Students at Paul Revere Elementary School spent the afternoon Monday tossing footballs, spinning around tackling dummies and sprinting across obstacle courses.
“This is way more fun than our regular P.E. class,” Melissa, a fourth-grader, said. “My favorite part was when I threw the football into the net. I didn’t think I could, but I did it.”
The drills were part of the NFL Play 60 program. Representatives from the Los Angeles Chargers stopped by the Anaheim Elementary School District campus to organize about a dozen exercises for more than 180 students.
The NFL allows for each of the league’s 32 teams to sponsor schools or youth programs in each team’s region. Participating schools receive two training sessions a year where Charger representatives visit to organize NFL-style, non-contact exercise drills.
Besides the exercise sessions, schools’ P.E. teachers receive training on how they can incorporate some of these drills throughout the year. All the exercises are aligned with the FitnessGram testing protocols, currently used as the state’s health-related fitness assessment for public schools. The NFL picks up all costs associated with the program.
At Paul Revere, Orange County United Way and Orange County Department of Education joined the Chargers in planning the event as part of the OC Healthy School Initiative, an ongoing, multi-agency effort to empower schools to promote the health and well-being of their community.
Volunteers from Eaton Worldwide, an aerospace corporation with a campus in Irvine, also helped students run through the drills.
“Our goal is to get kids everywhere more active,” said Taylor Chavez, a Chargers community relations representative. “If we can get them to spend at least 60 minutes each day in physical activity, they’ll do better in the classroom and at home. Plus, it’s a way for them to have more fun.”
The Play 60 program is geared for children ages 7 to 14. Last year, the Chargers worked with 84 campuses in Orange and Los Angeles counties, reaching 9,000 students.