Maranda Parker, (former) Health and Fitness Education Specialist, White Birch Community Center, Henniker, New Hampshire
Maranda wanted to create a fitness program for staff members, but a conventional after-work program wasn’t feasible. Many of the Center employees are working mothers and have nighttime commitments.
A collective virtual walk to Miami Beach, Florida.
How They Did It
Maranda presented the staff with a challenge: If each of them committed to walking or running at least two miles a day, they would cover 2,388.3 miles in 61 days—the walking distance to Miami. The rules were simple: walk your daily miles, motivate and help out fellow staff members, and keep track of your mileage.
Each classroom became a team, and each week the team that averaged the most miles received a certificate to be displayed on the classroom door. Cindy called it the “Forrest Gump Award,” after the scene in the film where Forrest runs and runs—and motivates the people around him to do the same.
Staff members got to Miami in just 47days—a full two weeks early.
According to Maranda, teachers now have more energy and are more upbeat. They’re bringing healthier lunches to school. Many have purchased Fitbits or other fitness tracking devices.
And the children have noticed. “It has shown the children that taking care of their bodies is important and has motivated them to do the same….(they) are eager to eat their fruits and vegetables and tell everyone about it as well as participating in more physical activities.”
On Maranda’s Wish List
A budget for higher-quality prizes that will motivate participants to take on new challenges and acknowledge their fitness achievements.