4-H and Biggest Loser star call attention to healthy youth lifestyles

Trek across Panhandle to include four stops

Writer: Kay Ledbetter, 806-677-5608, skledbetter@ag.tamu.edu
Contact: Shawnte Clawson, 806-677-5600, sfclawson@ag.tamu.edu

AMARILLO – Area 4-H’ers will join NBC’s Biggest Loser season 14 finalist Joe Ostaszewski this summer on his “Riding It Forward” cross-country bike tour to raise awareness for healthy living across America.

Area 4-H’ers will join NBC’s Biggest Loser season 14 finalist Joe Ostaszewski in September as his “Riding It Forward” cross-country bike tour to raise awareness for healthy living takes him across the Panhandle. (Courtesy photo)

Area 4-H’ers will join NBC’s Biggest Loser season 14 finalist Joe Ostaszewski in September as his “Riding It Forward” cross-country bike tour to raise awareness for healthy living takes him across the Panhandle. (Courtesy photo)

Joe Ostaszewski will bike across the Texas Panhandle Aug. 31-Sept. 6. (Courtesy photo)

Joe Ostaszewski will bike across the Texas Panhandle Aug. 31-Sept. 6. (Courtesy photo)

Ostaszewski, a former Florida State University football player, is riding from Washington, D.C., to the Biggest Loser Ranch in Calabasas, California, as a part of the Wear Your Soul Project he established. This non-profitorganization works with others to help kids and young adults live a healthy, active lifestyle.

One of those organizations he is teaming up with is the National 4-H Council and its 4-H Healthy Living program, which promotes balancing physical, emotional and social health, as well as giving back to their communities, said Shawnte Clawson, AgriLife Extension district 4-H and youth development specialist in Amarillo.

Ostaszewski left the National 4-H Council headquarters in Chevy Chase, Maryland, on July 31 and is scheduled to arrive in California on Sept. 27.

His trip will take him across the Texas Panhandle Aug. 31 through Sept. 6, where he will team up with area 4-H clubs along the way. He will be in Wheeler on Aug. 31; Pampa, Sept. 2; Amarillo, Sept. 3-5; and Friona on Sept. 6.

“We want to join him as he spreads his message,” Clawson said. “He wants to inspire kids across America to live active healthy lives and empower them with the tools and programs they need to become change agents in the fight against childhood obesity.”

She said AgriLife Extension agents have arranged for him to speak to 4-H’ers and other youth groups in Pampa, Amarillo and Friona.

At Pampa, he will visit with students in Austin, Travis, Wilson and Lamar elementary schools in the morning, and with 4-H youth in the afternoon and evening as they compete in archery, shooting and food challenge contests.

A final event in Pampa, “Simple ways to keep kids active and healthy,” is aimed at parents and addressing healthy lifestyles. The free public event will be from 7:30-8:30 p.m. at the MK Brown Memorial Auditorium, 1100 W. Coronado Drive.

Ostaszewski will travel Sept. 3 to Amarillo, where he will first meet with area church youth groups at 7 p.m. at the Path Point Fellowship Church, 6215 Canyon Drive. It is open to all youth and youth groups, Clawson said.

On Sept. 4, he will join a meeting of the Panhandle counties judges and commissioners in the morning at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center before attending a Highland Park High School assembly in the afternoon.

He will conclude the day with a 4-H Fun Run/Walk, open to the general public, at 7 p.m. in Medi Park, Clawson said. The cost is $20 for adults and $10 for youth 13 and under. The event includes a 5K run, with medals awarded in different age groups; a mile walk/run, with medals awarded overall; and a Kiddy K, with all participants getting a ribbon.

Registration deadline is Sept. 2 and can be made online at: http://d14-h.tamu.edu/about-2/registration-for-4-h-fun-run/. Otherwise, entry forms are available at: http://d14-h.tamu.edu/about-2/ and should be mailed with fees to: Shawnte Clawson, 6500 Amarillo Blvd. West, Amarillo, Texas 79106. Checks should be made payable to: District 1 4-H Council.

 AgriLife Extension agents also have scheduled Ostaszewski to be the opening speaker at the High Plains Food Bank Conference on Sept. 5, before he wraps up his Amarillo stay with a talk at the River Road High School pep rally, Clawson said.

His final event with 4-H’ers in the Panhandle will be a 4-H Kickoff event from 10 a.m. to noon at the City Park in Friona.  

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