PTA Teams Get Pep Talk from Carolina Panthers’ Ben Hartsock

Ben HartsockTeams of parents, teachers, school administrators and medical experts huddled together February 9 at the NCSU McKimmon Center in Raleigh for an action-packed day at Team Up for Healthy Learning –  NCPTA Emerging Leaders Conference, which kicked off with a surprise NFL player appearance!

Ben Hartsock, father of two and tight end for the Carolina Panthers, encouraged a room full of parents and teachers to help children understand the healthy choices they need to make in life. He emphasized letting them use their brain power to come up with their own ideas.

“Hartsock reminded PTA volunteers that if we can get the ball rolling with kids – they will run with it,” said Debra Horton, executive director of NCPTA. “He led by example and jumped right in with parents and teachers for a round of tossing footballs and tackling fun challenges together.”

Jump Start and Sustain
Throughout the day, there were opportunities to learn about various healthy resources in North Carolina, and the Fuel Up to Play 60 program was presented as a resource to help communities jump start and sustain physical activity and healthy nutrition improvements.

Approximately 140 participants signed up to get in on the fun at the conference, which was coordinated with collaborative support from NCPTA, NC Action for Healthy Kids and the Southeast United Dairy Industry Association. School communities from at least 19 counties were represented at the event.

Workshops and trainings focused on equipping parents, educators and community leaders with ideas and tools to work together to improve school wellness environments. Participants could also choose to attend finance and grant writing workshops.

Make the Healthy Connection
“We are making the connection about why students who eat proper nutrition and get adequate physical activity are able to attend school more regularly, concentrate and learn – that’s really what we are after,” said Sarah Martin, state coordinator for NC Action for Healthy Kids. “We asked folks to commit to taking this message home and acting on it, and we emphasized that each person’s way of doing this may be different.”

Event leaders plan to follow up with participants in approximately 30 days to see how they are progressing with the goals they set during the conference.

Just ASK!
When possible, NCPTA and NC Action for Healthy Kids will help with resource connections to assist event participants as they pursue their goals. “If they need help or want to bounce around some ideas, we encourage them to just ask,” said Marianne Weant, coordinator for the NCPTA Just ASK program.

Join the Team!
Team Up for Healthy Learning is a series of collaborative events, coordinated by NCPTA and NC Action for Healthy Kids, in local communities across the state. The next event in the series is planned for March 14, 2013 in Ahoskie. Check upcoming events for a full list of other opportunities offered by NCPTA.

More photos are posted in an album on the North Carolina PTA Facebook page.