The Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation hosted the Salute to Play 60 Military Challenge at Joint Base Anacostia Bolling in Washington D.C., spreading the importance of being active and healthy to military families.*
Getting out and being active is no easy feat, especially on a cold, fall afternoon. But hundreds of students from military families joined the Redskins Charitable Foundation to do just that, while also learning fun, new ways to be healthy.
Redskins players helped reaffirm the importance of being active every day at the 4th annual Salute to Play 60 Military Challenge. The event took place Monday, September 26 at Joint Base Anacostia Bolling in Washington D.C., and is part of the NFL’s Play 60 campaign, which fights childhood obesity by encouraging youth to be active for at least 60 minutes a day. It’s a message that resonated with the military families who came from all areas of the Armed Forces including the Navy, Army Air Force and Marines, where being fit is essential.
“For us in the military, we have to be fit and ready at all times and to do that we have to also get out and do 60 minutes of physical exercise most every day,” Joint Base Anacostia Bolling Commander Frank Mays said to the students prior to the event. “If the President calls us, that’s what we do. So that’s what we’re talking about: getting out and being active.”
The event featured several players including wide receiver Jamison Crowder, wide receiver Pierre Garҫon, guard Arie Kouandjio, defensive end Anthony Lanier II, II, offensive tackle Isaiah Williams, former Redskins safety Kyshoen Jarrett, and Super Bowl XXII MVP Doug Williams, in addition to Redskins Cheerleader Ambassadors, and many wives of coaches, who all took on the role of celebrity trainers.
But the event wasn’t just an unforgettable experience for the young participants.
“When I was growing up, I was happy to just hang out with anybody that played football or played professional sports,” Garҫon said. “To get actual football players to come hang out after school and play sports and do things with them, there is definitely excitement on both sides.”
After the students got the chance to meet the players and the afternoon’s events were introduced, everyone got prepared to get active.
The students participated in a variety of activity stations to keep their bodies moving. With at least one celebrity trainer at each station, students rotated between a hip-hop dance class, teamwork/recess games and three “challenge stations.” At these three stations, the students were given the opportunity to try out their combine skills, including the 40-yard dash.
The top finisher in each of the seven rotation groups will be recognized during the Redskins Play 60 home game vs. Cleveland on Sunday, Oct. 2 at FedExField. There were also special awards for students who showed the best spirit, teamwork and dancing.
“We really appreciate that [the Redskins] are out here,” Mays said. “It’s very important that [these kids] get the Play 60 experience and they learn how important it is to actually get off their smart phones and get outside.”
The participants at the event came from nine different installations and some are part of afterschool programs that focus on fitness and keeping healthy. Having the players around, all of whom have to remain in top physical shape throughout the year, certainly provided a good message for the children involved.
“[The kids] look up to these people,” Jodee Vaseleck, the DC area Regional Child and Youth Program Director for Navy, said. “I’m sure a lot of these [students] are football players and are out here looking and dreaming. It will be a memory they remember.”
For Redskins staff and players, getting a chance to give back to those who defend their freedoms are always special moments.
“Because of what the military’s done for us, when I’m talking about us, I’m saying all Americans, [it] allows us to be able to do things we’re doing today,” Doug Williams said.