Get Moving Manchester, the local Healthier Tennessee initiative, is ready to get moving themselves – 2019 will bring in three new physical and three new nutritional programs to the area.
The idea behind Get Moving Manchester is simple – get the community active and moving toward healthier lifestyles.
On the physical side, Parks and Recreation Director Bonnie Gamble is opening talks with area middle and high school principals, churches and the Recreation Complex to provide open gym time to the community.
“I really would like to see it, probably put more of an emphasis in county schools for the rural students because we are here (in the city) and we have Amazing Family Night and other opportunities for them to come, but it would be something. Getting physical activity to rural children or adults is the more challenging part,” Gamble said.
She is working with the schools to form a joint use agreement and getting the Sports Council involved to create a working agreement about using school facilities.
A second initiative is to host four more community walks.
The Walk for the Fallen, which honored soldiers who died in Vietnam and ran Jan. 1 through March 30, wrapped up with participants walking about 10,000 miles. The goal was 4,000, which equaled 58,479 laps or one lap for every soldier who lost their life during the way.
The third is to get younger kids involved by introducing area daycares and preschools to the Tennessee Department of Health’s (TDOH) Gold Sneaker Initiative. Churches can get involved as well.
“We need to have something that we address to preschool age,” Gamble said.
According to TDOH, the Gold Sneaker is free to any licensed childcare provided in the state. It was developed in 2008 to enhance health and wellness within licensed childcare facilities across Tennessee.
“Through Gold Sneaker, licensed Tennessee childcare providers have the opportunity to improve the health of the children in their care by adopting policies related to physical activity, healthy eating and a tobacco-free environment,” according to TDOH’s website.
Get Moving Manchester reps will be looking to organize information sessions with area daycare providers and preschools.
The Kitchen to Garden program is already in full swing at the Recreation Complex – kids are enjoying the greenhouse and new kitchen in the Boyd House (on Waite Street) to learn how to cook healthy meals.
Leslie Brasfield, College Street Elementary School’s coordinator for school health, explained CSES has a Cultivators Club that would love to get involved with the Recreation Complex.
The Recreation Complex is also hosting the Science of Cooking mini-camp in the Boyd House kitchen in May.
Another big ticket item for Get Moving Manchester is expanding their healthy concessions program into city and county schools. The idea is to cut back on the unhealthy options and supply baked chips and fruits instead.
In the Recreation Complex, the concessions cut back on their selection of candy and began to charge more for unhealthy items and less for healthier alternatives – two bags of fruit cost the same as a $2 candy bar and soda is more expensive than water. Gamble said the complex has not lost any money on concessions – the money they saved from removing some unhealthy selections covered the cost of supplying fruit, yogurt parfaits and more.
A similar setup would be used in the schools. Brasfield said they would be offer a free taste testing and would be surveying the school communities to see what options they would want the most.
Gamble recently applied for a TDOH grant for $30,000 grant to assist in covering costs, which can range from adding a new menu board to purchasing a small refrigerator. The healthy concessions will be expanded with or without the grant.
Both city and county schools expressed their interest in the idea. The program would begin with one sport and expand in the future to cover more.
The final initiative will be to expand the county’s Tobacco T4 program. Many of the trained members are seniors in high school and will be graduating soon. This program educates teenagers on the dangers of tobacco and, in turn, they educate their peers.
“We want to include vaping,” Gamble said. “So we need to train teens from the teen council in the T4. The best time to start that up is going to be this summer or in May if we can get ahold of them.”
Gamble would like to target eighth and ninth graders for training in hopes of retaining them in the future. She hopes to hold a training session in August.
Other programs in the works are Living with Chronic Conditions, a multi-part class, and expanding on Marcrom’s Pharmacy’s Lose to Win by encouraging participants to “maintain, don’t gain.”