Let's Move Outside
Can you believe that we’re half way through the summer? With many schools starting up again next month, there’s no time like the present to take off and spend an hour or more exploring the outdoors!
You don’t need to live near a beach or a national park to experience the joys of America’s great outdoors! There are places in every community – from bike paths and trails, to local parks, ponds and playgrounds – to get moving outside and have a little fun.
“Reading is a way to travel in your mind,” said Cornell McClellan, the First Family’s Nutrition and Fitness Trainer, to over 130 students from DC area schools, camps, and youth programs at the first of ED’s four part Let’s Read! Let’s Move! series.
McClellan joined Secretary Arne Duncan and Sam Kass, assistant chef and senior policy advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives at the White House, to read and talk to more than 100 local children about the importance of a healthy lifestyle and learning over the summer. Students Jaden McDowell and Kylie Peterson, from DC’s United Planning Organization, had the honor of introducing the secretary and his guests to kick off the activities.
Minutes after the opening of Trinity Elementary Community School Park (CSP) earlier this year, neighborhood women were briskly walking a new track with their children. Kids were playing soccer on a new grass field, a college recreation class organized interactive games, and a REI outdoor specialist was teaching youth GPS orienting. After five years of planning, hundreds of children, parents, grandparents, and neighbors joined dignities celebrating Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and People for Parks first CSP. A week later a similar scene was repeated at Vine elementary in Hollywood. A grant secured by PFP opens the Trinity and Vine on weekends, holidays and school vacations. Recreation enrichment activities are being organized.
Thousands of people attended a variety of events on U.S. Forest Service lands as part of the fifth annual National Get Outdoors Day.
Looking for ways to get your family moving? On June 10, Cartoon Network launched their national Move it Movement Tour, offering kids and families across the country an opportunity to try new activities and sports. Now in its third year, the Move it Movement Tour hosts expos in 17 locations where several national organizations introduce families to strategies for fighting childhood obesity through free, kid-focused physical activity and healthy eating.
The tour kicked off in Atlanta, GA and will wrap up in Houston, TX on August 12th. At each of the tour stops, kids and families will experience a range of sports and games – from basketball and soccer, to football and golf – that will help them get the 60 minutes of daily activity they need to stay healthy
This summer, children in Reston, Virginia will enjoy new opportunities to get moving outside, thanks to six new kid-sized tennis courts in their community.
The Reston Tennis Association recently celebrated the opening of these courts, which were made possible through a $17,000 grant from the U.S. Tennis Association (UTSA). In 2011, the USTA joined First Lady Michelle Obama’s fight against childhood obesity by committing to build or restore 3,000 tennis courts in communities across the country. USTA continues to support these new facilities through its “10 & Under” tennis program, which offers equipment and programming resources for beginner athletes.
First Lady Michelle Obama was thinking of Sam Shihadeh and Rose Fakhoury when she challenged faith-based and community organizations to appoint wellness ambassadors. Sam, a personal trainer and council member of the Saint George Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church in Washington DC, and Rose, the Director of St. George’s Sunday School, joined forces to lead, organize and take action to improve health and wellness in their community. St. George Church hosted a Let’s Move! event on May 5, 2012 to get their community members eating healthy foods, moving and working to combat childhood obesity.
As a congregation inspired to fight obesity, the church practices what it preaches. The event kicked off with children racing through an outdoor obstacle course. During the day attendees heard from a diverse group of panelists such as doctors, personal trainers, and a registered dietitian, on the importance of leading a healthy life. I joined Paul Monteiro of the White House Office of Public Engagement to share more about the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative.
With less than a week to go before the Second Annual National Kids to Parks Day, more than 70,000 people in 45 states have pledged to go to a park and have some fun. With park events planned in 39 states, tens of thousands of kids and their parents will participate in what is becoming America’s national day of park play. National Kids to Parks Day is a great way to kick off the summer and reminds families to get out and enjoy the local, state and national parks in their communities.
Parks around the country are offering an enticing menu of events to attract visitors. In Virginia, all 36 state parks will offer an active, family-focused event for National Kids to Parks Day. In addition, families will be bird watching in California, fishing in Connecticut, biking and hiking in Georgia, doing volcano restoration in Hawaii, and pond prowling in Louisiana.
So far, 251 mayors in 45 states and Washington D.C. have sponsored and passed resolutions of support for this special day. Meanwhile, governors of Washington, Colorado, Vermont, Maryland, Virginia, Missouri, and West Virginia have officially declared May 19 National Kids to Parks Day.
Yesterday, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama welcomed MLS Cup Champions the LA Galaxy to the White House. President Obama honored the teams 2011 season and their MLS Cup victory and the First Lady hosted a question and answer session where the players discussed getting active, eating right and keeping healthy with an audience of young, talented soccer fans from around the country.