Local dairy farmers Jim and Willyn Webb didn't get to see the Broncos prevail in Super Bowl XLVIII, but they did get a chance to rub elbows with John Elway, Jerry Rice, Governor John Hickenlooper, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Broncos executives and national media representatives over the weekend.
Jim Webb, vice chairman of the Western Dairy Association, attended the festivities as a dairy farmer representative for the Fuel Up to Play 60/GENYOUth program.
His wife Willyn was invited along because she is an author and an educator who works with youth every day as a teacher/counselor at Delta Opportunity School. They were accompanied by Cindy Haren, president and CEO of the Western Dairy Association (WDA).
The WDA is affiliated with the National Dairy Council, which has partnered with the National Football League to create the GENYouth Foundation. The foundation's flagship program is Fuel Up to Play 60, the largest health and wellness program in schools across the country. The program empowers youth to take action to improve nutrition and physical activity at their school and for their own health.
Jim Webb was at a WDA board meeting just a week prior to the Super Bowl when his name came up as the association's representative. He quickly texted Willyn, and she agreed to accompany him to New York City.
At the peak of the snowstorm that hit Colorado last week, they drove cautiously through the snow-covered mountains to get to Denver International Airport. By Friday night, they were in New York City networking with celebrities at the 40/40 Club, which is owned by JAY Z.
On Saturday morning they toured the impressive GENYouth offices. CEO Alexis Glick, formerly of FOX News, explained GENYOUth's mission to inspire and educate youth to improve their nutrition and physical activity.
They also visited the 9/11 memorial and met David Bruton, the Denver Bronco who is the spokesperson for the Fuel Up to Play 60 program in Colorado. He visits schools with Miles the mascot to support the events coordinated by student ambassadors.
The Webbs stayed at the Four Seasons, where Justin Bieber was also a guest. Every time they left the hotel, they encountered huge groups of teenage girls hoping for a glimpse of Bieber.
At the game, Jim and Willyn found themselves surrounded by very vocal Seahawks fans. Willyn said Renée Fleming's rendition of the national anthem was "exceptional," and both she and Jim thought it was fun being part of the halftime show. The flashes of red, white and blue in the stands were generated by hats provided to every ticket holder at MetLife Stadium. On cue, they donned their hats, flipped a switch and the light show was on.
While the goal of the trip was to spread the word about Fuel Up to Play 60, they returned home even more dedicated to student wellness.
At GENYOUth Foundation, former surgeon general David Satcher talked about research into the effects of children's nutrition on learning. Webb was struck by the similarities between his research and the "learning connection" that's an integral part of Delta Opportunity School's "Food for Thought" program.
Most schools, Willyn said, put learning ahead of basic needs like making sure students are eating healthy foods and getting enough sleep. But research shows sometimes that's not the way to go — that if schools will deal with some of those basic needs, the students will do better academically.
That's one reason she's excited to help launch the Fuel Up to Play 60 at Delta Opportunity School. With grant funds in hand, Webb, principal Delaine Hudson and staff are working out the details of a new fitness class and grab-and-go breakfasts in the classrooms.
Fuel Up to Play 60 encourages youth to consume nutrient-rich foods (low-fat and fat-free dairy foods, fruits, vegetables and whole grains) and achieve at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day.
"We're very excited about adding a physical education class at DOS," Willyn said.
Even more exciting, the check-off dollars the Webbs and other dairy farmers across the country have been dedicating to the health and wellness of kids will be used to make a difference in the health of youth right here in Delta.blog comments powered by Disqus