July 19, 2012

Let’s Move: Olympic Fun Day

Growing up, we were taught not to plan our lives around a television program. It is advice I follow to this day unless it is an Olympic year: Watching the opening and closing ceremonies is required. Television schedule in hand, I map out the events I don’t want to miss and build the rest of my calendar around them.

This year, First Lady Michelle Obama is linking her Let’s Move campaign to the Olympic Games. Families, friends, and neighbors are encouraged to join together on Saturday, July 28 – the first day of Olympic competition – for an afternoon of “soccer, hoola hoop, relay races – whatever gets you moving and having fun!"

Loving the Olympics as I do, I wish I knew about this community building effort before reading about it in an email earlier today.  Recognizing that for many of us such short notice makes it difficult to pull together an event, I thought about how a congregation might become involved. Easiest would be sharing news of a local event with our congregations and encouraging participation. (Click here for more information about participating communities in your area.) Switching my thinking, I imagined congregations finding creative ways to incorporate the spirit of Olympic Fun Day into vacation bible school, coffee hour, or other planned activity. (Let's move coffee hour onto the lawn and invite parishioners to bring their favorite lawn games....) Or, maybe we could find ways to bring people together - in the church hall or in people's homes - to watch the games together. Let’s let our imaginations fly….

My must see event this year? The women’s marathon. My daughter’s childhood friend Shalane Flanagan – bronze medalist in the 10,000 from the 2008 Olympics – is running. And we’ll be cheering her on, every step of the way in live time, via the miracle of television and the good fortune of compatible time zones…

[The July 2011 Vestry Papers included a story about Grace Episcopal Church, Medford, Mass’ involvement with Let’s Move! Read the article here.]