Intro to Be Proactive, Get Active!

It is no secret that childhood obesity is a major problem in today’s society! My platform Be Proactive, Get Active was developed to help encourage children to find forms of physical activity that they enjoy and begin making healthy lifestyle choices that will last a lifetime. It was inspired by my participation with the Fuel Up to Play 60 Program. Because my mom is a former elementary Physical Education and Health teacher, I have been exposed to the dangers of inactivity, unhealthy eating habits, and poor lifestyle choices since I was young. I am lucky that she and my dad, a golfer and cyclist, are positive role models for my sisters and me. Since I was very young they encouraged me to try a variety of sports and physical activities so I could find out what I really enjoyed. I’ve learned that it doesn’t really matter what form of activity you choose as long as you choose to be active.

I was introduced to the NFL’s Fuel Up to Play 60 through my PE classes many years ago. By participating in this program I began personally making healthy choices like joining my school’s jogging club, taking my dog on afterschool walks, playing outside, and riding my bike. As my love for physical activity grew and became a habit I began looking for ways to inspire others to get moving. The NFL’s Fuel Up to Play 60 program gave me all the tools and resources I needed to not only track my own progress but also encourage others to do the same.

After I recorded enough point through the program’s website I became a Student Ambassador for this amazing organization! Last month I attended the National Fuel Up to Play 60 Ambassador Summit. I met with students from 43 states along with leaders from the National Football League, National Dairy Council, SAP, and GENYOUth Foundation to discover how we can work together to tackle childhood obesity. During my week at the summit I spent time at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium, participated in a Quaker Oats Cook-Off Challenge, placed in the Top 3 in the YouthTalks competition, met 5 NFL players, and made friendships that will last a lifetime! Attending this conference was an incredible opportunity, and I am extremely excited about partnering with Fuel Up to Play 60 to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic during my reign as Miss Teen International!

Some of the ways I promote my platform are by starting community walks called “Walking Wednesday”, speaking to students at elementary and middle schools, initiating “plays” from Fuel Up to Play 60’s playbook, volunteering at local 5Ks and marathons, distributing nutritious snacks in environments that typically serve unhealthy foods, mentoring athletes at the Miracle League and Special Olympics, and my absolute favorite way to promote healthy living is through frequent updates on social media! If we choose to take a proactive stance to improve our health, we can prevent future problems like obesity, heart disease and diabetes. By informing children of these dangers, empowering them to make a change, and helping them find ways to make healthy living fun, we can put an end to the obesity epidemic that is plaguing our globe!

I will be sharing more about my goals for the coming year as well as my strategy to help create a healthier generation in a later post! Until then, I encourage you all to go to www.fueluptoplay60.com, create an account, and start the journey to a healthier you! Don’t forget to be proactive and get active today!

If you believe in something, believe in it all the way!

Blair

Miss Teen International 2014

Saturday, August 2nd, I was crowned the new Miss Teen International! I can’t begin to express just how humbled, honored and excited I am about my year of service! I want to extend a special thank you to Ms. Mary, Mr. Mel, and the entire International System for entrusting me with this national title. Over the next year I will be sharing my journey with you, but first I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you a little more about myself!

I am 17 years old. I will be a senior at the historic Little Rock Central High School. My nickname is Bear Bear. I was born January 21, 1997, only 14 short months after my oldest sister, Madison. She just graduated and is leaving for college next week. My little sister, Payton, will be a freshman in high school. Being one of 3 girls is something only sisters can truly understand. We fight and fuss as much as we get along, but having these two best friends that know all about me and love me anyway is one of the greatest blessings in my life. My mom, Karyn, is an elementary school Gifted and Talented teacher. My dad, Keith, is a mechanical engineer and the manager of our family business. In a later post I will tell you lots more about my wonderful family.

Family

I have always loved to dress up. It is hard to find a picture of me before I started pre-school when I wasn’t in some kind of costume! I was the biggest Barney fan on the planet. I saw him live in concert twice! In elementary school I had some incredible teachers that instilled in me a love for reading. The Harry Potter series still one of my all-time favorites to date. I am absolutely crazy about puppies. I have a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel name Alex. I might be a little biased but I think he is the CUTEST!

My family has always been very active. As a child I played tennis, golf, soccer, and basketball. I took gymnastics and started dancing at age 3. I am thankful for this introduction to physical activity at an early age because it taught me healthy habits that will last a lifetime. In middle school I tried to balance studying, a social life, soccer, cheerleading and dance, but sadly realized there wasn’t enough time for everything. I chose to pursue dancing and was a member of a competitive dance team for many years. My dance family members at Rock City Dance Center have been some of my biggest supporters and fans. Although I am not currently on the team, I take technique classes at my studio weekly. It is one of the ways I stay active now and I can’t imagine where I would be without the love and encouragement of my dance teachers!!!

