September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.
"I like watching football. I really get into it," said the ninth grader from Northfield, Minn.
Ganey was one of 14 students involved in the Fuel Up to Play 60 program who received a free ticket to attend the Minnesota Vikings versus the Denver Broncos football game on Dec. 4 at the Mall of America Field in the Metrodome.
The Fuel Up to Play 60 program is the result of collaboration between the National Football League, the National Dairy Council and the U. S. Department of Agriculture to encourage students to make healthier food choices and play 60 minutes of physical activity every day.
As the Minnesota state ambassador for the program, Ganey has taken a leadership role to encourage other students to live a healthy lifestyle.
"I've always loved being a leader," Ganey said. "I love motivating kids and getting them excited about making healthy choices. By getting them involved in this program, we have given them so much information to help them make healthy choices. I want to be a part of that."
Within her school, Ganey has helped coordinate kickoff and conclusion events for the program and has also helped write grants for money to provide healthy food choices and exercise opportunities.
Bailey Joy Aaneenson, the North Dakota state ambassador, has also worked with her school to motivate healthy choices.
"I saw a need for a change in our school as far as healthy lunches," said the high school freshman, who is from West Fargo, N.D.
At her school, she and other leaders involved with the program studied the ingredients in their school's lunches and made a list available to students explaining healthy food combinations. They also planned after school physical activity events.
"We had these events so kids could try new sports," she said.
Currently, Aaneenson and the other Fuel Up to Play 60 leaders at her school are trying to get blenders at the school to make healthy smoothies.
"We're trying to get yogurt and milk-based smoothies right now because we found students like them," she said. "It's a great alternative to offer the students."
In addition to receiving a free Vikings game ticket, the students were able to be on the field before the game to take pictures and meet with Princess Kay, Mary Zahurones. Before returning to their seats at the start of the game, they had the chance to run out of the Viking ship onto the field with Princess Kay.
"It's great to be down on the field and be so close to the players," Zahurones said. "It's great that the NFL players can be role models for the kids in schools."
Zahurones said there are a lot of benefits to the Fuel Up to Play 60 program, such as encouraging students to get 60 minutes of physical activity every day and eating healthy foods, including dairy products.
"We all know physical activity is incredibly beneficial, especially with childhood obesity being such a prevalent problem," she said.
Ken Herbranson, a dairy farmer from Otter Tail County and the chairman of the Midwest Dairy Association Minnesota Division Board, agreed.
"Fuel Up to Play 60 is a wonderful program. Kids today, both boys and girls, identify with the NFL more than any other sport. It's an opportunity for us to engage the children in teaching them how to eat right, including dairy, and how to play hard to use those calories in order to be fit," he said.
Although the program is relatively new, Herbranson said he thinks it is a program that has a strong future.
"It's really fun being down here on the field," Herbranson said. "The kids are smiling and having fun. This is special for them and a way for us to showcase this super program where we have a chance to encourage good eating and exercise habits."[[In-content Ad]]
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