The NFL will provide NFL FLAG Essentials Kits to more than 500,000 children in elementary schools and after-school programs nationwide this year, enabling kids in communities to “Play 60.”
The announcement was made today by NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL at an event in Renton, WA. The new program will be implemented in partnership with the GENYOUth Foundation, the Fuel Up to Play 60 in-school program and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). The kits are being funded through the NFL Foundation’s $45 million commitment to USA Football for programming including Heads Up Football, NFL FLAG, and NFL Punt, Pass & Kick.
The goal of the partnership is to give children the opportunity to “Play 60” while introducing them to the fast-paced fun of NFL FLAG. In its first year, the program will focus on schools in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and Seattle through the Fuel Up to Play 60 program, which reaches 73,000 schools nationwide, empowering students to take action to improve nutrition and physical activity.
The free kits will also go to children participating in NRPA after-school programs in NFL markets including Atlanta, Arizona, Buffalo, Carolina, Chicago, Denver, New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis, San Diego, Seattle, and Tampa Bay. One park and recreation agency in each of these areas will also win a $7,500 NFL PLAY 60 grant from NFL Network. Over the course of three years, the NFL/NFL Network/NRPA initiative will work to expand nationwide.
NFL FLAG, powered by USA Football, provides children of all ages with the opportunity to be active and learn the basics of football in a fun environment. More than 230,000 boys and girls ages 5-17 were part of NFL FLAG powered by USA Football last year. With the added reach from Fuel Up to Play 60 and the NRPA’s programming, more than 500,000 children will be able to participate in the coming year. Each of the 1,800 NFL FLAG kits distributed through the partnership includes 50 flag belts, 10 footballs and supplemental materials. SHAPE America developed new in-school curriculum to accompany the kits. Fuel Up to Play 60 schools nationwide will be eligible to receive the kits.
The program’s first year will culminate with the NFL FLAG national championships at Super Bowl XLIX in Arizona, with the championship games being played at NFL Experience for the first time.
“We want to be sure all kids have the chance to ‘Play 60,’” said Commissioner Goodell. “We know many children have their first experience playing football in flag, and we are proud to support an initiative that will help kids be physically active.”
“Research shows that physical activity, paired with good nutrition, can help improve students’ academic achievement,” said ALEXIS GLICK, CEO of GENYOUth Foundation. “This ‘learning connection’ is key to GENYOUth, Fuel Up to Play 60 and the NFL’s continued commitment to generating actionable solutions to get kids eating better and moving more in, and outside, of school. The NFL FLAG partnership is a huge step forward in our efforts to support schools with the resources they need to help students succeed, and we are proud to be part of this announcement and in supporting the program.”
“In community parks and recreation there is a real commitment to inspiring healthy and active lifestyles especially among children,” said BARBARA TULIPANE, president and CEO of NRPA. “We are excited about the NFL FLAG program because it aligns with this commitment and is a fun way to get kids active.”
The event in Renton today included a flag football clinic for local children, a Q&A with parents and Commissioner Goodell. Former players including MARK BRUENER, WALTER JONES and AENEAS WILLIAMS took part in flag drills, ‘football mom’ CHRIS GOLIC spoke with parents about her experiences as a sports mom, and Seahawks team physician and USA Football Medical Advisory Committee Chairman DR. STANLEY HERRING addressed the importance of physical activity as well as sports safety.
About the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA)
The NRPA is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people. Through its network of 46,000 recreation and park professionals and citizens, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit www.nrpa.org. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit www.parksandrecreation.org.
About Fuel Up to Play 60
Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by National Football League (NFL) and National Dairy Council (NDC), which was founded by America’s dairy farmers, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Fuel Up to Play 60 is designed to engage and empower youth to take action for their own health by implementing long-term, positive changes for themselves and their schools. The program additionally encourages youth to consume nutrient-rich foods (low-fat and fat-free dairy, fruits, vegetables and whole grains) and achieve at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. As a result of the program, last year 14 million students made better food choices and are getting more physically active during the school day. Fuel Up to Play 60 is further supported by several health and nutrition organizations: Action for Healthy Kids, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Association/Foundation, National Hispanic Medical Association, National Medical Association and School Nutrition Association. Visit FuelUpToPlay60.com to learn more.
About GENYOUth Foundation
Founded through an unprecedented public/private partnership with National Dairy Council (NDC) and the National Football League (NFL) committed to child health and wellness, GENYOUth brings leaders in health, education, government and business together in a movement to help America’s youth achieve a healthier future.The Foundation officially launched on February 4, 2011 at Super Bowl XLV with the signing of a historic six-way Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), with U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Education and Health & Human Services. GENYOUth empowers students to improve nutrition and physical activity by taking small steps to accelerate a lifetime of healthy changes. When youth are given a voice, change can happen. For more information, visitwww.GENYOUthFoundation.org.
Eric Goldstein (Chief Executive Officer of School Support Services for New York City public schools and Urban School Food Alliance)
- “Physical activity and good nutrition are crucial to students’ achievement, and New York City Public Schools strive to create an environment where students can succeed. The NFL FLAG partnership with GENYOUth Foundation, Fuel Up to Play 60 and the National Recreation and Park Association will provide a great opportunity for New York City students to play in a fun and exciting new way.”
Jayne Greenberg (District Director at Miami-Dade County Public Schools)
- “By teaming up with NFL on this FLAG partnership, GENYOUth Foundation, Fuel Up to Play 60 and the National Recreation and Park Association are providing school districts like Miami-Dade County with an opportunity to help students develop a passion for play through flag football. Additional resources like this are crucial in further addressing child health in the school environment and ensuring that we are one step closer to raising a healthier generation of kids.”