Sisters

Entering high school brought many new opportunities for growth and change. I eagerly began participating in clubs and organizations as a way to plug in and make a difference in my school and community. My sophomore year I was chosen to represent my school at the Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership Seminar. I had no idea at the time that this three day event would set me on an unexpected path. The things I learned at HOBY about leadership and service literally changed my life. I knew from that moment on that I would be used to help inspire my peers to find ways we can make life a little better for those around us. I have volunteered many places over the past few years but spending time at the Miracle League with my “buddies,” attending elementary school events and making classroom visits to inspire healthy lifestyle choices, and my internship with the American Heart Association have been some of my favorites. The children, leaders, and athletes I’ve met will forever hold a special place in my heart.

HOBY

There are several things that most people don’t know about me. First, I am a certified scuba diver. My older sister and I were pushed to the depths of the sea by my dad. Ha! Not really, but we did get scuba diving lessons for Christmas one year so we could go on underwater adventures and explore with him. I don’t get to go often but when I do, I love it! I also LOVE drama. No, not the kind of drama you’re thinking of! I try to avoid “girl drama” at all costs but you can’t keep me away from a good play, musical, or production! I’ve never seen one I didn’t like, but I think Wicked will forever be my favorite. I was made up like Elphaba by an official Wicked makeup artist when she visited my drama class at school last year. It was awesome!!! My friends were green with envy.

Wicked

I have so much more to share but there will be plenty of time for that later. As I reflect on where I’ve been and anticipate where I am going I can’t help but smile and be thankful. I am looking forward to a year full of appearances, service, and lasting memories. Let’s join together and inspire one another to be more than we thought we could ever be!

Whatever you believe in, believe in it all the way!

Blair

National Dance Day

Dancing has been a big part of my life ever since I was a little girl. I have been taking classes since I was two, have always loved being on the “big stage”, and have spent the past 6 years as a competitive dancer in both regional and nation dance competitions and in pageants. To say I love this sport is an understatement! Here are my biggest reasons why I love being a dancer:

1- It keeps me physically fit. Anyone that says that dance isn’t a sport has clearly not tried it! It takes a combination of endurance, strength, flexibility, and grace to perform well.
2- I have made so many friends and gained so many mentors throughout my dance career. I’ve had several teachers make a big impact on my life, and I’ve made lifelong friendships through the dance studio.
3- It has taught me patience, perseverance, and how to set goals for myself. You have to be patient with yourself, have to persevere to learn new skills, and it helps you overcome obstacles through goal setting. I’ve been able to apply these skills to many other aspects of my life!
4- It has showed me how to work effectively on a team through collaboration. Being in a dance with a large group of people takes a lot of work! It requires communication and compromise to be a great team!
5- Lastly, dancing is FUN! It gives me an opportunity to be creative, let loose, and enjoy myself. I’m grateful for this outlet that I’m lucky enough to call my favorite sport and hobby.

I’m extremely thankful for the opportunity to dance! I love being a part of the studio family at Rock City Dance Center, and I’m very grateful for all of the skills, memories, and friends that I have gained from participation in this sport!

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Parfait Party Cone

At the Fuel Up to Play 60 Ambassador Summit, Quaker Oats sponsored a cook off challenge for all of the students to participate in. The only requirements were that it had to have oats, a dairy product, and a fruit or vegetable. My team came up with the Parfait Party Cone, and we think it was delicious! It’s easy to prepare, is appealing to kids, great for breakfast or a snack, and it is nutritious! Here’s the ingredients:

-Yogurt (Greek or regular- we had both!)
-Strawberries
-Blueberries
-Granola (we made ours from oats but you can buy it from the store)
-Chocolate (we used the kind that’s designed for dipping strawberries but you can also melt chocolate chips)
-Waffle or Sugar Ice Cream Cones

1- Mix the fruits into the yogurt
2- dip the rim of the cone into the melted chocolate then roll in granola while wet
3- put the yogurt in the cone

This recipe is super simple yet really tasty! It is kid friendly and easy to take on the go. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

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Pinnacle Mountain

One of my favorite things to do is climb Pinnacle Mountain with friends! One of the nicest things about living in the Natural State is having so many beautiful outdoor options for physical activity. Even though some areas don’t have as many as Arkansas, there are always options based on your state’s geography. It could be snow skiing, walks on the beach, hiking in the mountains, or swimming in lakes or rivers! It is great to take advantage of where you live and don’t forget to #BeProactiveGetActive!

