On Thursday, March 22nd, the White House honored Carolyn Ward, CEO of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, as one of 13 leaders being recognized as “Let’s Move! and Physical Activity Champions of Change” for their work to inspire and empower America’s youth to lead active, healthy lifestyles.
First Lady Michelle Obama launched her Let’s Move! initiative to solve the problem of childhood obesity within a generation, and physical activity – in addition to a healthy diet – is a key focus of the initiative.
Carolyn was chosen for her work in developing the Kids in Parks program. Kids in Parks installs self-guided, brochure-led hiking trails, called TRACK Trails, designed to connect children to the outdoors, address the health problems associated with physical inactivity and nurture the next generation of stewards for our public lands.
Since 2008, the program has grown from one TRACK trail opened at the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center in Asheville, NC, to a national program of TRACK trails that spans 3 states and partners with 6 major state and federal land management agencies.
The Champions of Change program was created as a part of President Obama’s Winning the Future initiative. Each week, a different sector is highlighted and groups of Champions, ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community leaders, are recognized for the work they are doing to serve and strengthen their communities.