff and personnel presented nine squadrons with prize money for competing in the Semper Fit Summer Challenge aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, Aug. 29. The award ceremony was held in Afterburners and awarded over $6,000 in prize money to the winning squadrons and units.

Aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot and the air station, units participated in the summer challenge and were awarded points based on the percentage of squadron personnel who attended.

“This is the third year in a row that Marine Wing Support Detachment 31 has been given a $1,000 check,” said Maj. Patrick W. Junick, the commanding officer of MWSD-31. “From a leadership perspective, it’s about taking care of my Marines. Whatever we can do to lower the cost of the Marine Corps Ball tickets for them.”

The SFSC began three months ago on May 16. Since then, there have been 22 official events and even more opportunities for Marines to earn points for their units. Events ranged from costume themed 5k runs, swim meets, movie marathons, and various events at Afterburners.

“This year we chose the theme of the Commandant’s ‘Seize the Initiative’,” said Kathy Williams, the promotion coordinator with Semper Fit. “We thought it went along with what the whole summer challenge was about.”

Some of the highlighted points from Seize the initiative are “Take better care of ourselves because combat is the most extreme and demanding test” and “Have more fun as Marines because it is a privilege to be a part of this elite warfighting organization”.

“It feels good to be able to offer this, to have the help from sponsors we have had, and it’s been so much fun to be able to see everyone come out,” Williams said. “It’s bitter sweet to see the SFSC come to an end, after months of work. We’ve had over 5,880 participants throughout the summer of active duty Marines.”

Units were also able to earn points by climbing the rock wall at the gym. Individual Marines could climb the wall once a day to earn one point for the squadron. MWSD-31 took advantage of this and had over 665 climbs on the wall this last month alone.

“Aside from the prize money, the SFSC was also just a great way to educate the Marines about all the programs we can offer them to promote a healthy lifestyle,” Williams said. “Another part of it is the bonding and camaraderie that can happen. It’s good healthy competition that really just allows the participants to have fun and try new things.”

For the air station, there was a three-way-tie for first place. Marine Air Control Squadron II, Combat Logistics Company 23, and MWSD-31 each received a $1,000 check for their Marine Corps Ball. Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron received a $300 check, Marine Aircraft Group 31 received a $200 check and Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 251 received a $100 check.

In ”Seize the Initiative,” Gen. Robert B. Neller, commandant of the Marine Corps, said, “Along with always striving to be better, we should strive to have more fun together. Build and strengthen the bonds of camaraderie we share as Marines. Resolve to spend more time socializing with each other. Get out and explore the world with your fellow Marines. Do things you’ve always wanted to do: learn to surf, master another language, play an instrument, run an adventure race, etc. Don’t just sit on your backside in the barracks or at home. Enjoy the privileges and freedoms that you have sworn to defend.”

The SFSC encouraged just that: good health, camaraderie, education, and fun. After three months of hard work, the participants either won a prize or benefited from the fostering of unit cohesion, healthier and ready to fight.