Lunch and Play Program Brings ISU Athletes to Park

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Updated: 6/26/2013 8:47 pm

It definitely was not your typical day in the park.

“It was a big surprise for me to see them here because I come to lunch in the park like every day and it was just a big surprise to see them here,” said a young girl.

She’s talking about the ISU football players who traded in the pigskin for a kickball. It’s all part of a partnership between the Portneuf Health Care Foundation, Idaho State University Athletics and School District 25.

“The main goal is to get kids physically active,” said Holly Sierra of the Portneuf Health Care Foundation. “With the decrease in physical education in schools, kids are becoming more and more sedentary. We need to find ways to get them active, to get them up and moving.”

The ISU football players were having as much fun as the kids in the park but the players say it’s more than just having a good time, it’s about giving back.

“It’s kind of a humbling experience just to give back to the community…to get away from practice and to show the kids that you are here to support them,” said Taylor Ragan, ISU Linebacker.  

“This is awesome,” said Michael Berger, ISU DB. “Like Taylor said, a humbling experience. I’m from Idaho Falls and so it’s just awesome to see these kids. I used to be one of these kids running around the park and it’s just awesome to be with them and contribute to the community.”

It’s recommended that children get at least 60 minutes of exercise each day. The kids in the kickball field were on their way to reaching this but they’ll take away a lot more than that.

“They are cool,” said a young kickball player. “I like football.”

Right now the program is only being offered at Raymond Park but organizers hope to expand it to other locations next year. Your best bet at catching ISU athletes at the park will be on Mondays or Wednesdays throughout the summer.

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