The Governor’s Fitness Awards

Michigan Fitness FoundationPresented by the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health and Sports and the Michigan Fitness Foundation, the Governor’s Fitness Awards (GFA) recognize communities, organizations, and individuals who inspire healthy choices.

Due to the pandemic, we have paused the Governor’s Fitness Awards. Instead, we invite you to watch the Governor’s Fitness Awards Retrospective. Using archival footage, images, programs, and scripts from past awards shows, and with generous support from Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan, the GFA Retrospective tells the story and evolution over the years of Michigan’s Governor’s Fitness Awards.


The Awards

Vern Seefeldt Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr. Vern Seefeldt was appointed by Governor Engler as the first chairman of the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health and Sports. As Director of the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports at Michigan State University, Dr. Seefeldt provided leadership, scholarship and outreach that transformed the face of youth sports by putting child development and positive health behaviors before winning. Past recipients of this prestigious award include Al Kaline, Mike Ilitch, Gordie Howe, John Dingell and Dale Hughes.

This is the highest award presented by Michigan Fitness Foundation and the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health and Sports. In addition to health and/or athletic accomplishments, this award recognizes a lifetime of achievement through volunteering, honoring, partnering, and supporting others over the whole of one’s career.

Charles T. Kuntzleman Accepting the Challenge Award

Named after the first Chair of Michigan Fitness Foundation, Charles T. Kuntzleman’s impact on the arena of physical activity is known around the world. He has dedicated his life to teaching and advocating for quality physical education for all students, regardless of ability. A celebrated author of over 70 books and articles, his book, They Accepted the Challenge, is a collection of stories about people who have pursued a life of physical activity despite great obstacles.

This award recognizes an individual that has triumphed over adversity and tremendous barriers to become physically fit and, in doing so, she or he has created a sustainable lifestyle for themselves, while giving back and serving as a role model for others in their community.

Active Community Award

Imagine a community where people can walk or bike to work, to school, or to run errands with ease. Imagine a place where families play together in parks and greenspaces and where neighbors wave to neighbors with a sense of connectedness and community pride. This award is given to a community that has woven physical activity into daily life by creating a healthy environment through city planning, capital improvements and sustainable policies, in addition to opportunities for physical activity through parks and recreation.

Director’s Champion for Health Award

The Director’s Champion for Health Award honors the person that goes beyond programming and into the systems that create the structures in which we work, live and play. Through their work, they improve the lives and health outcomes for Michigan’s most vulnerable populations.

Extraordinary Organization Award

This award honors organizations with an extraordinary record of giving and stewardship that focuses on improving the environment where people live, learn, work, pray and play.

Health Star Award

This award recognizes the person who has demonstrated a sustained lifestyle transformation as part of overcoming a profound health challenge. By adopting healthy lifestyle changes, this person also serves as role model to others.

Healthy Workplace Award

Millions of Michiganders spend a large part of their day at work. The Healthy Workplace Award recognizes Michigan companies that create workplace wellness programs, so their employees have access to resources to be fit, healthy, and more productive.

This award has three subcategories; small (up to 149 employees), medium (150-999 employees) and large (1,000+ employees).

Outstanding Event Award

This award honors events, rich in community spirit, that offer inclusive physical activity opportunities for all athletes regardless of age or ability. Events may include mountain biking, cycling, hiking, running, paddling, multi-sports (triathlons, biathlons, duathlons, and Olympic style events) and any other non-motorized venture where you can have fun being physically active.

Perennial Award

The Perennial Award recognizes seasoned citizens who maintain an active lifestyle, combined with healthy eating to enhance overall wellness. Through this comprehensive, all-encompassing approach to living, they also serve as a role model for others in their community.

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