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Success Story: Let's Move Gets Musical in Massachusetts!

In New Bedford, Massachusetts a group of teenagers is putting its passion for the outdoors into music, using catchy beats and smooth moves to persuade other young people to get moving outside. As part of the Youth Ambassador Program (YAP!) at New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, these young people – the “Yappers” is their recording name – share their experiences learning about and exploring their city through creative media. In their latest music video, inspired by the First Lady’s Let’s Move Outside initiative, the Yappers call upon their peers to get up, and get going: “Don’t be a couch potato; just get up off your feet. Go play a game or two and keep on rocking to this beat!”

The video, which premiers today in New Bedford, illustrates how easy – and fun – it is to make outdoor activity part of your daily routine. Walking, skateboarding, running, and dancing, are just some of the ways that young people enjoy fresh air fitness. By engaging in all of these activities in downtown New Bedford, the Yappers demonstrate another important message: moving outside is a great way to learn about your community’s history and culture.

The YAP! program is the result of an innovative partnership between the National Park Service and 3rd Eye Unlimited, a local nonprofit dedicated to youth empowerment and social equality. In its first year, YAP! has provided afterschool and summer enrichment programs for dozens of high school students. Over the course of a few weeks, Yappers discover the history of New Bedford – including tales of the whaling tradition and the Underground Railroad – through a series of workshops, walking tours, and site visits. Along the way, program staff help Yappers brainstorm ways to communicate their thoughts and experiences by tapping into social networking sites and performing live at school assemblies and other events. The Yappers hope their music will inspire young people to get out and explore the natural, cultural, and historic places near them. From shooting hoops at the neighborhood court, to biking through a local greenway, to practicing hip-hop skills at a National Historical Park, there are many ways to “get outside and move.” Next time your family is looking for something to do, take the Yappers’ advice to… “Get off of the computer, just go and have some fun. Fresh air will do you justice; go ahead and get some!” Visit the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park online to learn more about the YAP! program and hear the Yappers’ other songs.