JANUARY 27, 2020 — Alaska kids: Your next dance partner may be in Juneau, Copper Center, maybe even another state.
This is the fourth year in a row local and statewide organizations have worked together to organize PLAAY Day — that day once a year when children complete a half hour of organized physical activity all at the same time across Alaska. During the morning of Feb. 20, 2020, children will be learning easy dance moves. They’ll dance in their schools while hundreds of other kids dance at the same time in schools and classrooms many miles away. Elementary schools in Alaska and across the country can sign up now using a simple online database.
“PLAAY Day is a unique and meaningful event to connect adults, kids and cultures across Alaska and the United States,” said Wally Wilson, PLAAY Day director.
PLAAY stands for Positive Leadership for Active Alaska Youth. Our partners, the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame and Healthy Futures program, organize PLAAY Day every year to help Alaska children get active for good health.
This year, PLAAY Day will begin at 10 a.m. Feb. 20, with a trio of University of Alaska Anchorage students leading a room of children in several different types of dances. They’ll start with Alaska Native dances and then move to high-energy modern dances like salsa and hip hop. This group will be demonstrating the dances at the Special Olympics Alaska building in the Mountain View neighborhood of Anchorage. GCI and Denali Media will be broadcasting that demonstration live through Facebook and YouTube Live to participating schools. That will allow entire schools or individual classrooms across Alaska to join and for students to dance in their own gyms, classrooms, recreation centers and common spaces. All children will be able to participate at their appropriate levels. An Anchorage School District physical education teacher will be modifying the dances to include students of all abilities, Wilson said.
Schools that sign up for PLAAY Day will receive more information about the event as the date gets closer. Interested schools and groups can register as an entire school, a classroom, a home school or an organization. Registration will remain open through Feb. 20, but schools can receive more help connecting to the live event if they sign up sooner.
Another event in February focused on improving the health of Alaska children is the PLAAY Summit. It is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 14, and Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020, on the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium campus in Anchorage. The two-day summit is designed to help teachers, medical professionals, coaches and other leaders focus on improving youth health and emphasize the importance of daily physical activity.
Adam Crum, Commissioner for the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, will give the keynote address at noon Feb. 14. He will talk about the overall state of health for Alaska children. Dr. Jay Butler will discuss health harms related to e-cigarettes. Butler is Alaska’s former Chief Medical Officer and the current Deputy Director for Infectious Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other speakers will talk about heart health, mental health and more. You can go online to register for the PLAAY Summit. Professional development credit and contact hours will be available. The event is in Anchorage, but those outside Anchorage can participate through videoconference after registering online at www.plaay.org.
Many organizations are partners of PLAAY Day and PLAAY Summit. They include hospitals, pediatric clinics, tribal health organizations, nonprofits, school districts, the university, state departments, media groups and businesses. To learn more about PLAAY Day or the PLAAY Summit, contact Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org or Harlow Robinson, Alaska Sports Hall of Fame executive director, at email@example.com.
Photograph courtesy of the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame