Experienced by Adrian McQueen, Photos by Henri Fisher, Leon Brittain, Adrian McQueen
Coming off an exciting week of media coverage from Fox 5 DC, WUSA 9, News Channel 8, CBS Radio, Radio One and a host of other elite stations, it was finally time for the main event to take precedence. Group exercise routines, dancing, Double Dutching, fitness contests, an active lifestyle vehicle show and smiles and laughter accurately depicted the setting at the 3rd Annual “Fit Fathers Day” celebration (FFD).
Typical Father’s Day activities consist of brunches or cookouts so the Fit Fathers team decided to shake things up a bit. We brought the fiesta back to Veterans Plaza in Downtown Silver Spring, MD from 10 am to Noon this past Sunday, which left time for families to maintain their regularly scheduled plans. Fit Fathers and DaddysCool.com came together to show fathers the importance of being health conscious and leading by example through positive, nutritional choices. The Fit Fathers Foundation believes health, fitness and nutrition can help fathers live longer and challenges dads to eat clean, stay active and continuously energize their lives!
This year’s FFD had a special meaning unique from past years as it elevated awareness to 13-year old Journey Butler and other families battling pediatric cancer. Journey participated in the previous Fit Fathers Day events with her Double Dutch Team aka Greenbelt S.I.T.Y. Stars. Unfortunately in early 2016 she was diagnosed with Renal Medullary Carcinoma (RMC), a rare and highly aggressive form of cancer affecting young Black kids that carry the sickle cell trait. The average survival rate is 12 months but few patients survive more than two years. Fit Fathers donated proceeds from FFD supporters to the Butler family and promoted awareness through the hashtag #JourneyToHappiness.
An energetic Social Workout was led by Fit Fathers’ founder Kimatni Rawlins, Styves Exantus, celebrity trainer Michael Bance and Tiffani Jenkins from Torch Gym. Participants enjoyed fitness games, healthy snacks from Whole Foods, Kind Snacks and Pure alkaline water, the interactive kid’s area, live music from DJ Blinks, screenings and health information and giveaways from product partners Thule, Yokohama, REI, Bose, Road Runner Sports, Soul Cycle, Live Nation, Modell’s, Vibram and Mothers Car Care. The Fit Mom contest went over 4 minutes for the plank with a chance to win a Bose SoundLink Color Bluetooth speaker while James Swink defended his crown in the timed fitness course for Mr. Fit Father 2016. He won another set of Yokohama tires as the grand prize. Congrats!
FFD is possible due to the amazing contributions from our partners and sponsors such as Thule, Mazda, Toyota, Children’s National, Volkswagen, Whole Foods, REI, Bose, DC Capital Striders, Kaiser Permanente, Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (Dr. Neal Barnard), Nissan, Mothers Car Care, The Washington Auto Show, Road Runner Sports and Yokohama Tires. The success of Fit Fathers Day sits with supporters of the movement so recognition must go out to the community partners including the YMCA, Washington Automotive Press Association, Powerful Beyond Measure, Meatless Monday, Love Life Foundation, Center for Nutrition Studies, National Fatherhood Initiative, 4P Foods, College Park Foundation, Hoop Starts, Hip Hop Fathers, African American Health Program (AAHP), Fathers Incorporated, Live Nation, Greenbelt S.I.T.Y. Stars, HealthyBlackMen.com, Kids Being Fit, Men’s Health Network, Mocha Moms, Wegmans, Montgomery County, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, MD Department of Police, Higher Level Basketball, 1 Up Handles, Streetwize Foundation, Costco, Downtown Silver Spring, Visit Montgomery County, Make Smart Cool and ROQ Stone Natural Deodorant.
FFD was hosted by national ambassadors Kyle Arrington and singer and songwriter Raheem DeVaughn. Kyle is a starting cornerback for the Baltimore Ravens and has earned a Super Bowl ring with the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX. He is married and has two sons named Kyle Jr. and Kaden. Raheem DeVaughn is a Grammy-nominated artist and father as well. His debut album The Love Experience (Jive Records) ushered him to the masses and to the US Billboard 200 album chart.
We thanked our 500 plus attendees for supporting the cause with a magnetic workout, prizes, giveaways and life-enhancing materials. Through social media and the use of the hashtag #FitFathersDay appearing across multiple newsfeeds, there is already an air of anticipation for the 4th Annual “Fit Fathers Day” Celebration in 2017. We greatly appreciate our sponsors and partners who initially recognized the vision and helped bring FFD to fruition. As well, a very special thank you is in order for all patrons and volunteers who attended and participated.
The euphoria was not limited to just the DMV this year being that Fit Fathers extended the initiative nationwide by partnering with health leaders to produce small pilot experiences in 11 other cities during Father’s Day weekend. Host cities were Apex, NC; Atlanta, GA; Austin, TX; Cincinnati, OH; Houston, TX; New York, NY; Oakland, CA; Philadelphia, PA; San Diego, CA; Seal Beach, CA and Pemberton, NJ. The growth of this movement is astounding.
Although Fit Fathers Day is a special occasion to recognize dads during their time of celebration, our mission also encourages moms, kids and families throughout the year. Stay tuned for more Fit Fathers events as we move forward engaging with various communities around the country. Enjoy the photo gallery.
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