With the 2011-2012 Boosterthon program now in full swing, we thought we’d give our readers insight into the Epic Adventure character theme, and why we choose our character lessons, or adventure actions as we are calling them this year.

While we love all four adventure actions, with the increase in childhood obesity in the U.S, our adventure action “Play” may be our most pertinent lesson to students.

play 1When choosing “Play,” it obviously complimented the fitness component of our program nicely, but being aware of the obesity epidemic, the adventure action had much more depth than we initially thought. After speaking with representatives at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA), the nation’s largest children’s healthcare organization, we were able to learn just how severe childhood obesity has become—it’s tripled in the last 30 years.

CHOA recommends children play for 60 minutes every day to help combat weight gain and live a healthy lifestyle—that’s where our challenge to students comes from: Spend 60 minutes outside playing with friends.

Also, hearing about kids’ increased screen time (watching TV, using the computer, playing video games) from CHOA got us thinking about what we did with our free time as elementary schoolers. What were our favorite activities? What did a typical Saturday look like as a 5th grader? What got us excited about the outdoors? And “Play” took on another level of depth. Mixed with modern statistics, “Play” in the Epic Adventure theme, actually has an old-fashioned feel to it. Boosterthon team members encourage students to explore, make forts, play pick-up games, get a group together and invent a game, and whatever you do, try to do it outside.

play 2

What got us excited about playing as students was just being outside with friends. Having the free time to explore our surroundings, to “not come back ‘till the streetlights come on,” to get dirty and sweaty, maybe scrape a knee climbing a tree. It’s part of being a kid, and it’s fun.

The Epic Adventurers Club videos that students are able to watch during our program depict a group of students that love to have adventures outside. They have water balloon fights, explore the woods, and are curious about their neighborhood. The outspoken, funny one in the group, Spooner, boldly states that he’s a true adventurer because he has “the scrapes, the grass stains, and dirt in [his] shoes to prove it!”

Being an adventurer means being outside, not virtually interacting with people or places, but exploring first-hand. 430,000 students will hear about the importance of “Play” this school year, and we’re excited to see world change, even in a small way, through the message that fitness is fun.

Interested in the importance of “Play?” Check out this article on how parents, not students, may be adding to the lack of activity in kids’ lives.