Welcome to the Project ACES web page. This site is designed to give you information on how to participate in the next exciting event, which will be taking place on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. Can you imagine millions of children from all 50 states and over 50 countries exercising together on May 3rd? What a great way to motivate children to exercise. Your children will feel special getting involved in this massive exercise event. Who knows, maybe this could be the start of a lifelong habit of daily exercise.
Project ACES began back in 1989 by Physical Education Teacher Len Saunders, of New Jersey. Len wanted to get one school in every state to exercise at the same time on a specific day in May to motivate his physical education classes to exercise. The program was also designed to show the importance of Physical Education in school!
Len began a letter writing campaign to schools throughout the United States to see if they wanted to join in this massive exercise event. Everyone who received his letter thought it was a great idea, and of course, wanted to be part of it. Len received confirmations day after day until every state had a participating school involved. In 1989, ACES stood for "American Children Exercising Simultaneously", because he never imagined schools outside the United States would participate. The first year of ACES was a huge success. Children from 1200 schools participated in all 50 states and the island of St. Croix. Len just figured he would organize this program in 1989, and that would be the end of it. Little did he know that ACES would eventually turn into an annual worldwide event. Within months of completing ACES 1989, Len started receiving mail for the 1990 ACES event, which at the time did not even exist! Letters continued to pour in from schools throughout the country (almost 500 letters a day) and even from outside the United States. The name could not remain "American Children Exercise Simultaneously" anymore, and became "All Children Exercise Simultaneously" in 1990. The rest is history!
The program has been growing and growing each year. The first year of Project ACES in 1989 had 240,000 children participate worldwide. In the year 2016, the state of Michigan had nearly 500,000 participants. Project ACES is now organized by the non-profit Youth Fitness Coalition, Inc. and managed by Len and HJ Saunders, both of New Jersey.
Each May, on a designated date and time, millions of school children all over the globe will exercise simultaneously in a symbolic gesture of fitness and unity to show the world that they do not fit into that negative stereotype of being "physically unfit". This non-competitive program has proven to be educational, motivational, and fun. When Len Saunders created Project ACES back in 1989, he had no idea that it would reach the magnitude and success of today. The program has been praised by Presidents of the United States; such as Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Ronald Reagan. The program has also received praise from Governors, Senators, and celebrities from sports and show business. Starting its 29th year, Project ACES has reached millions of children, parents and teachers all over the world, including participants from over 50 countries.
With the generous support of local, national, and international press coverage, Project ACES has grown to have a big following all over the world. Praise and support have also come from dozens of organizations in and out of the fitness industry including The President's Council on Fitness, Sports, & Nutrition (PCFSN), The American College of Sports Medicine, The NFL's Fuel Up To Play 60, and SHAPE America (formally AAHPERD).
The 29th annual global event will occur at 10 AM local time, Wednesday, May 3, 2017. It will be celebrated during May which is National Physical Fitness & Sports month.
Due to the mass participation of this event, there is plenty of room for flexibility concerning the start time of Project ACES. The majority of schools that participate are able to start their exercises at exactly 10 AM. It is understandable that some schools may not be able to start at 10 AM due to scheduling problems, programs, state testing, or even inclement weather. Rarely, some schools may even have to do Project ACES on a different day. This is not a problem as long as the children understand the concept of the day and feel a connection to the event!
Project ACES aims to educate children about the importance of lifelong fitness, and to end the negative stereotype that children are physically unfit. Exercise can lower the chances of coronary heart disease, which includes high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and physical inactivity. Project ACES makes fitness fun!
On May 3rd, 2017 at 10 AM, all the children will either exercise, walk, jog, bike, dance, do aerobics, or a combination or all the above. Each school organizes its own participation assembly for the 15-45 minutes the program runs. There is no specific routine to follow, just have the children do some form of exercise at 10 AM. Feel free to be as creative as you would like. Many schools choose to invite local celebrities to the event and play music to accompany the activities. Organizers of local events can choose to get the whole school involved, or just selected classes. The majority of schools will get the entire school population outside on to a play field, put on music, and have everyone in the school have some fun by moving and exercising together.
If it rains, have a backup plan. Some schools have the student body go to the gym and do aerobics and calisthenics. Another option if it rains is to pump music over the PA system, and have the classes exercise in their classrooms. Invite the local media to cover the event. The children will love to see themselves in the newspapers or on TV. Proclamations from the Mayor's and/or Governor's office may also be read.
It's simple. The motivation for the participants is to know that there are children and adults all over the world exercising and moving along with them. There are now schools in many states that have daily, weekly, and/or monthly Project ACES participation assembly programs with different health, fitness, nutrition, and lifestyle related themes. Look for the link at the top of the page concerning The Project ACES Club!