Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Mike Danna air boxes with MacArthur Elementary School fourth-grader Ethan Thomas during the Play 60 event Nov. 9 in the Chiefs' interactive Training Lab set up on the MacArthur playground. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

Charlotte Richter | Staff Writer

Unified School District 207 fourth-graders had the opportunity to experience the inter-active Play 60 Challenge in the mobile Kansas City Chiefs Training Lab, where they played
at activity stations with Chiefs players and cheerleaders and exercised with mascot KC
Wolf Nov. 9 outside MacArthur Elementary School. Play 60 is a National Football League
initiative and Chiefs community outreach program to encourage youth to be active for
at least 60 minutes each day.

Eisenhower Elementary School fourth-graders A’Jihnae Lawrence and Jonathan Selleck perform arm circles as they go through the activities in the Kansas City Chiefs’ Training Lab trailer during the Play 60 event Nov. 9 outside MacArthur Elementary School. Play 60 is a National Football League initiative and Chiefs’ outreach program that encourages students to be active at least 60 minutes each day. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp
Kansas City Chiefs’ mascot KC Wolf hugs the MacArthur Elementary School mustang mascot, portrayed by sixth-grader Carey Harris, when he arrives at the school for the Play 60 event Nov. 9 at MacArthur. Play 60 is a National Football League initiative and team outreach program that encourages students to be active at least 60 minutes each day. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp


“The Training Lab is an interactive health and wellness mobile vehicle, so we’re able to
take it to schools and give each classroom 30 minutes or so. The students go through
a bunch of interactive exhibits that focus on mental health, physical health and social
health,” said Andrew Smitka, Kansas City Chiefs manager of youth outreach.

Smitka said the training lab originated in 2010 from a field trip experience at Arrowhead Stadium, where students would learn about health and wellness. Following the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and a partnership with the Government Employees Health Association, the NFL Play 60 initiative began to travel offsite.


“I think the coolest part is maybe the awe factor of when we pull up and park the vehicle because it’s so large and it’s eye-catching, so it gets them really excited,” Smitka said.

Students rotated through the lab’s activity stations and challenged each other at outdoor sports stations. Visiting players included Chiefs linebacker Shilique Calhoun, defensive end Mike Danna and defensive end Alex Okafor.

KC Wolf , Kansas City Chiefs mascot, and Samuel Hall, fan development representative, perform exercises with MacArthur Elementary School fourth-graders outside the Chiefs’ Training Lab trailer during the Play 60 event Nov. 9 at MacArthur. Play 60 is a National Football League initiative and Chiefs’ outreach program that encourages students to be active at least 60 minutes each day. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp


“I think it’s awesome — we’re always looking for ways to partner with the community,
so this is an excellent way to do that, and it’s fun for the kids,” said MacArthur Principal
Tyler Fowler.

The Play 60 Training Lab also coincided with USD 207 initiatives. USD 207 Superintendent Dr. Keith Mispagel said the district welcomes collaboration such as the
experience with the Chiefs. He said the district supports opportunities to provide expe-riences for students that might not otherwise be available or are exclusive to the region.


“This is closely aligned with our recent (Department of Defense Education Activity) grant award titled Project ARMIES: Anchoring Reading and Mathematics In Exercise (Health) Sciences. This is a combination of health science and academic growth activities to promote engagement and learning,” Mispagel said.

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