Active Kids, Healthy Grand Traverse
The Center for Disease Control recently unveiled its Active People, Healthy Nation campaign to “help 27 million Americans become more physically active.” The campaign identifies eight evidence-based strategies that communities can implement to increase physical activity across sectors and settings.
We’re implementing six of these strategies right now here in the Grand Traverse Region:
Strategy #1: Active Routes to Everyday Places
Norte’s Pro Walk/Pro Bike advocacy work is pushing for best practices, policies, design, and infrastructure to support activity-friendly routes to everyday places. Think…more sidewalks in Traverse Heights neighborhood, a proposed trail from 14th & Division to the Grand Traverse Commons as part of the Safe Routes To School project, a contraflow bike lane on 7th, a protected bike lane on 8th, and the pedestrian-activated lights on Grandview Parkway. These important changes improve access to make it safe and easy to walk, bicycle, or wheelchair roll for people of all ages and abilities by better connecting places like grocery stores, schools, worksites, libraries, parks, and health care facilities.
Strategy #2: Access to Places for Physical Activity
By improving connection and access to the Grand Traverse County Civic Center (the conditionally approved Safe Routes To School infrastructure grant features improvements to Fair at Front, Fair, and 8th, a new sidewalk on West Civic Center Drive and an improved Washington & Garfield crosswalk) and value (Norte’s free Community Bike Shop at the Clubhouse and free Kids Bike Library at the Wheelhouse) to the park, we’re providing options and opportunities to make physical activity safer and more comfortable for people of all ages and abilities.
Our partnerships with the Grand Traverse County’s Bike Share, Winter Walk Wednesdays with Munson Medical Center, the Excellent Bike Parking Project and our Business Champion program are all ways we’re helping workplaces improve their employees’ health behavior, habits, motivation, and culture.
Strategy #3: School and Youth Programs
The Bike Mas Project, Estrellas balance bike program, youth mountain bike team, Summer Bike Camp, Amigos, bike train network and Park & Strolls are all examples of Norte’s engaging and impactful programs that increase physical activity before, during, and after school to help students get the recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity.
Strategy #4: Community-wide Campaigns
Our many community-wide campaigns including Winter Walks Wednesdays, the Kids vs Adults Smackdown, The Great Northern Michigan Shovel Experiment, Northern Michigan Walk/Bike To School Days, Winter Bike To Work + School Day, and Fridays Fantasticos, promote physical activity through collaboration along with engaging, multichannel messaging such as television, radio, newspaper columns, and social media to promote community-wide physical activity campaigns.
Strategy #5: Social Supports
Mark Wilson’s 100 Mile Walk, Vasa Domingos, Traverse City, and Elk Rapids social slow rolls, and our summertime meet-ups for preschoolers and kids with special needs are all examples of our inclusive and accessible programs that provide supportive social networks, friendships, and actions that help people start, maintain, or increase their physical activity levels.
Strategy #6: Equitable and Inclusive Access
Thanks to many generous contributors, Norte’s robust Scholarship Fund allows kids to participate in our educational programming no matter their families’ circumstances. Equity goals are also achieved through our free Kids Library, free Community Bike Shop, and partnership with Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District’s Oak Park School, New Campus School and Life Skill Center.
We believe kids who learn to move and be physically active as part of ordinary life – like going to school or the park or the library or the beach – and then inspire their parents, teachers, principals, neighbors, community to do the same is a powerful means to sustainable well-living and healthfulness.