Teamwork Makes The Dream Work!
by Alexis Glick
A couple of years ago a young woman who worked for me remarked, "Teamwork makes the dream work." The phrase stuck with me and to this day I use it frequently. I'm not sure if it's simply a phrase deeply rooted in truth or if it's because it takes me back to my days on the basketball court where teamwork was clearly essential to victory. But I can tell you on a week like this -- when our kids return back to school in their quest to become healthy, high-achieving students and adults - it couldn't be more appropriate.
As I dropped three of my four kids off at school yesterday, my eldest entering high school, my second seventh grade, and my third fourth grade, I couldn't help but marvel at the glee, trepidation and hope in each of their eyes. Like so many parents I posted pictures of their first day, and looked back at the images of years gone by with hashtags like the #daysarelong and #theyearsareshort from parents just like me.
It's precisely why I'm writing this today, and why now is the perfect time to engage - and re-engage - in the critical partnerships that community members and the private sector create to support kids and help schools meet their wellness goals.
In celebration of the 60th anniversary of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, the National Foundation on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition launched the #0to60 campaign to accelerate the nation's journey to living a healthy life. It includes a #0to60 video featuring the First Lady, a new #0to60 digital app, the launch of a dynamic new website (0to60fitness.org), and so much more.
It's also kick-off week in the National Football League, which, along with the National Dairy Council, has renewed their commitment to youth health and wellness with "Hometown Grants." The initiative will provide $10,000 grants to support physical activity and nutrition programs in school districts in all 32 NFL markets. The National Foundation on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition joined this partnership today by agreeing to double the NFL's investment through an additional $320,000 in Presidential Youth Fitness Program resources to schools in local NFL markets.
As the CEO of GENYOUth -- the NFL- and National Dairy Council-backed nonprofit of which Fuel Up to Play 60, the nation's largest in-school wellness program, is a signature initiative -- I'm incredibly proud and humbled by the way the League, our nation's dairy farmers, federal agencies and foundations, and the private sector continue to work together in support of our nation's youth.
To me, the ongoing collaboration is a shining example of how stakeholders from all quarters can and must come together in support of a common cause - in this case, our country's healthy future.
GENYOUth has been incredibly fortunate to work hand-in-glove with the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition and its Foundation for years. Since 2013, we've partnered with the National Foundation for Fitness, Sports & Nutrition to place approximately $1 million in Presidential Youth Fitness Program resources in hundreds of schools nationwide.
In addition, we've helped to bring youth voice and perspective to numerous initiatives:
-- Fuel Up to Play 60 Student Ambassadors have been active participants in President's Council Advisory Council Meetings;
-- Fuel Up to Play 60 Student Ambassador "reporters" have taken part in the White House Easter Egg Roll for the past four years;
-- Our Student Ambassadors have been invited guests at the Let's Move! Active Schools White House partner meeting, have sat in on planning conference-calls and served on panels with partner organizations;
-- Student Ambassadors took part in the President's Council "Youth Council Pilot" and assisted in the development and launch of the #0to60 campaign;
-- Fuel Up to Play 60 has produced 60 videos with the President's Council, featuring students giving tips on healthy eating and physical activity; and
-- Fuel Up to Play 60 helped deliver 100,000 participants in the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award's Million PALA Challenge campaign.
While this is all wonderful news, and will allow us to collectively make even more progress toward American students' healthy, high-achieving futures, we must not forget that it's all in service of an urgent need.
Currently, less than half of American youth meet the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommendation of at least 60 minutes of daily vigorous to moderate-intensity physical activity. The majority of children and adolescents today spend most of their day sitting in classrooms, and a big part of their free time engaged in sedentary activities.
The 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (CDC) conducted among students in grades 9-12, and included in the 2016 Shape of the Nation report, indicated that 73% of students did not meet the 60 minutes per day physical activity recommendation, and 52% of students did not attend PE classes on one or more days in an average week when they were in school.
In recent years, leading national public health, medical, and government organizations and agencies have called on schools to adopt more strategies to help children participate in high quality physical education and other physical activity opportunities. Hence the work we do at GENYOUth, with Fuel Up to Play 60, NFL Flag Essentials, AdVenture Capital, and other initiatives.
And we're thrilled to be doing it all in close collaboration with other caring stakeholders. In this case, teamwork really is making the dream work.
Our partners at the President's Council for Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, the National Foundation for Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, the NFL, and National Dairy Council know that, by working together, we really can advance and accelerate progress by acknowledging and supporting students in helping to identify and solve problems in their local schools and communities.
Kids represent an enormous untapped force for positive change -- and we invite all Americans to join us in this recognition as the 2016-17 school year kicks off!
Alexis Glick is the CEO of GENYOUth.