During the month of October, the Baltimore Ravens, the American Heart Association and the Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association challenged local students to be physically active for 60 minutes every day through an incentive-based system. The Ravens surprised students at four Baltimore-area schools with action packed assemblies, in an effort to communicate the PLAY 60 message and promote the benefits of a healthy lifestyle in a fun learning environment.
At the assemblies, all participating schools received in-classroom tracking materials and individual student guides that allowed students to record their physical activity during the four-week program. When the students reached certain benchmarks, they were rewarded with Ravens PLAY 60 items such as water bottles, foam footballs, basketball hoops and yoga mats.
Ravens LB Arthur Brown, MR Marlon Brown, S Matt Elam, C Gino Gradkowski, FB Kyle Juszczyk and T Brandon Williams were all on hand for the assemblies and served as ambassadors for the PLAY 60 Challenge. Official mascot Poe and Ravens cheerleaders also joined in on the fun, participating in the school appearances.
The players addressed the student body at each school and discussed the importance of physical activity in their everyday lives, the exercises they do to stay fit and the healthy food choices they must make. They also discussed the positive influences in their lives, the importance of getting good grades and reminded them to always listen to their teachers. There was then time dedicated for the students to ask some questions and get real answers from the pro athletes.
After the discussions had ended, it was time to get up, get active and PLAY 60. At each school, there were different activities set up for the players to participate in with the students. At Essex Elementary School (Baltimore, Md.), students and players went head-to-head in Dance Dance Revolution, to determine who had the best dance moves. Then at Woodbridge Elementary School (Baltimore, Md.), and Mayfield Woods Middle School (Elkridge, Md.) players joined students outside on their playgrounds and competed in round-robin stations, including ladder drills, pass-and-catch, jump rope and relay races.
In addition, Ravens TE Ed Dickson, S Michael Huff and WR Torrey Smith**hosted an event with students at Spring Garden Elementary School (Hampstead, Md.) to kick off the PLAY 60 Challenge/Project ACES. Project ACES, a program whose mission and goals align directly with the NFL PLAY 60 campaign, has been promoted by Carroll County Public Schools and The Partnership for a Healthier Carroll County since its inception in 1996. The players spoke with the students about the importance of finding the right balance between getting their school work completed and then making sure to get outside and play. After answering some questions the students had prepared, they then selected participants out of the crowd to compete in an obstacle course race.
At the conclusion of the four-week program, one lucky student from each school will be awarded the grand prize – an opportunity to attend the Ravens vs. Steelers game on Nov. 28 – and partake in a pregame on-field ceremony. The lucky winners will be given official Ravens PLAY 60 gear to adorn as they take the field and will be featured on RavensVision during the game. Later in the Spring of 2014, several top performing students will also be invited to attend a prize luncheon, where they will be honored for their hard work, given Ravens goodies and an exclusive behind the scenes tour of M&T Bank Stadium.