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Empowering Youth to Improve the Health of Our Nation

Sep 27, 2017, 10:52 AM

This summer, I participated in the Fuel Up to Play 60 (FUTP60) Student Ambassador Summit in Chicago. Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by National Dairy Council and NFL, in collaboration with the USDA, to help encourage today’s youth to lead healthier lives.

I attended the third day of the summit with 150 FUTP60 student ambassadors. The day began with a build-your-own-breakfast with the students and listening to them share their experiences from the earlier days of the summit. The students were excited, energized and eager to share their experiences with leadership.

Following breakfast, the students rotated through three different sessions:

  1. Inspirational storytelling workshop using Adobe Voice
  2. Create-their-own smoothie team competition
  3. Create-their-own “viral videos” about fueling up for back-to-school with a professional camera crew from MTV

After the sessions, I joined a student team for a FUTP60 challenge from the 2015-2016 Playbook. The teams had a great time constructing visual displays to demonstrate ways they could make changes in their school around the playbook challenge. Creativity and leadership development were key to the great visual displays each of the teams constructed.

The afternoon was centered on students sharing their “youth talks” and explaining why health and wellness really matters. Each of the talks filled all of us in attendance (students, advisors, guests and mentors) with hope, inspiration and laughter! These talks are the key to the success of FUTP60—it all comes together when students use their own voice to share with their peers the importance of health, wellness and physical activity!

I ended my time with this inspiring group of students by participating in a forum with three other adults during which we each shared our perspective of why health and wellness matters to everyone. Each of the panelists built off of the experiences of the day by echoing the importance of students reaching other students as the key to increased health and wellness of our society.

The FUTP60 student ambassador program puts students at the center of our future success in changing the tide of health and wellness for all children, families and adults—there’s no better way to change the world than with these inspired and motivated students!


Laura Bay is president of National PTA.