Petitioning President of the United States

Funds for Outdoor Exercise Equipment at Playgrounds in National Parks and on Federal Lands

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We, the Kindergarten Cubs of Center City Public Charter School, Trinidad Campus, are writing today in hopes of making our country a better place. We have been learning all about our rights and responsibilities as citizens, and after hearing about the 1st Amendment, we are very excited to know that it is our duty to petition the government! We have spent a lot of time thinking about what we think our nation needs in order to remain strong, and we have decided that what we all need is a little more play!

According to StateofObesity.org, 80% of American adults do not get enough physical activity. While obesity rates have declined overall, and especially in children, there are still many Americans who are overweight, and who do not get the exercise that they need to be healthy. Some states have obesity rates that exceed 30% of the adult population. We want to help our country to be healthy and strong, so we started to look for ways that we could encourage our parents and other adults in our lives to be more active. As kids, we are experts in physical activity, and we know that play can be a great way to exercise and get in shape!

We have spent weeks on our school playground thinking of ways that we could easily incorporate workouts into our everyday play time. From pullups on the monkey bars to racing one another on the field, we have come up with dozens of ways to turn a regular playground into a makeshift gym. But the problem remains that many playgrounds are not the right size for adults to make use of in this way, and realistically, kids need a place to play that is just for them! In trying to solve this problem, we asked teachers who have lived in many other cities and countries for ideas about how to fix this problem, and when we learned about outdoor exercise equipment, we got excited!

Margaret Pace Park in Miami, Florida, is a great example of how we can bring the gym and playground together into a place for adults and kids to practice healthy habits in unison. Next to the traditional playground area, where we kids can play and have fun, there is an outdoor gym, outfitted with equipment like a non-electric elliptical, a chest press machine, hurdle bars, and a pull up station. We think that this should serve as a model for all playgrounds; making them a place for where kids, parents, and families in general can come together to practice healthy habits. 

Integrating the gym and the playground could be very beneficial to our most important citizens- kids! For starters, these kinds of parks might encourage parents to bring their children out to play more often! Adults will have a place where they can be productive and have fun while still being able to watch their children play nearby. They may even be more likely to put down technology and be more attentive to their children. Parents can also use this space to begin teaching their kids about healthy living and promoting the life-long habits that will ultimately make our nation more fit. Finally, having outdoor exercise equipment at our playgrounds will encourage our parents to actually get up and play with us, as the healthier they are, the more energy they will have to come and get active with us!

These gym- playground hybrids are not only good for kids. Adults can benefit from these sorts of parks as well! For example, adults may be more likely to get active if they have one of these parks in their neighborhood. Not having to travel to a gym, or pay costly gym fees, could encourage grown-ups to be more active. Adults with access to these parks may also feel more excited about taking kids out to play, because they will be able to use the time productively, squeezing in a workout when they might otherwise just be sitting around and watching. Finally, these parks will also give adults a chance spend more time outdoor in the fresh air, which could even lead them to care more about the environment and protecting the earth! 

At the end of the day, we all know that exercise makes you stronger, healthier, tougher. It can be very good for your mood, help you to sleep better, and even live longer. We are just kids, but we know how important it is to live a healthy life.  So, we are exercising our rights as Americans to ask you to help us to make our country a better place.  Today we want you to allocate funds to install outdoor exercise equipment at playgrounds in national parks and on federal lands across the country. Can you imagine how impactful such an investment could be? You could help to improve the lives of citizens in every city and state in the country with this simple commitment to fitness and play. We hope that we can count on you to make our vision come true!

Sincerely,

Ms. May and Ms. Willis’ Kindergarten Class

Center City Public Charter School- Trinidad Campus

Washington, D.C.

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