City Exercise Club Project
Some wonderful cities have city-wide book clubs hosted by the mayor of that town. There is no need to formally join the club or to participate in discussion groups or whatnot; simply read the current book if you so desire and go from there according to your own schedule and whim.
Why not take that same philosophy and challenge your community to become a healthier group? Have the local recreation department host a free city wide exercise club to encourage community members to get healthier and have support in the process. Here are some ideas of what could be included in your city’s project:
*A top city official could be the “spokesperson” (i.e. mayor)
*No formal meetings or records are necessary.
*A calendar could be printed in the city newsletter, on the recreation department website and on a community access channel with the exercise club scheduled activities as well as other ideas for community members to do on their own.
*Make it possible for people to upload or send in their weekly/monthly results (even anonymously) if they choose; this might make people feel proud and give the spokesperson some numbers to tout. “Results” could be anything from hours logged, pounds lost, changes made, etc.
The recreation department might do the following to encourage the community to get moving:
*Have a rec employee or volunteer at a local track every morning at 6 am for a run/walk. People could join him/her without formal registration.
*Have rec employee or volunteer at a designated starting point for an early morning bike ride.
*Have pick-up basketball/soccer games in the evenings
*Set aside two to three hours per week where community members can use a local gym free of charge (high school, police station, etc)
*Use a community gym or other appropriate space for parent/tot workouts once a week (incorporate tots into workout routine and/or have activity space for tots to play while parents work-out in same room). Perhaps a couple of parents would even volunteer to run work-out classes.
*Encourage school aged children to join parents in any of the program options
*Have a rec dept employee at the local pool before regular pool hours for community members who would like to swim laps
*Have a rec employee at a community playground every day who can organize fast paced games like tag or bring music and teach kids fun, energetic dance moves. Any games this facilitator coordinates should be noncompetitive. Even traditionally competitive games can be modified.
*Seek out support from local businesses…they may want to offer incentives for the participants and/or volunteers in exchange for some advertising.
Written by Jenny Goebel
Copyright August, 2005