(Miami-Dade County, FL) -- Children enrolled in Miami-Dade Parks' summer camps are poised to run more than 26,000 miles with the expansion of the successful Morning Mile program sponsored by AvMed Health Plans. Campers at 26 sites will begin their summer camp day with a morning run, jog or walk. For every five miles logged, they'll receive an incentive prize. The program is designed to get kids active, fit and poised to carry good exercise habits into adulthood.
The Morning Mile was first introduced last summer to more than 1,200 campers, ages
6 -14, at 20 sites. Campers logged an average of three miles per week for a total of 26,079 miles. With the program expanding to an additional six sites, campers are poised to exceed that number.
To mark the start of the new, expanded program, a series of three kick-offs will take place at the Miami-Dade County parks listed below. Events will include a one-mile run/walk with the children and invited dignitaries, and a few words from participants.
Thursday, June 14, 2012 at 9:00 a.m. (South)
Hammocks Community Park
9885 Hammocks Boulevard o Miami
Event to include Miami-Dade County Board of Commission Chairman Joe A. Martinez, Miami-Dade Parks Director Jack Kardys, and AvMed Health Plans Senior Vice President James M. Repp.
Friday, June 15, 2012 at 9:00 a.m. (Central)
Jefferson Reaves, Sr. Park
3090 NW 50th Street o Miami
Event to include Miami-Dade County Board of Commission Vice Chairwoman Audrey M. Edmonson, Miami-Dade Parks Assistant Director Kevin Kirwin, and AvMed Health Plans Senior Vice President James M. Repp.
Monday, June 18, 2012 at 9:00 a.m. (North)
Country Village Park
6550 NW 188 Terrace o Miami
Event to include Miami-Dade County District 1 Commissioner Barbara J. Jordan, MDPROS Assistant Director Kevin Kirwin and AvMed Health Plans and Regional Head of Sales & Client Management Pat Nelson.
"Healthy habits begin at an early age and Miami-Dade Parks is proud to have partners like AvMed Health Plans to help us reinforce the importance of physical fitness and overall wellness," said Miami-Dade Parks Director Jack Kardys. The more kids are moving, the less likely they are to be battling childhood obesity.
"Given that one out of every five kids in America is considered overweight, any program that keeps children active and engaged in healthy activities is a step (in this case, literally) in the right direction," said James M. Repp, AvMed Senior Vice President. "At AvMed we see the devastating impact of unhealthy life choices among adults. We've embraced the Morning Mile program as a way to intervene early and create good habits at a young age. It's a win-win for all of us."
New parks offering the Morning Mile Program include Bird Lakes, Gwen Cherry, Jefferson Reaves Sr., Leisure Lakes, Norma & Jean Reach and West Perrine. The 20 returning parks include Arcola Park, Arcola Lakes Park, Cinco de Mayo Park, Continental Park, Country Village Park, Deerwood-Bonita Lakes Park, Goulds Park, Hammocks Community Park, Highland Oaks Park, Martin Luther King Park, North Glade Park, North Trail Park, Raices at Miller Drive Park, Ruben Dario Park, South Dade Park, Sgt. Joe Delancy Park, Tamiami Park, Tropical Estates Park, Westwind Lakes Park, and Disability Services at Westwind Lakes Park (this program is for children with disabilities).
Developed by Fitzness International in Gainesville, FL, the Morning Mile program provides participating schools or parks with a program guidebook and everything they need to bring the exercise program to their students. The program has been so successful with 84 programs in Florida and Texas that venues around the United States and beyond have applied to participate so they can implement the program as well. A grant from AvMed provided the funding for the Morning Mile starter kits, which give parks the instructions and materials to start the program. To learn more about the program, visit Morning Mile.
About AvMed Health Plans:
About The Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade: The Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that supports the Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department's effort to further develop Miami-Dade County's world-class parks system for residents and visitors. Its mission is to create a healthier, more livable and sustainable Miami community by ensuring the implementation of the Parks Open Space Master Plan and the development of year-round park and recreation programs for local children, adults and people with disabilities.
AvMed has been providing health care coverage to Florida citizens and businesses for over 40 years, serving large and small employers in most major markets around the state. AvMed provides Medicare Advantage products in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, and Individual coverage in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties. For more information about AvMed, visit www.avmed.org.
About the Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department:
Nationally accredited, a three-time winner of the NRPA National Gold Medal Award and winner of the 2009 Florida Governor's Sterling Award for excellence in management and operations, Miami-Dade Parks is the third largest county park system in the United States, consisting of 260 parks and 12,825 acres of land. It is one of the most unique park and recreation systems in the world. Made up of more than just playgrounds and athletic fields, it also comprises out-of-school, sports-development, and summer-camp programs; programs for seniors and people with disabilities; educational nature centers and nature preserves; environmental restoration efforts; arts and culture programs and events; the renowned Zoo Miami and the Deering Estate at Cutler; the Crandon Tennis Center, home of the Sony Ericsson Open; golf courses; beaches; marinas; campgrounds; pools; and more. For information about Miami-Dade Parks call 3-1-1, or visit Miami-Dade Parks.