Mispillion Elementary takes FuelUp to Play 60 to new level

MILFORD — Mispillion Elementary School has been a FuelUp to Play 60 school since 2012, but this year the Milford-area elementary school is taking the involvement a step further.

FuelUp to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program encouraging kids of all ages to be active for at least 60 minutes a day. The program, launched by the National Dairy Council and the National Football League to work in collaboration with the USDA, helps in improving the kids’ self-esteem and in leading overall healthier lives.

Mispillion’s School Nutrition Manager Joann Joseph currently runs the program and she says the impact of the program over the past few years has been more than noticeable.

“I was looking for a program that would encourage our students to lead healthy lifestyles, and boy did I hit the jackpot,” Ms. Joseph said.

mc-sports-fuelup-to-play2“Our students and staff have really embraced this program. Because of FUTP60, our students have been given so many opportunities. FuelUp holds our students accountable. Many do better in school and want to come to school because of this program.”

This year, with help from Mispillion’s Physical Education Teacher Josh Harris, the program has a new way of reaching out to kids.

Joining forces with the Milford High School football team, students who don’t necessarily play a sport will have a chance at staying active by assisting and interacting with the Buccaneers’ football team during every home game this season.

Participating children will have the opportunity to help the players warm up before the game, go out for the coin toss before kick-off and even assist in filling up water bottles and running them out to players during timeouts, among other activities.

“This is the first year we started it and it was just an idea I had,” Mr. Harris said. “I thought it’d be a great way to get more involved. Our school is a FuelUp school, but every single kid isn’t necessarily a part of it. Kids can be student leaders and it’s all about being active for 60 minutes a day. This just shows that you don’t have to just be playing a sport to be active, you can help out with sports in other ways while still being active.”

Mr. Harris selects two kids for each game. He’s also invited family members to sit on the sidelines as well.

Ty Mackert, who was on the sidelines during one of the Buccaneers’ home games this season, said, “It was a very cool experience. We got to be up close and see all the different plays they make on the field. I liked being able to hand them their water.”

Carly Mackert added, “I liked being able to interact with them when they needed water. I didn’t realize how big they were. It was so much fun, I want to do it again.”

Over time, Mr. Harris said he plans on involving more elementary-level students in the game-day experience.

“The plan is to just get more and more kids involved with the program,” Mr. Harris said. “And hopefully it encourages those kids to join the FuelUp program at the school and to be student leaders.”

Mispillion is the only school in the state to earn the Touchdown Award, which according to Ms. Joseph is the highest honor a FuelUp school can earn. Mispillion earned the honor by tackling the six steps of the program, while demonstrating commitment to the program’s health and wellness. They have been the recipient of the Touchdown Award for four years in a row.

Ms. Joseph credits the program’s success with not only the great students who are eager to participate, but also a great supporting staff of adult program advisors:

  • Todd Mentzer––announcements, music and co-emcee for shows.
  • Sue Smith––school nurse and she also helps with the wellness.
  • Vicky Campbell––helps with getting all the students signed up to the website
  • Dan Chiavaroli––Flag Football camp coordinator
  • Jen Nichols––Walk for Wellness coordinator
  • Sheniqua Fraizer Bodley––Helps organize students with their dashboards, and Food Play.
  • Diana Brode––Playground stencils and organizing the program’s first 5K.
  • Josh Harris––High School Football games and spreading the message during gym class.
  • Michelle Harris––Community Parade.

Deanna Mckee, Tammy Burnham, Darlene Groce and Lourdes Williams are all new advisors this school year and will be a welcome addition to the program’s advisory team.

“Students are so excited about this opportunity,” Ms. Joseph said. “Being on the sidelines with these players shows them first hand what hard work, dedication and being a team player is all about.”

For more information on the FuelUp to Play 60 program, and how your school can get involved, visit fueluptoplay60.com.


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