Happy, Healthy, Ready to learn: A Vision for a Stronger Northern Michigan


Kids learning 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 inspiring their parents, teachers, principals, neighbors, community to do the same is, in our opinion, a powerful means to sustainable well-living and healthfulness.

Independent, happy, confident, ready to learn youth are empowered to be guardians of their health, develop lifelong habits to move more and sit less and be leaders in their neighborhood.

What steps can we take to get kids off the couch, off their screen and outside? How can we reduce childhood obesity, insane car lines at schools, traffic congestion, air pollution and social isolation? Organized sports and recreation are great but Norte! believes that embedding walking and biking into our daily routine, is a significant part of the answer.

Norte’s youth-centered, active transportation-focused, neighborhood-based model combines four interconnected initiatives as a complete package to engage, empower and excite young people and keep them moving forward:

Change is local. We have developed a grassroots method that recruits, trains and empowers neighborhood champions to take charge and be that change. With the help of these local advocates, Norte strives to weave a culture of health into the very fabric of communities so that they can be their best – their healthiest.

How do we get there? Norte has invested significant time and energy in developing this inclusive four initiative model that has shown it can get 1,000 young people moving year-round in a small northern Michigan town.

There is nothing that we’ve done here in Traverse City that can’t be replicated elsewhere. By sharing knowledge, tools, and experiences of what works well and what doesn’t, Norte can be a resource and guide to get 10,000 kids and their communities active for life.

We are now seeking partnerships to advance this vision. Please contact Ty Schmidt at ty@elgruponorte.org to learn more.