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Let’s Jump Right In

As part of the Federal Executive Leadership Program, I was inspired to host a Let’s Move! Meetup in Salt Lake City. The leadership program, held in Richmond, VA, was aimed at developing skills to assume positions as team leaders, supervisors, and managers. I couldn’t think of a better way to test out what I had learned than through Let’s Move!, Michelle Obama’s initiative to end childhood obesity within a generation.

I learned about Meetups through the Let’s Move! website. It was extremely easy to follow, and within a few minutes I was at www.Meetup.com/Lets-Move setting up my very own event. I decided on a meet up in the park; after all, Let’s Move! is all about healthy eating and physical activity. After a few quick steps, I had scheduled our inaugural attempt at combating childhood obesity.

I used my own online social network on Facebook and Twitter to get the word out. On the day of the Meetup I took my wife, our two kids and one of their friends to the park. We set up some cones and started playing soccer ball bocce. We sparked the attention of a pair of siblings nearby who asked to join – we of course let them, the more the merrier!

As we were playing, my 14-year-old had a stroke of genius. She mentioned that her friend was working as a Youth City volunteer counselor, a mere 100 yards from where we were playing.  In a short time, the Youth City kids excitedly joined us for a game of Capture the Flag for the older kids and Monkey in the Middle for the younger kids. These were perfect games since they are not only entertaining for kids of all ages, but they got everyone running around and being active.

If our day is any indicator, Meetups are extremely easy to organize and inspire others around to join. Thanks to my quick-thinking teen, we had over fifty kids spend their day being active and staying healthy. Whether it’s teaching one or one hundred kids at a time about the importance of Let’s Move! and leading a healthy lifestyle, Meetups are a great venue for spreading the message and getting tons of people involved!

Hopefully others will be inspired to organize a Let’s Move! Meetup in their community. We thought of a few tips to help you plan:

  • Visit http://www.meetup.com/Lets-Move to see if there’s already a Meetup planned nearby or organize your own event
  • Use social media venues such as Facebook and Twitter to publicize your event, it’s easy, free and gets the word out!
  • Listen to feedback in social media venues such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. to find a time slot convenient for your friends, family, coworkers – anyone that wants to get involved.
  • Contact local groups in advance and partner up.