News Release Header
For Immediate Release:
September 20, 2012

Media Contact:
Edith Torres

Conchita Ruiz-Topinka

Miami-Dade Parks' Summer Campers Logged Over 53,000 Miles during its Morning Mile Program, Sponsored by Avmed Health Plans

Eleven year-old Daniil McDonald Ran 115 Miles, Setting a New Summer Camp Record

(Miami-Dade County, FL) -- 
Through the support of AvMed Health Plans, the Morning Mile program returned to 28 Miami-Dade County parks this summer as part of its 2012 Fit-to-Play Summer Camp program.  This year, 1,894 summer campers participated in the Morning Mile program and achieved a new milestone of walking/running 53,204 miles for an average of 28 miles per camper during the program.

One stand out is 11-year old Daniil McDonald who set a new Miami-Dade Parks' record of running 115 miles.  In addition, of the 1,894 summer campers who participated, 21 of them were part of the Miami-Dade Parks' Disability Services program walking/running a total of 436 miles.  Two sibling summer camp participants, Moises and Chelsea Sanchez, lost a combined 75 pounds, thanks to participating in both last year's and this year's Fit-to-Play summer camp and the Morning Mile program, which incorporated into their daily routine, a habit of walking or running daily.

Developed by Fitzness International in Gainesville, FL, the Morning Mile program is designed to get kids active, fit and poised to carry good exercise habits into adulthood, a perfect addition to Miami-Dade Parks' Fit-to-Play summer camps program which teaches kids how to live a healthy lifestyle and provides evidence-based physical fitness activities.  For every five miles logged, they receive necklace charms to mark their progress and incentivize physical fitness.

"We are grateful to AvMed Health Plans for their continued support that enabled us to bring the Morning Mile Program to our summer camp experience for the past two years," said Allison Diego, Director of Business Development, Fundraising and Advocacy for Miami-Dade Parks.  "Their support enriched our successful health and wellness program, and allowed us to expand the Morning Mile to 28 park sites incentivizing and motivating our children to get moving first thing in the morning," she added.

"We always emphasize workplace wellness with our employer groups," said James M. Repp, AvMed Senior Vice President.  "But we realize healthy habits should be learned at an early age.  With the high rate of childhood obesity, we are thrilled the Morning Mile has made a measurable difference in the lives of hundreds of Miami-Dade children."

The Morning Mile program provides participating schools or parks with a program guidebook and everything needed to bring the exercise program to their students.  The program has been so successful with nearly 100 programs in Florida, Texas, California, Louisiana, and on a US Air Force Base near Tokyo, Japan, 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:
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 visit AvMed.

About Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department:
Nationally accredited, 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 more information visit Miami-Dade Parks or call 3-1-1.

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.


# # #


275 NW 2nd Street, 3rd Floor Miami, Florida 33128
(305) 755-7842