|November 25, 2013 -
The Tennessee Recreation and Parks Association has named Knoxville's annual Let's Move! Event as the 2013 Four Star Award for Excellence recipient for the Special Events Programming category.
The Tennessee Recreation and Parks Association (TRPA) is a state organization of parks and recreation agency professionals throughout Tennessee. The Four Star Awards are presented at the annual TRPA state conference, which was held in Chattanooga last week.
Based on First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! campaign to "raise a healthier generation of kids," Knoxville's Let's Move! Event offers "a greenway of activities" in which children and their families are able to try new fitness opportunities and nutritional options for free.
"We're proud to be recognized by the Tennessee Recreation and Parks Association for this important event," said Mayor Madeline Rogero. "The Let's Move! Event has made an impact on our community by providing a hands-on experience to show families the many recreation opportunities available in our city."
When registering for Knoxville's Let's Move! Event, children receive a Let's Move! Adventure Map to have stamped as they complete activities for door prizes. This year's event, held on May 4th, had more than 60 vendors offering activities such as kayaking, traditional sports, fencing, dance, karate, climbing walls, fluoride treatments, fresh fruit tasting, and more. Some of the prominent sponsors of the Let's Move! Event have been Home Depot, which has given away 1,000 tomato plants to kids each year, and Walgreens, which provides a walking kit to every registered child.
The Let's Move! Event was started in 2012 when Knox County Coordinated School Health approached Knoxville Parks and Recreation about starting an event with activities along a greenway. Fifteen local organizations joined in the planning committee and the Let's Move! Event was born.
"The team effort for this event has been remarkable," said Joe Walsh, Director of Knoxville Parks and Recreation. "We've been able to pull together partnering organizations, sponsors, and volunteers that all have the same goal of encouraging our youth to eat healthier and move more outside."
The TRPA Four Star Award is not the first achievement the Let's Move! Event has earned for Knoxville. After creating the Let's Move! Event, Knoxville and Knox County submitted applications jointly to participate in the National League of Cities Let's Move! Cities, Towns and Counties initiative. The program challenges local governments to commit to five goals aimed at reducing childhood obesity. In April 2013, Knoxville and Knox County were ranked #1 among more than 300 Let's Move! Cities, Towns and Counties.
In July, Mayor Rogero was invited by First Lady Michelle Obama to speak about Knoxville's efforts in addressing childhood obesity on a panel of four elected officials at a White House ceremony.
This month, the National League of Cities recognized Knoxville and Knox County as two of 18 top achieving cities in the Let's Move! Cities, Towns and Counties initiative.
Since the 2009/10 school year, Knox County Health Department BMI screens of Knox County students resulting in students either being overweight or obese have dropped from 38 percent to 33.2 percent.
"Though it's exciting for Knoxville to be receiving these national and state accolades, our main goal is to give our youth the skills and opportunities for a healthy future," said Mayor Rogero. "That's always been our focus in this initiative, and that's where we will continue our efforts."
Knoxville's 2014 Let's Move! Event will be held May 3rd in Victor Ashe Park. For more information on the Let's Move! Event, please visit www.letsmoveknoxville.com.
For information on the Tennessee Recreation and Parks Association, please visit www.trpa.net.