Hershey Company Committed To Youth Fitness Through Hershey’s Track and Field Games
HERSHEY, Pa. - The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY) announced a significant expansion of its Hershey’s Track & Field Games, the longest-running youth fitness program of its kind in North America. During 2007, Hershey will conduct a sustained awareness-building campaign to encourage increased youth participation in the program’s local and state-level events. This multi-pronged effort will include: 1) continuation of the USA Track and Field Partnership, with support from past and present USA Track and Field athletes; 2) an expanded grassroots program with the National Recreation and Park Association; 3) an improved participant website www.hersheystrackandfield.com; 4) launch of a Youth Track and Field instructional program developed by Hershey in partnership with Athletics Canada and spokesperson Carl Lewis; and 5) creation of a Hershey’s Track & Field Hall of Fame, honoring past participants and leaders.
“The goal of the Hershey’s Track & Field Games is to encourage physical fitness, foster teamwork and improve self-esteem among our youth,” said Tom Hernquist, Senior Vice President, Global Chief Growth Officer, The Hershey Company. “The Hershey Company is firmly committed to supporting youth fitness, and this year we have developed a comprehensive awareness-building program to reach a half-million youth through local and state-level events. We are thrilled to partner with the National Recreation and Park Association, USA Track and Field and such role models as Carl Lewis and Rafer Johnson to help raise our young people’s awareness of the need for an active lifestyle.”
From April through July, boys and girls ages nine through 14 will compete in local, district, state and provincial meets. At least five participants from each state and 10 Canadian provinces and three territories ultimately will travel to Hershey, Pa. to compete in the North American Final Meet held August 2-5 at Henry Hershey Field on the campus of the Milton Hershey School. In total, approximately 550 youth athletes will spend four action-packed days in Hershey visiting the sites, meeting peers and famous track and field athletes, and competing in a nationally recognized track event.
Local events primarily are coordinated through the National Recreation and Park Association, with local information available on the www.hersheystrackandfield.com website. In conjunction with the USA Track and Field partnership, a number of former and current athletes such as Carl Lewis, Monique Henderson, Sonya Richards and Bershawn Jackson will attend local meets this year.
The Hershey Company will celebrate the opening of the 30th anniversary final meet with the introduction of the Hershey’s Track & Field Games Hall of Fame, which will honor former champions and outstanding performers from past competitions.
At the North American Final Meet, spectators will enjoy appearances and exhibition races by some of track and field’s greatest athletes. In addition, youth athlete families and local community members can join the fun by participating in a charity 5K walk/run. Schools, clubs and organizations participating in the 5K event have a chance to win a $5,000 grant, while families are encouraged to enter the race with three generations of family members for a chance to win a one-year pass for four to HERSHEYPARK(TM), a $100 gift certificate to Hershey’s Chocolate World, and a tour of the world’s largest chocolate plant in Hershey, Pa.
“The North American Final Meet showcases top-level competition among youth athletes,” said Hernquist. “It also offers a one-of-a-kind experience for the athletes as they visit the HERSHEYPARK(TM), amusement park, our factories and Hershey’s Chocolate World. ”
In a further effort to support youth fitness and help promote the 30th Anniversary of Hershey’s Track & Field Games, The Hershey Company, in conjunction with Athletics Canada, also announced the introduction of a new track and field instructional program - “Hershey’s FastTrack to Sports,” featuring Carl Lewis. “Hershey’s FastTrack to Sports” will teach adults and children the basics of track and field, which serve as the fundamentals for all sports and many everyday activities. The program makes it easier for parents and children to live active lifestyles. The video describing the program will be available on www.hersheystrackandfield.com this spring. Carl Lewis also will serve as a spokesperson for all Hershey’s Track & Field Games activities this year.
“I’m proud to be associated with such a worthwhile program during its milestone year,” said Carl Lewis, nine-time Olympic gold medalist and member of the National Track & Field Hall of Fame. “The Hershey’s Track & Field Games introduces children to physical fitness through basic events like running, jumping and throwing. It also encourages children to reach their potential and develop a sense of accomplishment. You never know how many future Olympians it will produce this year.”
About Hershey Track & Field Games
Founded in 1975 by Dr. Donald P. Cohen in Charleston, W.V., Hershey’s Track & Field Games has grown from a local playground event in a single community to an international program encouraging physical fitness among youths and sportsmanship between peers. More than 10 million children from the United States and Canada have participated in the Hershey’s Track & Field Games to date. Children interested in participating in the Hershey’s Track & Field Games or adults interested in hosting a qualifying meet in their town can visit www.hersheystrackandfield.com. The Hershey Company provides national funding for Hershey Track & Field Games. Additional partners are the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), USA Track & Field and Athletics Canada. Hershey’s Track & Field Games is the largest youth sports program of its kind with over 400,000 children participating in the program yearly, representing over 3,000 communities.
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