News Release Header
For Immediate Release:
August 17, 2012

Media Contact:
Laura Phillips


Miami-Dade County Parks Helping Kids Stay Fit for Life with its ''Fit-To-Play: Health, Wellness & Obesity Prevention'' Out-of-School Program

(Miami-Dade County, FL) -- 
When making that back-to-school checklist, your child's health and well being should top that list. The Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department in its long-standing commitment to help keep our community's kids healthy and fit invites parents to register their children, ages 6-14, in its "Fit-to-Play: Health, Wellness and Obesity Prevention" Out-of-School Program.  Kids will enjoy fun, fully-supervised programming after school with activities focused on fitness, nutrition and wellness, and developing their appreciation of nature, science and the cultural arts.  The program operates Monday through Friday, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., throughout the school year, including school vacation breaks, from August 20, 2012 through June 6, 2013 at 34 sites.

"Our evidence-based fitness and wellness program encourages kids to stay healthy and active throughout their lives, and prepares them with life skills that will help them to reach their full potential and to become better citizens," said Miami-Dade County Parks Director Jack Kardys.

Each day's session begins with homework help, followed by Sports, Play and Active Recreation for Kids (SPARK) activities. SPARK is an evidence-based, outcome-oriented active recreation component of the Out-of-School program, dedicated to improving the quantity and quality of physical activity that children engage in.  It is designed to develop and improve motor skills, movement knowledge, and social and personal skills. With parental permission, Miami-Dade County Parks will track and measure key health indicators in participants, such as blood pressure and Body Mass Index (BMI), assisting parents and children to make informed decisions about their fitness and nutrition needs. Upon completion of the programs, participants will know how much their fitness levels have improved through charted documentation.

For the third consecutive year, Miami-Dade County Parks has partnered with the University of Miami UHealth System, engaging it to provide oversight of its Out-of-School Program's health, wellness and obesity prevention initiatives.  UHealth also provides all of the health testing and education components for these programs.

This unique program aimed at making fitness fun for kids of all ages and abilities, includes children with disabilities.   Under the supervision of Miami-Dade Parks certified therapeutic recreation specialists, children with disabilities can choose to participate alongside children without disabilities or at sites exclusively made up of children with disabilities.

Miami-Dade County Parks offers transportation to pick up children at nearby schools and transport them to the program at select park sites for an additional charge.

In addition to its General Program previously described, Miami-Dade County Parks also offers a Specialized Out-of-School Program at the Deering Estate at Cutler through the Estate's award winning Living Classroom.  Equipped with fossils, artifacts and tools, live or preserved specimens, photographs and simple laboratory experiments, the Estate's Education and Interpretive Staff use hands-on interdisciplinary curriculum in the fields of ecology, geology, marine biology, archaeology, history, and art.  The NESTT (Nurturing Environmental Stewards of Today and Tomorrow) Marine Conservation Science and Policy, Wildlife Conservation, Marine Mobile and Geo Mobile Programs can be scheduled at any park or community center as part of an after-school care program.  Classes are typically offered once weekly for a two hour session.  These programs are also taught onsite at the Deering Estate at Cutler as part of its EcoAcademy and can be offered at Miami-Dade County Parks' various nature centers upon request or through a home school program. For more information, please visit, or call 305-235-1668, ext. 222.

There is no deadline to register for either the General or Specialized programs; however parents are encouraged to register early before programs fill to capacity.  Affordable prices vary per park and parents must register directly with the individual park.  For more information, please visit Miami-Dade Parks' website  or call 3-1-1 or any of the participating parks listed below.

Miami-Dade Parks is funded in part by The Children's Trust.  The Children's Trust is a dedicated source of revenue established by voter referendum to improve the lives of children and families in Miami-Dade County.

Below is a list of both the General Program and Specialized Program sites of the Miami-Dade Parks Fit-to-Play: Health, Wellness and Obesity Prevention Out-of-School program.

(*) These sites are sponsored by The Children's Trust
(+) Program exclusively for children and adults with disabilities, ages 6-22.



In addition to the general program camp, Westwind Lakes Park also offers a program exclusively for people with disabilities, ages 6-22, 305-380-9106 *+


  • Camp Matecumbe, 11400 SW 137 Ave.,305-752-4966 Program exclusively for people with disabilities, ages 6-22 *+
    Cinco de Mayo Park, 19350 SW 384 St., 305-242-7930 *
  • Coral Estates Park, 1405 SW 97 Ave., 305-226-1622 Program exclusively for people with disabilities, ages 6-22 *+
  • Deerwood Bonita Lakes Park, 14445 SW 122 Ave., 305-234-1660 (on-line registration available)
  • Eureka Villas Park, 14301 SW 180 St., 305-254-5856 (on-line registration available)
  • Goulds Park, 11350 SW 216 St., 305-255-2399 and 305-234-1673 Program exclusively for people with disabilities, ages 6-22 *+ (on-line registration available)
  • Hammocks Community Park, 9885 Hammocks Blvd., 305-380-6917 (on-line registration available)
  • Leisure Lake Park, 29305 Illinois Rd., 305-248-1527 *
  • Modello Park, 28450 SW 152 Ave., 305-247-1553
  • Naranja Park, 14150 SW 264 St., 305-258-1945 * 
  • Sgt. Joseph Delancy Park, 14450 Boggs Dr., 305-235-4503 (on-line registration available)
  • South Dade Park, 28151 SW 164 Ave., 305-247-9453 (on-line registration available)
  • Southridge Park, 11250 SW 192 St., 786-293-4549 (on-line registration available)
  • Tamiami Park, 11201 SW 24 St., 305-222-2128 Program exclusively for people with disabilities, ages 6-22 +*
  • West Perrine Park, 17121 SW 104 Ave., 305-235-2053
    * These sites are sponsored by The Children's Trust

Specialized Out of School Programs

Deering Estate at Cutler Out-of-School Programs - NESTT (Nurturing Environmental Stewards of Today and Tomorrow) Marine Conservation Science and Policy, Wildlife Conservation, Marine Mobile and Geo Mobile Programs:

About the Parks, Recreation & 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.

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.  For more information, visit Parks Foundation.


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