What happens when you combine fifth graders, football, and dairy farmers? A whole lot of fun.

That's what happened during Minnesota's Fuel Up to Play 60 event at a Vikings home game earlier this month.

Fifth grade students from around Minnesota earned a trip to US Bank Stadium to watch a Vikings game through their schools' Fuel Up to Play 60 programs. These students help lead their local programs as FUTP60 ambassadors. They qualified for the trip by implementing wellness activities that promote good nutrition and getting 60 minutes of physical activity each day.

Fuel Up to Play 60 was started by a partnership between the National Football League and America's dairy farmers (through the National Dairy Council). In Minnesota, Midwest Dairy Association coordinates the program and provides nutrition education to participating schools.

To help students make the connection back to dairy farming, Midwest Dairy invited the dairy farmers serving on the Minnesota Dairy Growth Alliance Steering Committee to participate in the FUTP60 event at the Vikings game. Princess Kay of the Milky Way, Haley Hinrichs, was also there to connect with students.

We - meaning students, parents, school staff, and dairy farmers - spent an hour visiting together outside before the game. Dairy farmers got to tell students about their farms and students got to tell dairy farmers about their schools' Fuel Up to Play 60 programs.

Then we all ventured into the stadium. Part of the event was presenting the Fuel Up to Play 60 flag on the field during the pre-game ceremony, so our first stop in the stadium was the field itself.

It was really cool to watch the students' excitement as they stepped onto the field. I couldn't help but feel proud that dairy farmers are helping to make this opportunity possible for these student leaders.

After the Fuel Up to Play 60 recognition on the field, we watched the theatric introduction of the teams. Then, the students got to line up with the Vikings players for the national anthem. Again, an incredibly exciting opportunity for these students - made possible, in part, by dairy farmers.

Following our appearance on the field, we found our seats to watch the game. Even though we were, as Glen put it, sitting with the air ducts, we had a great view of the field.

I didn't really care that we were so high up, because I got to sit between Glen and Haley (aka Princess Kay). Whether she's six or 96, every dairy girl dreams of getting to sit next to Princess Kay. I greatly enjoyed getting to know Haley better and she said it was great for her to meet more of the dairy farmers she represents.

We all had a lot of fun watching the Vikings win, 24-10, over the New York Giants. The atmosphere inside the new stadium was electric. And really loud. I was grateful that Glen remembered to bring earplugs for both of us.

Like the Vikings' victory, Fuel Up to Play 60 is a win for students, schools, communities, dairy farmers, and the NFL. As the nation's largest in-school health and wellness program, FUTP60 benefits more than 38 million students in 73,000 schools across the country.

Even better, the program is free for schools. Dairy farmers and the NFL are just two of several partners that help fund the program, which includes providing grants to schools that are committed to making healthy changes.

For me, the event was an incredible opportunity to learn more about Fuel Up to Play 60 and to see several of my interests - good nutrition, physical activity, and leadership development - show up together in the same place.

I have always been interested in human nutrition - and now I'm trying to encourage my own children to make good decisions about the foods they eat. I'm equally interested in keeping kids active and, especially, encouraging physical fitness through play. (They'll have the rest of their lives to exercise.) I also fully believe that leaders are made - not born - so we need programs that help students develop the confidence and skills they need to lead their peers.

It's quite remarkable that Fuel Up to Play 60 brings all of these benefits - and a whole lot of fun - to students across America.

All because the National Dairy Council and the NFL sat down five years ago and decided to work together. Incredible things happen when we form strong partnerships and pool our resources.

Sadie and her husband, Glen, milk 75 cows near Melrose, Minn. They have three children - Dan, 9, Monika, 7, and Daphne, 3. Sadie also writes a blog at www.dairygoodlife.com. She can be reached at sadiefrericks@gmail.com.