First lady invites Guard, Reserve kids to fitness event

  • Published
  • By Elaine Sanchez
  • American Forces Press Service
Alongside about 80 children of National Guardsmen and reservists, first lady Michelle Obama showed off her dance moves and football-handling prowess yesterday during a "Let's Move" fitness and nutrition event for military families on the White House's South Lawn.

The first lady invited the kids to "get going" at fitness stations -- led by members of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition - posted across the lawn. With the teens cheering her on, she danced to Willow Smith's "Whip My Hair," hopped through hula hoops in an obstacle course, practiced a few lunges and took a few minutes to toss a football.

But before she got moving, the first lady first took time to spotlight what she said are two of her top priorities: kids' health and wellness and military families.

"(Military families) are truly the force behind the force," Mrs. Obama said during opening remarks.

Throughout this past decade, she said, the nation has relied on its service members and their families more than ever before.

"You might not be in uniform, but we all know that all of you make the same, if not more, of the sacrifice," she told the families in attendance. "We know that when our troops serve, you all serve. It's time we started doing everything as a country that we can do to show our gratitude for your contributions to this nation."

That intent, Mrs. Obama said, is what drove her and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, to start the "Joining Forces" military family support campaign. This national initiative calls on all sectors of society, from citizens and communities to businesses and nonprofit groups, to support military families.

"It's an effort to rally the entire country, every American, to recognize, honor and support all of our military families," the first lady said. "It is incumbent upon all of us to step up in some way to make sure these families know that we're proud of them."

As part of this initiative, the first lady unveiled three new "Let's Move" commitments specifically designed for military kids and teens.

First, members of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition have committed to doing a special series of events and outreach with military families across the country, Mrs. Obama said, citing a few upcoming examples.

Second, championship NASCAR driver Carl Edwards will visit military bases in connection with his weekly races, and former New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi will start climbing Mount Kilimanjaro today with a team of wounded warriors.

Finally, the International Health, Racquet and Sports Club Association will offer free memberships to immediate family members of actively deployed National Guard and Reserve members, Mrs. Obama said. Starting June 1, people can log on to the Let's Move website at to find a club in their area and sign up for free.

Also for these families, the American Council on Exercise has agreed to provide at least 1 million hours of free personal training and fitness instruction.

Mrs. Obama encouraged military families to visit the Let's Move website to learn more about these initiatives.