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  • Abe Lenoch

Watertown - Moving Forward for 30

Get Healthy Watertown (GHW), Watertown’s community health and wellness coalition and Wisconsin Active Together (WAT) community, worked with the Mayor, several municipal departments, the Watertown YMCA, Watertown Regional Medical Center, Watertown Unified School District, senior housing at Marquardt Village and local businesses to promote their Moving Forward for 30 challenge. GHW used equity and social determinants of health as guiding principles, offered online and paper tracking, and offered a variety of activities to help everyone in the community participate in the challenge.

The Moving Forward for 30 challenge encouraged Watertown residents to add at least 30 additional minutes of physical activity daily for 30 days and to document their physical activity. There were cash prizes, YMCA guest passes, water bottles, a free class from the park and recreation department, and two youth prizes for a ride to school with the local police or fire/EMS departments. The challenge was coordinated by the GHW coalition and a small cohort of 4 dedicated individuals – Susan Wollin, Gary Fisk, Dawn Liddicoat, and Ashley Nelson led the outreach.

Photo:  Susan Wollin, Prize Winner Maria Garcia, and Dawn Liddicott.
Photo: Susan Wollin, Prize Winner Maria Garcia, and Dawn Liddicott.

GHW advertised for the event across the city and across platforms – from social media posts, two videos, to fliers at the YMCA and in local businesses, to yard signs. And in a small town like Watertown, the news about the challenge spread even faster by word of mouth. All of it worked - GHW got 154 participants in the challenge in 2018 and even more for 2019.

In 2020 the coalition stepped up to support community positivity, and physical and mental health awareness by walking and biking within the community. GHW plans to put on the same event again soon. Despite the challenges of 2020, the City of Watertown was able to draw on the past community efforts around healthy and active living. The coalition posted a weekly message and walking routes on their Facebook page to remind people that being active, even during a pandemic is good for everyone! GHW continues to offer Saturday Morning walks and is looking forward to putting on a similar event again in the near future!

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