Nearly 1,000 students throughout the Midwest gathered during April and May for nutrition and NFL-themed Reward Summits in Lincoln, Neb., St. Louis, Mo., Minneapolis, Minn., Kansas City, Mo. Sioux Falls, S.D., Chicago, Ill., Iowa City, Iowa and Springdale, Ark. as a reward for achieving Touchdown Status within their school, pledging to make healthier choices and committing to at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day.
Each region celebrated with activities that encourage healthy eating and staying active. Students heard from keynote speakers representing NFL teams and universities from their region and also received visits from mascots and cheerleaders. Some of the event highlights include:
Lincoln, Neb. – April 8, 2014
To kick-off the 2014 Fuel Up to Play 60 Reward Summits, more than 200 students from across Nebraska and western Iowa gathered at Memorial Stadium at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, home of the Huskers. The students participated in football activities led by Husker football players, went head-to-head against each other in a healthy eating game show, and heard from Nebraska dairy farmer Melisa Konecky about life on the farm. The day was capped off by a visit from Nebraska Cornhusker quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr., who spoke to the students about how eating right and staying active helps him prepare for the big games.
St. Louis, Mo. – April 10, 2014
Rams Park, the St. Louis Rams Training Facility in St. Louis, hosted this year’s Fuel up to Play 60 Reward Summit for schools throughout the state of Missouri and central Illinois. St. Louis Rams punter Johnny Hekker joined the Rams mascot, Rampage and Rams cheerleaders to celebrate the accomplishments of more than 100 students from throughout the region. Students also competed in a “Family Food” game show, and participated in football drills and skills, led by the YMCA. Additionally, local dairy farmer, Alison Bos, was on hand to share what it was like to grow up on a dairy farm.
Minneapolis, Minn. – April 26, 2014
Winter Park, the Minnesota Vikings practice facility, hosted 113 students during Minnesota’s Reward Summit. Students kicked off the day with the opportunity to show their football prowess during a football drills and skills session. Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Phil Loadholt and cornerback Josh Robinson were on hand to offer all the kids some tips as they rotated through the various activity stations also staffed by University of St. Thomas football players. The students then participated in various activity rotations, which included a food tray relay based on MyPlate, and a visit with dairy farmer Morgan Krause hosted by Princess Kay of the Milky Way Marjenna McWilliam. The day concluded with a visit from Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd who shared his tips on staying healthy and living an active lifestyle and selected a winning touchdown dance that was created by students with help from the Minnesota Vikings cheerleaders.
Kansas City, Mo. – May 1, 2014
Nearly 170 students from Kansas and Missouri ventured to Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, home to the Kansas City Chiefs, for their Reward Summit. After kicking off the day with some NFL prize giveaways, the students took to the field for a series of stations to hone their football skills. The touchdown dance station featured a very special guest, Chiefs alumni player Eddie Kennison, who handed the ball off to each student to take to the end zone. Eddie also joined current Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt for a question and answer session on healthy eating and staying active. The students also tested their nutrition knowledge in the “Family Food” game show, and learned about life on the farm from Taylor Leach, a Kansas City area dairy farmer.
Sioux Falls, S.D. – May 2, 2014
Eighty students from throughout South Dakota joined together at Sanford Fieldhouse in Sioux Falls for South Dakota’s first-ever Fuel Up to Play 60 Reward Summit. Throughout the day, students participated in the “Family Food” game show, as well as some football drills and skills. 2013 South Dakota Dairy Princess Audrey Souza spoke about her experiences growing up on a dairy farm, and invited the students to ask her questions about the dairy industry. Students were also treated to a visit from Minnesota Vikings kicker Blair Walsh, who spoke about the importance of eating healthy and staying active. After a question and answer session with each of the students, Walsh autographed the students’ t-shirts, sending each student home with a memory they will not soon forget.
Chicago, Ill. – May 3, 2014
More than 140 students were invited to participate in the Illinois Reward Summit held at the Walter Payton Center at Halas Hall in Chicago on May 3. Students were treated to a morning visit from Chicago Bears safety Craig Steltz and center and guard Roberto Garza during the first morning activity of football drills and skills, where students participated in various combine drills. Athletes from Northwestern University were on hand to provide assistance at each station. The afternoon was spent hearing from local dairy farmer Kevin Hildebrandt about life on the farm, developing touchdown dances with help from the Northwestern University Cheer Squad and participating in the healthy eating game – “Family Food.” The day was capped off with a presentation from Chicago Bears offensive tackle Jordan Mills who answered questions from students about playing in the NFL and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Iowa City, Iowa – May 6, 2014
Nearly 100 students from throughout Iowa were rewarded for their efforts to implement the Fuel Up to Play 60 program in their schools and communities on Tuesday, May 6. The group visited Kinnick Stadium at the University of Iowa, and heard from Hawkeyes Football Strength and Conditioning Coach Chris Doyle about how he encourages his players to properly fuel up and prepare their bodies for a successful football game. After a tour of the stadium and a healthy lunch, the entire group ran down the stadium tunnel and swarmed the field, where two additional Hawkeyes football coaches and three former players led them through warm-ups and football drills and skills.
Springdale, Ark. – May 6, 2014
Seventy-seven students from Arkansas, Southern Missouri and Eastern Oklahoma gathered at the Jones Center in Springdale on Tuesday, May 6 for their Fuel Up to Play 60 Reward Summit. Emceed by former NFL player Geneo Riley, the students participated in football drills and skills, the “Family Food” game show and heard about life on the farm from Bailee Whitehead, a southern Missouri dairy farmer. They also heard from Arkansas Razorback alumni and Chicago Bears linebacker Jerry Franklin on how living a healthy lifestyle prepared him for a career in the NFL.
Congratulations to all of the schools that participated in this year’s Reward Summits, we hope to see you again next year! Click here for more information on how to achieve Touchdown Status in your school.