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Over 55,000 people participated in the biggest celebration of active play in the eight-year history of Nickelodeon's annual Worldwide Day of Play on Saturday, September 24 at the Ellipse in Washington, D.C. AAHPERD's Let's Move in School was front and center with the First Lady's "Let's Move" campaign and the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition who were all encouraging active and healthy lifestyles for the children and their families.
First Lady Michelle Obama "turned off" Nickelodeon for three hours that day to encourage kids to go outside and play and to celebrate the success of the Million PALA Challenge. Since the start of the challenge a year ago, more than 1.7 million Americans have gotten active and earned their PALA, far exceeding the initiative's goal. AAHPERD member Jayne Greenberg accepted the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award on behalf of Miami-Dade County Public Schools where more than 100,000 people got active.
Many AAHPERD staff played with children of all ages during the day-long event and gave out promotional Let's Move in School items such as red bracelets, brochures and temporary tattoos. Providing the equipment for the activities was Sportime which was represented by Pam Powers. Maryland AHPERD sponsored a bus of students, chaperones and Health and Physical Education Chairperson Erika Terry from Oxon Hill Middle School in Ft. Washington to attend the day's festivities.
"This event would not have been possible without the support of our outstanding national and local partners who offered fun games and activities for the entire family to inspire healthy living," said Marva Smalls, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs, Nickelodeon Networks. Among the partners offering a wide variety of activities, including juggling, baseball, soccer, dance, lacrosse, cheerleading, martial arts and entertainment, were Let's Move in School, NFL Play 60, Major League Baseball, PGA, the National Park Service, National Park Foundation, US Tennis Association, Boys & and Girls Clubs of America, Kiwanis, National Wildlife Federation and National Environmental Education Foundation and Special Olympics.
More than 25 of Nickelodeon's most popular stars and animated characters also participated including iCarly (Jennette McCurdy, Nathan Kress, Noah Munck and Jerry Trainor); Victorious (Victoria Justice, Daniella Monet, Elizabeth Gillies, Ariana Grande, Avan Jogia, Leon Thomas III and Matt Bennett); Big Time Rush; Keke Palmer (True Jackson, VP); SpongeBob SquarePants; Dora the Explorer; the Fresh Beat Band; and the casts of Supah Ninjas (Ryan Potter, Gracie Dzienny and Carlos Knight), Bucket & Skinner's Epic Adventures (Taylor Gray, Dillon Lane and Ashley Argota) and the forthcoming live-action series, How to Rock (Cymphonique Miller and Max Schneider).
Nickelodeon's television networks and websites went off-air and offline from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. (all times ET/PT) as a signal to kids and families nationwide to get up and get active. Nick resumed programming at 3 p.m. with live updates from the Worldwide Day of Play event in Washington. At 7:30 p.m., the network showed an action-packed half-hour special, Worldwide Day of Play: Washington, D.C, featuring Nick's hit live-action stars, highlights from the day's activities and a special performance by Big Time Rush.
In addition to the Washington, D.C. event, there are almost 4,000 confirmed local WWDOP events taking place in the U.S. and countries including Germany, France, India, Ireland, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Scotland, Sweden and Tanzania.
© 2013 American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance