When it comes to creating a healthy future for America, the key to success lies within our nation’s youth. In a time when the allure of iPads, videogames, and TV often have the upper hand on playing outdoors or interacting with friends, it is now more important than ever to educate children on the importance of healthy lifestyles - both mental and physical. Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are using The Power of Blue, the power to make a difference, to foster the building of positive behaviors that help improve the confidence and fitness of children across the nation. From reaching teenage boys through adventure sports to connecting with girls in supportive athletic settings, Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are working to create a generation of confident kids with positive, healthy habits. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont- Several years ago, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont launched Velocity, an after-school program designed to give middle school boys exposure to positive activities that promote health and fitness as well as provide a healthy place for discussions about everyday life. Velocity encourages adventure and exploration by providing access to activities like hiking, mountain biking, fencing and other sports. Other after-school events have included break dancing, climbing, weight training, yoga and cooking lessons. Before each activity, the boys meet with a mentor to talk about an issue that is important to boys their age. Velocity seeks to ensure boys have access to social and cultural experiences and the necessary emotional education sometimes overlooked in boys. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City partnered with Girls on the Run, a 10-week after-school program that aims to foster positive emotional, social, mental, and physical development of girls from third to fifth grade. Girls on the Run uses interactive games and training for a 5k running event as tools to teach life lessons. Physical activity is woven into the program to instill an appreciation of fitness and to build habits that lead to a lifetime of health. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City provided full scholarships for teams as well as for individual girls in the Kansas City area who needed financial assistance. The program also administers pre- and post-evaluations for each participant to learn more about family practices involving physical activity and nutrition and to get feedback about areas of strength and potential improvement. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi - The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation awarded grants to the Girl Scouts of Greater Mississippi in order to support the Live Healthy, Lead Healthy initiative. The program targets girls 5-18 years old, and aims to encourage healthy lifestyle habits including fitness and good nutrition. The Live Healthy, Lead Healthy program is a comprehensive healthy living initiative for the Girl Scouts, in which about 5,000 Girl Scouts and adult volunteers set health goals while learning how to maintain or achieve a healthy weight. Participating Girl Scouts pledged to encourage their friends and families to join them in living a healthy lifestyle. In addition to summer camp, the Girl Scouts enjoy activities like canoeing and kayaking, themed runs like the Turkey Trot and the Shamrock Shuffle, and the Zumba-thon. Participants have reported increased physical activity and healthier eating since the program began. To learn more about how Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are using The Power of Blue to help improve the health of the communities we serve, download the full Investing in America’s Health report.