Hundreds of kids from summer camps across Miami-Dade and Broward County got a chance to play giant bowling, basketball and other games with Nickelodeon stars Thursday in Miami Gardens.
The Intercity Summer Games at the Betty T. Ferguson Center, 3000 NW 199th St., was a partnership with Miami Gardens and Nickelodeon on its Road to the Worldwide Day of Play, Nike and the Up2Us Sports program.
Kids from summer camp programs in North Miami, Miramar, Opa-locka, Miami Beach, Doral and Miami-Dade County joined campers from Miami Gardens as they ran, jumped and even got slimed. The day of play also served as a kickoff for Mayor Oliver Gilbert’s citywide fitness challenge.
“Last year we just concentrated on adults, this year we’re concentrating on adults and kids because everyone needs to be healthy and everyone needs to be fit,” Gilbert said.
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The stars of Nickelodeon’s Every Witch Way, Paola Andino and Nick Merico, said they hope the events will continue to encourage kids to pick playing outdoors over playing on smartphone apps.
“I want to help kids see that they can go out every single day and have just as much fun playing soccer or throwing a football as they do on Instagram or something,” Merico said.
Nickelodeon also presented a $10,000 check to Up2Us Sports to support their programs. Up2Us Sports has partnered with Miami Gardens in the past and places and trains coaches in different sports programs to encourage healthy living and to emphasize the impact sports can have on behavior and stress relief.
“Our goal is not just to show that physical fitness is good for physical health but also good for mental health,” said Up2Us Sports founder Paul Caccamo.
Nickelodeon will continue traveling the country until the official Worldwide Day of Play on Sept. 26. Meanwhile, Up2Us Sports hopes to continue working in Miami Gardens and partnering with local schools and park programs.
“This can’t be a one-day event, we’ve got to get coaches trained and involved every day,” Caccamo said.