The Town of Vulcan, located approximately 130 KM southeast of Calgary, has an active Act4Health Committee that collaborates to promote physical activity and healthy eating programs. This small community of around 2000 people has proven that the power of collaboration can lead to healthy results.
During the winter of 2019, the Committee approached the local golf course to inquire about using their fields for recreational snowshoeing. To remove barriers and make the pilot project accessible to all, they purchased snowshoes to be lent out at the library. The community uptake was wonderful.
“We had to limit the amount of time that people were allowed to borrow the snowshoes for!” exclaims Donna Anderson, member-at-large for the Town of Vulcan Act4Health Committee.
Next winter, they will be offering the program again and are also looking to expand the project by creating cross-country ski tracks at the golf course.
“The nice thing about borrowing snowshoes is that you don’t have to go out and buy them,” explains Lori Gair, Community Liaison for the Vulcan and Region Family and Community Supports Services (FCSS). You can try them out and see if that’s a fit for you before you go and make that purchase.”
Another healthy initiative that the Act4Health Committee implemented, in collaboration with the local grocery store, was a healthy label program. The grocery store agreed to identify healthy choices on their store shelves. The grocery store staff picked 50 items a week and identified which options are the healthiest. The labels explained that a portion of the sales for those items would be donated to the local food bank.
“The coalition also put up brochures near the shopping carts,” elaborates Donna. “They had recipes for how to use lentils and how to use pulses and what you could do with a smoothie. It was expanding peoples’ horizon’s a bit.”
The program was so successful that even after the Act4Health Committee’s involvement was over, the grocery store continued to display the labels on the shelves.
Another healthy initiative that the Committee is looking to implement is a Vitality Café for those isolated in the community. The café acts as a modified book club, where participants will read an article or watch a short video to be discussed at the meeting. The Vitality Cafés moved online during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the committee is looking forward to moving them outside and in-person when the weather gets warmer this spring and summer.
Winning a Communities ChooseWell Most Significant Change Award means a lot to Donna and to the Act4Health Committee.
“We are a small community, and we are a collaborative group. It’s amazing what can happen when you have that collaborative effort,” she explains. “To me that’s what the award really represents: that coming together.”
The Committee will keep coming together as they bring future healthy eating and physical activity programs to Vulcan.