‘Fuel Up to Play 60’ Celebrates A Decade of Service

Ohio dairy farmer Brenda Hastings answers a question from a student visiting her dairy farm as part of the Fuel Up to Play 60 Student Ambassador Summit. ( Dairy Management, Inc. )

Fuel Up to Play 60, the now iconic program that brings health wellness and exercise to 73,000 schools, is celebrating 10 years of service.

The program, created and sponsored by the dairy checkoff program and the National Football League, celebrated the 10-year milestone at its annual Student Ambassador Summit in Ohio last week. Thirty sponsors and partners covered all of the Summit’s costs.

“As an organization and as an industry, we should be very proud of investing in a program that has had the longevity of 10 years,” says Mark Leitner, executive vice president of Dairy Management, Inc. He has led the Fuel Up to Play 60 program since its inception.

“We’ve grown, gained access to school and have had many successes over these 10 years. That’s a really difficult thing to do in this day and age. I hope farmers are as proud of it as we are as a staff,” he says.

The program has reached about 38 million students, and has awarded more than $48 million in grants to schools for improved school wellness programs. The schools, in turn, have implemented programs that increased school breakfast participation. Since 2010, these programs have increased school milk consumption by 1.2 billion pounds.

GENYouth, a checkoff-created organization that uses Fuel Up as its flagship program, has also generated funds from private businesses to place breakfast carts in schools. In 2017-2018 and 2018-2019, more than 200 schools participated. They provided breakfasts to more than 70,000 students, serving as estimated 5.8 million pounds of milk each of the two school years.