The success of any initiative is that the momentum builds and takes over. The story of the ChooseWell program in Lacombe shows that momentum must be built on the solid base of the 3 Ps – partnership, perseverance and perspective.
Sonya Beauclair has been Recreation and Culture Assistant Lacombe for the past 7 years. She understands the marketing adage of the Rule of Seven, that a prospective buyer has to hear or see a marketing message 7 times before they will buy. Even so, sometimes the desired results take a long time.
Being an agent of social or behavioral change is hard work. Sharing the goal and the journey with partners can shift perspective and strengthen our perseverance. Friends, colleagues and neighbors can help us look at a problem differently and enable us to keep on keeping on.
When Sonya was feeling discouraged she turned to her colleagues. They were able to point out that although a 1% increase in participation seemed low, it meant that 60 people had become engaged in making healthy choices.
From the stories Sonya shared, the momentum is indeed building! The Find the Right Fit program offers coupons participants can use to try out new activities for improving their physical or mental health. As well as Lacombe’s facilities, there are coupons for private businesses such as fitness clubs and yoga studios. Other businesses now want to be included in this opportunity.
Another example of momentum picking up is the many new outdoor play spaces created with a budget friendly method of paint and stencils. Games on the sidewalks and trails and parks attract children who gather to play traditional games such as hopscotch and stay to use their creativity and collaboration to create new games.
Momentum carried Lacombe residents to eating monthly meals together. There are Backyard Friends Community Dinners and Vegetarian Dinners. Neighborhood Block Parties also welcome new neighbors and create a sense of belonging. The Kinsmen Aquatic Centre leverages the involvement of people in fitness classes or sports teams through organizing potlucks so that participants can take their connections one step further.
Partnerships, perseverance and shifting perspective are creating many opportunities for fun, fitness and friendship. (Okay, no more alliteration!)