The reward celebration was attended by 29 schools in New England, as well as special guests New England Patriots Player Nate Ebner and several New England Dairy Farmers!
The doors of the Putman Club opened at 9:45AM sharp last Friday morning to welcome over 90 students, plus school staff and other guests, to a Fuel Up to Play 60 Celebration at Gillette Stadium. This year’s culminating event was a “VIP Reward Day” hosted for students throughout the region that were very active in their Fuel Up to Play 60 program, and demonstrated a strong commitment to health and wellness through nutrition and physical activity-focused initiatives. The funding for the celebration was provided by New England Dairy & Food Council and the dairy farm families of New England.
Over the course of the day, students in grades 4th-12th participated in three interactive breakout sessions focused on team building, physical activity, and healthy eating. During the “Speak Up” session, students focused on creative problem solving by addressing barriers to school breakfast. The “Step Up” session focused on the benefits of physical activity for health, and the third session “Fuel Up”, involved answering true or false to nutrition-related questions about healthy eating habits. Throughout the event several special guests spoke, including Nate Ebner, safety and special teams leaders for the New England Patriots, as well as dairy farmers Jimmy Hunt and Jonathon Hermonot. The day wrapped up with a stadium tour for all guests.
One student in attendance was Prescott Herzog, a ninth-grader from New Hampshire and the 2017-2018 Fuel Up to Play 60 New Hampshire State Ambassador. He described his experience this past year with the Fuel Up to Play 60 program as being “amazing”.
“A major project I’ve been involved in the past few months was launching a Grab n’ Go breakfast program in my high school by helping to get a new breakfast cart, which involved raising $7,000 in funds with grants from AdCap, New England Dairy & Food Council, and from the community. I’ve also traveled to Minnesota for the Fuel Up to Play 60 Summit, and to Domino’s headquarters to meet with their executive team and learn about project development. It’s been an exciting year!” Said Herzog.
At Gillette, students had the opportunity to meet regional dairy farmers who traveled to the event from throughout New England. This included Jimmy Hunt of Hunt Farms in Orange, MA, Jonathan Hermonot of Fairholm Farm in Woodstock, CT, and John and Karyn Luther of Parnassus Farm in Acworth, New Hampshire. The farmers participated in the interactive breakout sessions with students, as well as a few question and answer sessions. In addition to meeting local dairy farmers, students also heard a video message from Chef Brad, Executive Chef for the New England Patriots.
When asked about the changes he’s observed in schools with the Fuel Up to Play 60 program, Jimmy Hunt said, “It’s great to see that a lot of schools are enhancing their health and wellness environments by prioritizing nutritious school meals and physical activity.” He continued, “I’m proud to support the Fuel Up to Play 60 program, which get students involved in this process by working alongside their peers to bring about change.”