Newark, NJ - March 30, 2010 - Mayor Cory A. Booker and Director of Neighborhood and Recreational Services Melvin L. Waldrop announced today that the City of Newark is partnering with the Joetta Clark Diggs Sports Foundation and Horizon NJ Health to host the inaugural Fitness Challenge Championship for City youth aged 10-13, on Saturday, April 10, at Nat Turner Park, starting at 10 a.m. The event is FREE and open to the public. Nat Turner Park is located at Boyd Street and Muhammad Ali Avenue, in the City’s Central Ward. The rain date is Saturday, April 17.
Each Recreation Center will field a co-ed team of eight members, which will consist of four boys and four girls. The co-ed team has trained every Wednesday since February 3 in a variety of activities to demonstrate their endurance, physical strength and agility.
“The Division of Recreation/Cultural Affairs has launched numerous initiatives and partnerships to provide our youth with programs and competitions that enable them to manifest their personal excellence and develop the physical strength and mental discipline they need to lead productive lives. I urge all Newark residents to cheer on our City’s youngest and newest stars at Nat Turner Park on April 10,” said Mayor Booker.
In addition to the mental and physical challenges, there will be music, health screenings, and face-painting for kids at the park. Prizes will go to the Recreation Center that draws the highest number of supporting fans.
“This challenge engages and empower youth from across the City in a fitness challenge that will strengthen their minds and bodies,” said Director Waldrop. “I congratulate our entire Recreation team, the Joetta Clark Diggs Sports Foundation, and Horizon NJ Health for supporting this program.”
Teams finishing first through third will receive trophies, as well their individual members. All participants on teams finishing fourth through sixth will receive medals. The “Horizon Sun Award” will be given to the participant who earns the most points for their team. All participants will also receive a souvenir t-shirt, water bottle, headband, and nylon string bag.
“This is an exciting opportunity and we are proud to be a part of a program that challenges young people to become more active and involved,” said Karen L. Clark, President and Chief Operating Officer for Horizon NJ Health. “They have an excellent role model in Mrs. Clark Diggs and will be involved in activities and competitions that can motivate, involve, teach and, hopefully, inspire them to see that their lives can be improved with a healthier lifestyle. These kids will not only finish strong in body and spirit - they will be better for the experience.”
The Fitness Challenge is an easily administered program in which boys and girls compete together in a series of physical fitness and mental strength events. This Free exciting new program provides boys and girls, 10 years of age to 13 years of age, the opportunity to compete in a program designed to challenge their fitness and academic skill sets in a fun and competitive environment. The Joetta Clark Diggs Sports Foundation and Horizon NJ Health are excited about this new program and the fitness/academic skill sets that the children will develop through their involvement in this initiative.
“This is my fourth year of doing programs in Newark, and we are excited with this new partnership, which will enable us to present the Fitness Challenge to Newark youth. I know the importance of having a fit body and mind, and this program will focus on those areas. We’ve done more than 40 free programs in Newark and we’ve had some very successful events here, like our first Track and Field Camp last year, and it’s always exciting to see Newark youth get involved and active at our events,” said Mrs. Clark Diggs.
Recreation has been a major priority for the Booker administration. Since 2006, each of the City’s recreation centers has had a comprehensive rehabilitation. After millions of dollars of capital investment, every city Recreation facility and pool has been successfully upgraded and is now open for expanded programs and community use. In addition, City programming at recreation centers has been thoroughly enriched.
For more information on The Joetta Clark Diggs’ Fitness Challenge, contact the Division of Recreation/Cultural Affairs, Tia D. Montigue, at (973) 733-5483 or visit their website: www.joettasportsandbeyond.com For information about any City of Newark program or policy, contact the Non-Emergency Call Center at (973) 733-4311.
Contact: Newark Press Information Office: (973) 733-8004.