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Climbing at the White House

Just in time to celebrate the one year anniversary of Let’s Move Outside, we invited 50 kids from Thurgood Marshall High School to play on the White House’s South Lawn. Activities included camping demonstrations, fly fishing, a kayak clinic, mountain biking and rock climbing. It was so amazing to see these kids participate in these outdoor activities - some of them had never been on a bike let alone climbed a rock wall. (I tried the rock climbing wall myself to see if I could get over my fear of heights and have a lot of respect for all those kids who touched the buzzer at the top!)

Students of Thurgood Marshall High School participate in outdoor sports on the South Lawn of the White House. June 13, 2011 (Photo by Thomas Miller)

The South Lawn Series was created last year to introduce neighborhood kids to sports they had never tried in an effort to inspire them to get active by trying something new and different. We know that kids need 60 minutes of physical activity a day and if our kids can have fun while being active, we are one step closer to solving the epidemic of childhood obesity. View the National Wildlife Federation’s video clip from the event here!

The South Lawn Series event today supports Let’s Move Outside, the outdoor activity component of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! campaign to end childhood obesity in a generation. Led by the U.S. Departments of the Interior, Agriculture and U.S. Army Corp of Engineers – which together, manage over one-fifth of the nation’s landmass – Let’s Move Outside is part of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) initiative and aims to connect children and families to the outdoors through healthy recreation on public lands and waters.

Thurgood Marshall High School students rock climb on the South Lawn as part of the Let's Move Outside initiative. June 13, 2011 (Photo by Thomas Miller)

Everyone has a role to play in getting kids outdoors and making it fun. Some outside groups are getting inspired and getting kids outside. How about you? Be creative, get a group of kids together and try something new. Who knows, maybe you will end up climbing a wall like I did today.

To learn more about Let’s Move Outside and to find outdoor places near you, please visit www.letsmove.gov/letsmoveoutside or www.recreation.gov.