The NFL will provide NFL FLAG Essentials Kits to more than 500,000 children in elementary schools and after-school programs nationwide this year, enabling kids in communities to "Play 60."
The announcement was made today by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell at an event in Renton, WA. The new program will be implemented in partnership with the GENYOUth Foundation, the Fuel Up to Play 60 in-school program and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). The kits are being funded through the NFL Foundation's $45 million commitment to USA Football for programming including Heads Up Football, NFL FLAG, and NFL Punt, Pass & Kick.
The goal of the partnership is to give children the opportunity to "Play 60" while introducing them to the fast-paced fun of NFL FLAG. In its first year, the program will focus on schools in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and Seattle through the Fuel Up to Play 60 program. The program will reach 73,000 schools nationwide, empowering students to take action to improve nutrition and physical activity.
The free kits will also go to children participating in NRPA after-school programs in NFL markets including Atlanta, Arizona, Buffalo, Carolina, Chicago, Denver, New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis, San Diego, Seattle, and Tampa Bay. One park and recreation agency in each of these areas will also win a $7,500 NFL PLAY 60 grant from NFL Network. Over the course of three years, the NFL/NFL Network/NRPA initiative will work to expand nationwide.
NFL FLAG, powered by USA Football, provides children of all ages with the opportunity to be active and learn the basics of football in a fun environment. More than 230,000 boys and girls ages 5-17 were part of NFL FLAG powered by USA Football last year. With the added reach from Fuel Up to Play 60 and the NRPA's programming, more than 500,000 children will be able to participate in the coming year. Each of the 1,800 NFL FLAG kits distributed through the partnership includes 50 flag belts, 10 footballs and supplemental materials. SHAPE America developed new in-school curriculum to accompany the kits. Fuel Up to Play 60 schools nationwide will be eligible to receive the kits.
The program's first year will culminate with the NFL FLAG national championships at Super Bowl XLIX in Arizona, with the championship games being played at NFL Experience for the first time.
"We want to be sure all kids have the chance to 'Play 60,'" said Commissioner Goodell. "We know many children have their first experience playing football in flag, and we are proud to support an initiative that will help kids be physically active."
"Research shows that physical activity, paired with good nutrition, can help improve students' academic achievement," said Alexis Glick, CEO of GENYOUth Foundation. "This 'learning connection' is key to GENYOUth, Fuel Up to Play 60 and the NFL's continued commitment to generating actionable solutions to get kids eating better and moving more in, and outside of school. The NFL FLAG partnership is a huge step forward in our efforts to support schools with the resources they need to help students succeed, and we are proud to be part of this announcement and in supporting the program."
"In community parks and recreation there is a real commitment to inspiring healthy and active lifestyles especially among children," said Barbara Tulipane, president and CEO of NRPA. "We are excited about the NFL FLAG program because it aligns with this commitment and is a fun way to get kids active."
The event in Renton today included a flag football clinic for local children, a Q&A with parents and Commissioner Goodell. Former players including Mark Bruener, Walter Jones and Aeneas Williams took part in flag drills, "football mom" Chris Golic spoke with parents about her experiences as a sports mom, and Seahawks team physician and USA Football Medical Advisory Committee Chairman Dr. Stanley Herring addressed the importance of physical activity as well as sports safety.
-- NFL Communications