Last month I had the opportunity to present awards at the Annual GMA Mayors Conference in Downtown Atlanta. The awards went to Roswell and Kennesaw for capturing the highest point values based upon the ‘Active’ accomplishments of their residents. What was real cool about this event was the gentlemen that I sat next to from Gordon County Georgia, he received an individual award from the GMA, but he went on to share with me his personal accomplishments with running — which I will be sharing in a future posting!
Two years ago we launched the Active Georgia Challenge with the Georgia Municipal Association, in support and promotion of Community Health. The Challenge was setup to be a fun competition to determine the most active city in the State of Georgia. We wanted to not only highlight individual accomplishments but the events occurring in the various communities. We also wanted to award the winning communities so I partnered up with organizations such as Dole and Organwise Guys, a local Georgia Company. The prizes for these cities were 500 fruit cups from Dole, which could be used at a future community event and Organwise Guys donated an after-school programming kit for children. We also upped the ante this year and donated $500 in cash to community members, after all the individual and family member accomplishments determined the success of the cities.
The winning individuals were Brain Peabody and Marlee Press from the City of Roswell – congrats to you both as you are an inspiration to your community.
How it worked is individuals would join the Active Georgia Community, find their city team and join it. Then each day they would log daily workouts and complete community events from the calendar and these accomplishments would lead to points. These points, which displayed not only in ones profile but on the community leaderboard then rolled up into the City Teams Points. The overall community leaders split the cash purse and all was viewable via an online leaderboard.
It was truly a win-win for everybody. For the cities it was a way to socially engage their families and promote community health, for brands it was a unique exercise to promote community health and award active lifestyles and to the individual participants it was a fun way to not only be a part of a fitness challenge, but support their community, socially connect with events and meet other like-minded individuals.
Afterall ones address can play a vital role in how long we live and how healthy we are. The physical design of our communities affect our health every time we step out the front door. Sometimes making healthy choices is not easy—getting enough exercise is difficult if parks are far away and sidewalks don’t exist; eating right is hard when healthy food choices are challenging to find, according to the CDC – Healthy Community Design Checklist.
To help lead the nation toward active living, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following strategies to create environments that encourage physical activity:
- Improve access to outdoor recreational facilities such as parks and green spaces.
- Build or enhance infrastructures such as sidewalks, paths and trails to support walking and bicycling for transportation and recreation.
- Support locating schools within easy walking distance of residential areas.
- Support mixed-use development where people can live, work, play and meet everyday shopping and lifestyle needs within a single neighborhood.
- Enhance personal and traffic safety in areas where people are or could be physically active.
- Participate in community coalitions or partnerships to address obesity.
The built environment, businesses and technology play a pivotal role, so share with us what you are doing in your community to inspire fun, rewarding connections and be sure to join the next Active Georgia Challenge scheduled to start April 1st.
For details email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to join or setup your city!