james_m._repp.jpgMIAMI — The Morning Mile program returned to 28 Miami-Dade County parks this summer as part of its 2012 Fit-to-Play Summer Camp program.

This year, 1,894 summer campers participated in the Morning Mile program and achieved a new milestone of walking/running 53,204 miles for an average of 28 miles per camper during the program.

One standout, 11-year-old Daniil McDonald, set a new Miami-Dade Parks’ record of running 115 miles. In addition, 21 summer campers were part of the Miami-Dade Parks’ Disability Services program, walking/running a total of 436 miles.

Two sibling participants, Moises and Chelsea Sanchez, lost a combined 75 pounds, thanks to participating in both last year’s and this year’s Fit-to-Play summer camp and the Morning Mile program, which  incorporated into their daily routine a habit of walking or running.

Developed by Fitzness International in Gainesville, FL, the Morning Mile program is designed to get kids active, fit and poised to carry good exercise habits into adulthood.

That complements the Miami-Dade Parks’ Fit-to-Play summer camps program, which teaches kids how to live a healthy lifestyle and provides evidence-based physical fitness activities. For every five miles logged, the youths receive necklace charms to mark their progress and incentivize physical fitness.

A grant from AvMed provided the funding for the Morning Mile starter kits, which give parks the instructions and materials to start the program.

“We are grateful to AvMed Health Plans for their continued support that enabled us to bring the Morning Mile Program to our summer camp experience for the past two years,” said Allison Diego, director of Business Development, Fundraising and Advocacy for Miami-Dade Parks.

“Their support enriched our successful health and wellness program, and allowed us to expand the Morning Mile to 28 park sites incentivizing and motivating our children to get moving first thing in the morning,” she added.

James M. Repp, AvMed senior vice president, emphasized that healthy habits should be learned at an early age. “With the high rate of childhood obesity, we are thrilled the Morning Mile has made a measurable difference in the lives of hundreds of Miami-Dade children,” he said.


*Pictured above is James M. Repp, AvMed senior vice president