An Opening Day All Their Own

Meghan O'Brien

| 3 min read

Nearly two-hundred kids from metro Detroit and Kalamazoo youth organizations, ages five to 14, will join Detroit’s Tigers mascot PAWS and youth fitness experts for on-field exercises and activities on Sunday, April 19 at the third annual Detroit Tigers Kids Opening Day, sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network. For this first time ever, six of the participating children will have won their spot on the field by practicing healthy habits in Blue Cross’ #MIKidsCan Train like an All-star Challenge. More than 1,200 Michigan kids registered for the challenge, which called on kids, ages 5-14, to pledge to “round the bases” weekly, by working with their parents and guardians to complete four health activities throughout March. The kids spent the month learning how to jump, eat, throw and hydrate like their favorite baseball All-Star, including a daily push-up challenge and eating three servings of fruits and vegetables a day. The winners of the #MIKidsCan Train like an All-Star Challenge are:
  • Callen Fields of St. Clair Shores
  • Xander Marx of Troy
  • Genevieve Myers of Sterling Heights
  • Marek Rogers of Metamora
  • Wesley Walleman of Oxford
  • Trent Zemore of Flint
“Too few kids get 60 minutes of physical activity a day, the minimum recommended amount that reduces the risk of childhood obesity,” said Andy Hetzel, vice president of Corporate Communications at Blue Cross. “Our efforts with the Tigers, our challenge winners and these outstanding youth organizations signify our ongoing, community-wide efforts to reinforce healthy habits with our kids.” The #MIKidsCan Train like an All-Star Challenge winners and youth participants from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan, Detroit PAL, Hype Athletics, Mother of Hope (Kalamazoo), NAACP and the YMCA will participate in a number of on-field callisthenic exercises, led by Paws and the Tigers’ training staff. The kids will also receive backpacks, Kids Opening Day shirts and a healthy lunch prior to cheering on the Tigers as they take on the Chicago White Sox. Upon entering Comerica Park, all fans will receive Blue Cross cheer cards with information for kids and parents on the importance of eating healthy and staying active. Kids ages 14 and under will also receive a 30-card set of #MIKidsCan baseball cards featuring the 2015 Tigers team. Detroit Tigers Vice President of Marketing Ellen Hill Zeringue said, “Encouraging kids to live healthier lives by being more physically active is very important to the Detroit Tigers. Championing this cause with our partners at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan continues to be very natural for our organization given the dedication of our players to maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle." All kids attending the game will enjoy free carousel and Ferris wheel rides, courtesy of the Tigers Kids Club. Sunday, April 19 is also Kids Run the Bases day at the ballpark. #MIKidsCan Train like an All-Star Challenge supports Blue Cross’ ongoing commitment to children’s health and its #MIKidsCan campaign – an initiative focused on encouraging kids to adopt healthy habits early in life that are more likely to be carried into adulthood. Over the last 10 years, BCBSM has given more than $6 million in support of kids’ health and wellness initiatives across the state, reaching more than 100,000 children. For more information on the challenge and Blue Cross’ ongoing efforts to help improve childhood health, visit or follow #MIKidsCan on Twitter. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit mutual insurance company, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more company information, visit and Photo Credit: A Healthier Michigan
MI Blues Perspectives is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association