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Little Rock Fashion Week

I had a great time last Friday at LRFW’s Bare Show! My mom and I went to not just watch the show but to see Kelsey Theall, Miss Arkansas International and my sister queen, host the event! The models wore no makeup, had very natural hairstyles, and modeled simple yet fashionable clothing. It was called Bare because the models were just being themselves without the hair, makeup, and extravagant wardrobe that most models would have in a fashion show. It was very inspiring! We were challenged to go about our regular activities for the day with a bare face and simple hair. I accepted that challenge today! Although cosmetics are good and there is nothing wrong with fixing your hair, sometimes it is good to just embrace your natural beauty and let it shine through to the world! Be brave and be bare for a day!

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Fuel Up to Play 60 Summit

I had such an incredible week at the FUTP60 National Student Ambassador Summit! I’ve been working with this incredible organization on and off since I was in elementary school, so it was a huge honor to be able to attend the summit.

I was teamed up with 9 of funniest, kindest, and most genuine teens from across the nation! Team 1 truly made my experience the best. We even became like a little family and called ourselves Ohana (like in Lilo and Stitch!)

Cole from Arizona, Rachel from New York, me, Chris from Texas, Frank from Minnesota, Eliza from Utah, Emma from Virginia, Evonna from Connecticut, Nicole from Florida, and Rylie from Indiana!

Cole from Arizona, Rachel from New York, me, Chris from Texas, Frank from Minnesota, Eliza from Utah, Emma from Virginia, Evonna from Connecticut, Nicole from Florida, and Rylie from Indiana!

We had an extremely busy schedule while in Dallas! We had dozens of seminars with several leaders from organizations like FUTP60, the National Dairy Council, the NFL, GenYouth, Adventure Capital, and SAP. I learned more on how to implement healthy meal programs and physical activity programs in schools, why it is so crucial to be healthy, and how to effectively lead your peers! I have LOTS of great info for health tips in the future so stay tuned!

One of the coolest parts about the summit was that four NFL players came to talk to us about leadership and healthy lifestyles as well as playing some flag football with us! It was an amazing opportunity to talk with these celebrities!

Jason McCourty from the Tennessee Titans and Devin McCourty from the New England Patriots! (and yes, they are twins!)

Jason McCourty from the Tennessee Titans and Devin McCourty from the New England Patriots! (and yes, they are twins!)

David Bruton from the Denver Broncos! He told us all about his Super Bowl experience and how cool it is playing with Peyton Manning.

David Bruton from the Denver Broncos! He told us all about his Super Bowl experience and how cool it is playing with Peyton Manning.

Getting sassy and fierce with St. Louis Rams player Johnny Hekker!

Getting sassy and fierce with St. Louis Rams player Johnny Hekker!

We spent one of our days at the summit at AT&T stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys! We had the entire stadium to ourselves and at the end of the day we attended an expo ON THE FIELD! Words cannot even describe how magnificent that stadium is, and the big screen on the field was probably the coolest thing ever. I met another football player, some of the cheerleaders, and former player Troy Aikmon!

Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders! Do I fit right in?(:

Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders! Do I fit right in?(:

Kyle Wilber, the Cowboys Line Backer!

Kyle Wilber, the Cowboys Line Backer!

Didn't get a picture with the incredible Troy Aikmon, but it was a pleasure speaking with him!

Didn’t get a picture with the incredible Troy Aikmon, but it was a pleasure speaking with him!

The summit had a special contest called YouthTalks where students could choose between 3 categories to present a 3-5 minute speech to over 400 leaders with the GenYouth foundation and to all of the students at the summit. In my category, I finished in 3rd place! Keep in mind that I prepared the speech less than 24 hours before I had to present it, and over 10o students entered the contest. I was very pleased with myself! It was great practice and I look forward to public speaking opportunities in the future.

Jake won the contest and Alyssa was first runner up! I had some crazy good competition in my category!

Jake won the contest and Alyssa was first runner up! I had some crazy good competition in my category!

Quaker Oats sponsored a cook-off for each team. We were generously donated all of the cooking equipment we needed as well as $350 gift cards to shop for ingredients to feed at least 50 people. The only requirements were to use Quaker oats, one dairy product, and a fruit or vegetable. My team came up with the Parfait Party Cone! Stay tuned for the recipe. We think it was DELICIOUS!

Parfait Party Cones!

Parfait Party Cones!

I met students from 43 different states while at the summit. I made friendships that will last a lifetime, and we have also created a network. We plan to use this connection to not only implement our great ideas and plans into our own school/community/state, but also spread our programs NATIONWIDE. I know this network will come in handy as I grow my program of Be Proactive, Get Active! Regardless of whether I win Miss Teen International, I absolutely plan to promote my platform nationally and internationally.

No one had been to Arkansas, but they were all excited to be temporarily crowned Miss Teen Arkansas International queens(:

No one had been to Arkansas, but they were all excited to be temporarily crowned Miss Teen Arkansas International queens(:

Thank you FUTP60 for one of the best weeks I’ve ever had! The tools and knowledge I gained this week will make a tremendous difference as I continue to educate and promote awareness of the childhood obesity epidemic!