(Linda Thompson, pictured above in yellow, is a PE Specialist at the Potowmack School in Northern Virginia)
The main job of a teacher, no matter what age range he or she is teaching, is to assist students and push them toward achieving their academic goals for success.
Fuel Up to Play 60 program advisors have a similar task. Their focus ties to academics, yes. But these program advisors strive to educate youth on the importance of exercise and healthy eating with dairy for intellectual and physical success.
And when the kids, program advisors and schools achieve those Fuel Up to Play 60 goals, there ‘s a fun reward waiting for them at the end of the school year.
Each spring, the American Dairy Association North East and Fuel Up to Play 60 host kids from standout schools at their local NFL team’s stadium or practice facility to run around on the field, meet and take pictures with players and enjoy a healthy lunch full of dairy.
To become one of these Touchdown Schools, the students must complete each of its healthy eating and exercise goals for the school year.
“We use the Touchdown School events as something for the kids to earn starting at the beginning of the year,” said Linda Thompson, Physical Education Specialist at the Potowmack School, part of the Loudon County School District in Northern Virginia.
Linda’s students earned a trip this year to the Washington Redskins Touchdown School event at the Redskins Park training complex in Ashburn, Virginia.
“At the beginning of the year, we remind them of the Touchdown School events and how much fun they are with the players and teams. It’s not every day they can run around with players from their favorite NFL team on a real football field. And we remind them of that throughout the year so it’s fresh in their heads.
“And that helps us remind them about the dairy products available to them at school and how they can help them with nutrition and focus. It makes them want to ask more and learn more about healthy eating and dairy and exercise. It all ties together. So, we remind them that this event is a goal to reach.”
At this year’s Redskins Touchdown School event, kids were able to take part in events such as the Pizza Float relay where they raced through obstacles to put pizza toppings in a box and get them to an inflatable slice of pizza. There was also Flag Football Tag with Redskins offensive lineman Tony Bergstromm and ‘Dairy Yoga’ with a local yoga instructor.
And all this after the kids heard from local dairy farmers Chris and Sarah Potts from Dogwood Farm in Purcellville, Virginia.
“It’s such a great day and the kids really look forward to this,” Linda said. “Like I said, it’s fun for the activities and because it gets the kids interested in dairy and healthy eating and exercise more. They want the smoothies and milk at school and they ask about them.
“The program and these events – they teach the kids about leadership and becoming leaders, too. We as teachers love it. And the kids love it!"
American Dairy Association North East is one of 19 state and regional promotion organizations working under the umbrella of the United Dairy Industry Association. It is the local affiliate of the National Dairy Council®, which has been conducting nutrition education and nutrition research programs since 1915. For more information, visit www.americandairy.com.