Project ACES Promotes Physical Fitness Among Students
Steve Adubato goes one-on-one with Len Saunders, Physical Education Teacher and Creator of Project ACES, to learn how Project ACES (All Children Exercise Simultaneously) grew into an international day of exercise and the importance of physical fitness.
"We're pleased to welcome Len Saunders, who is a physical education teacher and creator of Project ACES, which stands for? All Children Exercise Simultaneously. Okay. This is part of our Classroom... not our, but our partners at the New Jersey Education Association, the NJEA, they have a great series on public television called Classroom Close-up, we're gonna go to that clip in a second. Real quick, set this thing up for us, what are we gonna see? You're gonna see children at my school exercising. We are exercising with millions of kids from all over the country. And at 10 o'clock in the morning, kids all over the world are gonna participate. So the motivation is to get kids excited about exercise. You started this? Yes. Back in '89? Yes. Alright. Here it is. Classroom Close-up. Project ACES. Boys and girls. It's time for Project ACES! Let's get ready to exercise! [music playing] ACES stands for All Children Exercise Simultaneously. It's a whole fun activity where kids get to exercise, and see that exercise isn't just hard work, it's really fun. The basic concept is to get kids exercising around the country and the world today, at 10 o'clock, their local time. And it's a motivating tool to get them to love exercise, and to lead healthy lifestyles, and just to promote physical activity and physical education. It's really interesting and cool, because kids are doing this too at the same exact time, so it's interesting to think that they're actually doing it. Well we started it back in 1989. This is the 29th year. And the whole idea was to get five elementary schools in Montville to exercise at the same time. But what happened, the word caught on, and somebody from New York heard about it from a friend, and they said, "Can we join you?" I'm like, "Yeah, sure!" And then a teacher I know in Connecticut, I was telling him about it, he said, "Can I join you too?" I'm like, "Okay, this is cool. We've got three states, maybe we can try to get all 50!" And I started a letter writing campaign, to write to schools, and Sports Illustrated heard about it. They wrote about it. And then it just picked up from there. And it was basically going to be a one year event, and it just transformed into this yearly event, where the first year a quarter of a million kids participated, and now there's millions all over the world. [music playing] It's fun to stay at the... YMCA! It's fun to stay at the... This is really a rite of passage at Valley View Elementary School. The children look forward to it each Spring, but..."