GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. – A big surprise for 50 kids at a Clay County school: They're going to meet some of the best players in the NFL at the Pro Bowl in Orlando later this month.
It's because of their success with the "Fuel Up To Play 60" program, committing to 60 minutes of activity every day, along with better nutrition. The Jaguars Foundation asked me to help with the big reveal for the kids.
I went to talk to the dedicated sixth graders at Lake Asbury Elementary first thing Thursday morning. They thought I was there to interview them about their dedication and success with the "Play 60" program, so I kept up the ruse and interviewed the ambassador for the Lake Asbury program, sixth-grader Chase Carroll. I asked him about what he and his classmates had accomplished in being one of the best schools in the state for the program. But my last question for Chase was really the set-up for the big surprise.
"So what if as a reward for doing so well with Play 60, you got to meet some of the best players in the NFL and hang out with them on the field? Would that be cool?" I asked.
Chase and the 49 other kids in the room started to get excited, laughing and yelling out, "Yes!" Then I told them the good news.
"Congratulations! This whole room is going to Orlando to meet your favorite NFL players. This is all for the great stuff you've done as part of this program."
Chase and his classmates couldn't believe it. Some cried, some shook after hearing that they will get a whole day to play and practice with some of the best NFL players in the country.
"I'm sorry, I'm still so excited," Chase said nervously after the announcement. "I think this is going to give them (my classmates) a whole new love (for) the program too. They're going to think, 'Look what these people did for me.' And it's the Pro Bowl! Who doesn't want to go to the Pro Bowl!"
The Jaguars Foundation and Wolfson Children's Hospital will pay for the day trip. Representatives for both organizations said they are thrilled to reward the kids for their quest to be active and healthy.
Deb Pass Durham, a board member with Wolfson Children's Hospital, was there for the announcement.
"When you see how excited and emotional the kids were, that warms your heart,” she said. “You saw tears and then it registered that, 'We are going to Orlando to see our football players!' It was wonderful."
The sixth graders will head down to Orlando on Jan. 26 for a full day of activities with the players in this year's Pro Bowl.
For more information on the Play 60 Student Ambassador program, visit www.FuelUpToPlay60.com.