Inspiring Excellence

November 1, 2013, Department, by National Recreation and Park Association

Hershey’s Track & Field Games continues to encourage children and families to participate in fun physical activities to support their overall well-being.Hershey’s Track & Field Games (HTFG) is the largest youth activity program of its kind in North America and encourages kids ages 9 to 14 to live balanced, active lifestyles by participating in community track and field games held across the country. This innovative program has been around for more than three decades and continues to encourage children and families to participate in fun physical activities to support their overall well-being. 

The Games are a celebration of excellence — inspiring achievement, encouragement and confidence among youth, families, friends and coaches.

Achievement: Youth are committed to learning new skills, working hard and having fun running, jumping and throwing. 

Encouragement: Families and friends share in personal bests and provide support when the run wasn’t as fast, the jump wasn’t as high or the throw wasn’t as long as expected. 

Confidence: Coaches and mentors motivate and teach new activities, sportsmanship and how to set goals while inspiring a lifetime of fun and enjoyment through physical activity. 

The Hershey Company is proud to open the 37th season of HTFG as part of its commitment to well-being. Hershey believes that balance is key to a lifestyle of well-being. The company provides a variety of portioned products, outreach programs and nutrition information to help families make informed choices and enjoy the goodness of everyday moments. Visit Hershey’s corporate website to learn more about heritage, citizenship and well-being initiatives.

The success of the program is built upon the continued support of the many volunteers who organize local HTFG events every year and the thousands of families who participate in the fun.

Local Event Ideas

  • Organize HTFG youth activities at existing community running events (e.g., 5Ks, half-marathons).
  • Partner with a local school to include HTFG as part of a school field day.
  • Team up with a local running club or track and field coach to offer an instructional program with HTFG as a culminating event.


For the Kids

Ned Cheely devoted nearly 30 years to Hershey’s Track & Field Games, first as state chair and then as a regional coordinator. People often asked, “Ned, why do you do it?” His reply was always the same: “I do it for the kids.”

Cheely passed away in 2005 at the age of 83, and that same year, the Needham S. Cheely Jr. Scholarship Award was established in his memory. This award recognizes two 14-year-old North American Final participants, one male and one female, who demonstrate leadership, character, sportsmanship and athletic performance. 

The scholarship winners are announced each year at the North American Final Celebration. This year’s recipients are Katelyn Rusiniak of St. John, Indiana, and Cole Leacock from Brookeville, Maryland.

Katelyn competed in the softball throw, and in addition to competing in track and field, she enjoys crafts, a variety of sports, yoga, swimming, exercising and drag racing. She is involved in her community and has volunteered for the National Down Syndrome Buddy Walk and the Indiana State School Music Association Festival.

Cole competed in the 4x100 Meter Relay. In addition to track and field, Cole enjoys cooking and exercising. He volunteers with Food & Friends, an organization that prepares and delivers meals to women and children living with HIV/AIDS.

Both Katelyn and Cole will receive $2,000 in the first semester of their freshman year of college in honor of Cheely’s commitment to the program and his belief in providing opportunities for young people to be the best that they can be.