Last fall, 15,794 kids across Alaska committed to the Healthy Futures Challenge.
Two of those children were Hance, age 10, and Lily, 7.
These two siblings changed how their whole family looked at physical activity.
It used to be that their mom, Heather, had her own activities. She likes to run and hike, sometimes right out her back door in Anchorage. Their dad, Anthony, also runs.
But the kids? Heather said it was sometimes a struggle to get them off the couch and moving. The parents’ efforts to get them outside for an adventure were answered with complaints and moans.
Then Heather started noticing a change. The kids were asking her if they could get out and play.
“I was stunned,” Heather said. “I about fell on the floor the first time my daughter came to me and begged me to go out running with her for 30 minutes.”
When Heather asked her why, Lily said she had promised her physical education teacher that she was going to be physically active that day. If she didn’t honor her commitment, she wouldn’t successfully finish the Healthy Futures Challenge that has children logging their physical activity for three months in the fall, and again in the spring. She wouldn’t get her prize at the end of the month if she wasn’t physically active enough days each week.
Something similar happened another night.
“We were just about ready to bundle them off to bed when they both protested that they needed to get out and do something or they would come up short for the week,” Heather said. “It was dark and in the single digits, but there was no way I was going to deny them, especially when it was their idea, even if it meant being late to bed.”
The Aften-Dorsch family put on their snow pants, coats and headlamps and went out for a nighttime walk with their dog.
Now, even when the Healthy Futures Challenge is done for the year, the kids still ask to get out and play. As Heather says, the healthy habit has been made, and now they are just active because it’s fun and makes them feel good.
This winter, the Aften-Dorsch family helped the Play Every Day campaign film public service announcements about their commitment to the Healthy Futures Challenge and getting out to play, every day.
Click on the video below to see what the Challenge has done for this Anchorage family. Find out if your child’s school is signed up for the Healthy Futures Challenge this spring by visiting the Healthy Futures website.