Many schools in Michigan have been involved in Fuel Up to Play 60 since 2009. Currently, 3,000 schools are enrolled in the program. Fuel Up to Play 60 began through a partnership of the National Dairy Council and the National Football League. In Michigan, the Detroit Lions and United Dairy Industry of Michigan have partnered to provide nearly 1.3 million students with the tools to make an impact on the health and wellness in their schools.
In Grand Haven Area Public Schools, many of the students have been active in Fuel Up to Play 60 since the launch of the program. "The Fuel Up to Play 60 program has been a great addition to our schools," says Program Advisor Laura Thompson, who works at Robinson Elementary and Peach Plains Elementary Schools in Grand Haven. "We have an overwhelming interest in student leadership roles every year. Our student leaders have increased student and staff knowledge of how to eat healthier and how to incorporate 60 minutes of exercise into their daily routine."
Educating students about nutrition has been a priority for Michigan's Dairy Farmers for over 100 years. It's important for the students to learn how to fuel up with healthy foods to give them the energy to stay active and make a difference. Schools in Grand Haven have also received Fuel Up to Play 60 grant funding through the years to implement Healthy Eating Plays and Physical Activity Plays. Not only have the student teams identified equipment to help their peers stay active, they have worked with the School Nutrition Department to add healthy and tasty options to the school menu.
Fuel Up to Play 60 started in Delta County, in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, in 2014. Schools in Escanaba and Gladstone have been involved and most have scored a Touchdown each year. Program Advisor Linda Klope and student teams have travelled to Ford Field for a Fuel Up to Play 60 Rally for School Health to learn ideas to help implement Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Plays. The student teams have created positive changes in their schools. Some have added smoothies to the menu and others used grant funds to purchase snow shoes to help keep the students moving throughout the long winter. Students at Escanaba's Lemmer Elementary and Soo Hill have taken field trips to local farms. The students and Program Advisors learned about dairy farming and had the opportunity to see firsthand how well the farmers take care of their cows and the environment. State Ambassador, Nehemiah is a student in Gladstone.
In the South Redford School District, Fuel Up to Play 60 has made a positive impact on the students. In the metro-Detroit area district, students have held taste tests over the years so students could try healthy foods and help get their favorites on the school menu. Vandenberg Elementary and Thomas Jefferson Elementary have received Fuel Up to Play 60 grant funding through the years to help with their taste tests and also purchase heart rate monitors to help motivate students to keep moving. Program Advisors Cristi Harrington and Brooke Hempton have led student teams to create lasting changes in their elementary schools. One big change has been to make-over the cafeterias to create an inviting and calm environment for the students to enjoy their breakfast and lunch.
Fuel Up to Play 60 is designed to be flexible and encourage students to lead healthy changes in their school. Any Fuel Up to Play 60 school you walk into is likely doing something different – designed by the student leaders in that building, which makes the program great! Enroll your school in Fuel Up to Play 60 by visiting www.FuelUptoPlay60.com today!