Helping Families Become Champions of Play

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Guest post courtesy of Debra Horton, executive director, North Carolina PTA
Learn more about the impact of PTA by watching this Inspired story.

When it comes to being champions, Margie Butts, volunteer, and Kevin Ulmer, president of Codington Elementary PTA (both pictured here with other members of the Codington family), have mastered one thing for sure – they know how to play! We awarded their PTA with a Champions of Play grant in November 2011, and they’ve been off and running ever since – literally!

With a focus on finding fun ways to increase activity levels and improve healthy choices, Codington PTA selected Healthy Child – Healthy World as their school year theme and expanded on the concept by creating the Codington Healthy Family Challenge, which helps participants track their physical activity minutes and their fruit and vegetable intake over six months.

Sometimes people just need someone to help them take the first step, and I am truly inspired by the way we see PTAs across North Carolina – like Codington – creating opportunities to involve the whole family.

Getting Families On Track
To help everyone get a running start and stay motivated, Codington PTA provides families with fitness tips, training plans, healthy recipes and reminders about fun activities around the county. They have even launched a weekly group run/walk on Sundays at the school.

Going the Distance
To celebrate everyone’s steps to healthier choices, all participants are encouraged to join students who are already enrolled in Girls on the Run or STRIDE programs for a fun and challenging 5k in May. Plus, families who log the most hours of physical activity are eligible to win gym memberships, fitness equipment and other prizes to encourage continued physical activity.

Planning for Extra Mileage
Teaming up with educators and school wellness committee members, Codington PTA built their family challenge as a model for other school communities. They openly share their fun, integrated approach and were recently selected to present at the Emerging Leaders Conference at UNC Wilmington.

At the end of the day, it comes down to building a healthy school team, and PTAs are a great avenue for this collaboration.

Want to learn more? Parents and educators who are interested in stepping up to create healthy experiences for students (and families) can join statewide leaders for a special Just ASK Health Coalition workshop at the NCPTA Parent Education Conference Saturday, April 28 in Raleigh. Plus, volunteers can choose to participate in a special Health Track June 2 in Raleigh at the NCPTA Summer Leadership Training. Visit for more information.