The 9th Annual Fuel Up to Play 60 Student Ambassador Summit took place July 16-19 on the beautiful campus of Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA, just outside of Atlanta. Hundreds of students joined teachers, dairy farmers, top NFL football players and incredible partners and friends for a week of collaboration, learning, and fueling brains and bodies! This was the biggest Summit yet, and the GENYOUth team was honored to bring partners to the table to support the event and participate as speakers, mentors and judges for a number of activities.
When we bring student leaders and tremendous partners together there are always so many meaningful stories to share with you.
Students and Program Advisors arrived in style and were greeted by NFL Jacksonville Jaguars Player Barry Church as they checked into their dorms, met with their teams, and explored the campus. After orientation, Summit attendees got an inspirational opening speech from Sheri Collins of The Shark Group, who talked to the audience about Being Your Best Self. After Sheri’s talk, NFL Atlanta Falcons Player Ben Garland welcomed Ambassadors to Atlanta, and everyone got a VERY special treat with a dance–off between six NFL Mascots - Blue (Colts), T-Rac (Titans), Miles (Broncos), Sir Purr (Panthers), Freddie Falcon (Falcons), Viktor (Vikings) and the Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders!
After that amazing show, everyone explored fun physical activity stations and enjoyed dinner during our Kickoff in the Quad party featuring NFL Mascots and Atlanta Falcons players and cheerleaders.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, students started the day with NFL FLAG, which provided a unique opportunity to see the kits in action and get direct feedback from program advisors and students. Four current and former Atlanta Falcons players also jumped in with the students as QB!
Students also had the chance to participate in the Second Annual Fuel Up! Innovation Challenge at a Summit, working alongside mentors that included sponsoring partners Land O’Lakes, Quaker and UnitedHealthCare to develop innovative project ideas that will create access to and awareness of healthy eating and sustainable nutrition and agriculture in their schools and communities.
Some examples of winning ideas included a program to collect and distribute excess school food and canned goods to families and children in need, updating cooler equipment to store milk and other refrigerated products at school and replacing plasticware with reusable utensils for a school’s cafeteria service.
At the end of the day, 40 students walked away with $1000 each to bring their big idea to life in their school – a total of $40,000! The grants were generously provided by GENYOUth partners, Land O’Lakes, UnitedHealthcare and Quaker.
For the first time ever, Program Advisors also got to participate in a National Fitness Foundation (NFF) Innovation Challenge, with NFF’s Jane Wargo serving as one of the judges along with a representative of the NFL and Youth Council. Over 30 Program Advisors practiced with mentors (4 of which, were GENYOUth staff) and pitched their ideas in 60 seconds or less to win a $500 grant for a project to increase physical activity at their school. During the closing ceremony, 7 winning program advisors were announced.
On Wednesday, Dr. David Satcher, the 16th US Surgeon General and GENYOUth board member emeritus delivered a powerful keynote speech on being a changemaker, even through adversity.
Students competed in several cook-offs during the week, including a smoothie challenge, a Quaker breakfast parfait challenge, and a late night snack competition.
Program Advisors threw down for a chance to win a Waring blender for their schools in a very special Program Advisor “Chopped” style competition, featuring mystery ingredients. They also got to spend some time with their Dairy Council reps during a first ever SR Luncheon.
Everyone got their own tour of Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which was just completed and will host the Super Bowl in February 2019. After their tour, students headed over to the Georgia World Conference Center for an exclusive NFL Partnership Celebration featuring NFL FLAG and an interactive talk with NFL Arizona Cardinals Player David Johnson, Atlanta Falcons Player Matt Bryant, NFL Alumni Jerome Bettis, NFL Commissioner himself, Roger Goodell, and NDC’s Jean-Ragalie-Carr moderated by our CEO, Alexis Glick.
During dinner on the last night, CDC representative Dr. Shannon Michael shared information with students on how the CDC is working to support healthy eating and physical activity in schools, while encouraging students to use their voice to do the same.
Program Advisors were treated to their own special Red Carpet Hero Dinner thanks to United Healthcare, featuring a thank you address from Washington Redskins Quarterback, Alex Smith. Fun fact: Alex’s dad was his high school principal (and a former PE teacher).
The final morning, some 60 parents joined the group for the first family style breakfast hosted by Quaker and were treated to a panel discussion with Olympic bronze medalist, Aja Evans and Panthers Graham Gano, thanks to support from MilkPEP.
Additionally, in coordination with the Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee, GENYOUth hosted a Hometown Huddle to launch our partnership as the youth pillar of Legacy 53 at the Chick-Fil-A College Football Hall of Fame on the evening of July 18th. We shared key data on the needs of youth in Georgia, the important of breakfast and our goal to create 53 million breakfast opportunities in the Atlanta area. Our CEO, Alexis Glick moderated a chalk-talk conversation with NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, NFL Alumni, Takeo Spikes and Jerome Bettis, and current Atlanta Falcons Player, Matt Bryant and Arizona Cardinals Player, David Johnson. They shared their personal journeys, why health and wellness for youth is so important and also made predictions for the season ahead!
We are excited to continue to leave a legacy in the city of a Super Bowl. Read Alexis’ Medium post about that here.