Communities Choosewell : 2015 Award Winners
Overall Healthy Community Wellness Champion: City of Brooks
Brooks has gone above and beyond this year to make their community a healthier place to live. Inspired by Okotoks’ Most Significant Change story from 2014, Brooks has offered free recreation passes to all grade 7, 8 and 9 students in the community. Over 50% of youth in that age group signed up for a pass, and the overall youth participation at the recreation facilities increased 158%. This program will continue in future years. The City also raised $80,000 through sponsorship, donations and grants to build an 11-piece outdoor fitness park. For June is Recreation and Parks Month, the city created activity passports and a photo contest. Aside from running a huge amount of healthy programming with the city and the local schools, Brooks is another community that is pushing for healthier concession options at local recreation facilities. The amount of work that has been done in Brooks over the past year is truly incredible, and they are a very deserving recipient of the Overall Healthy Community Champion Award.
Most Significant Community Change Award: Edmonton Bicycle Commuters Society
The Edmonton Bicycle Commuters’ Society runs a program called You Can Ride 2, which modifies bicycles to allow children and youth with disabilities to be able to ride. This year, over 60 children participated in the program. Through the work of the Society and the volunteers that make this program possible, these children are able to experience the joy of riding a bicycle. The Society has more than 110 adapted bicycles in their loan pool and have developed several prototypes that are being tested to provide access to cycling for individuals with a wider range of disabilities.
Community Wellness Leadership Award: Peter Braun, Councillor Ward 3, Mackenzie County
Peter Braun sits on the recreation board as well as the La Crete Community Recreation Coalition. The coalition was formed in 2015 to find funding for a recreation coordinator position in La Crete. The coalition approached Peter for support, and he helped shape the presentation and suggested that the coalition ask for long-term commitment from the county, which was received, and La Crete now has a Recreation Coordinator. Peter Braun is an elected leader who sees the value in recreation and supports the cause in his community, and he is very deserving of the first Community Wellness Leadership Award.
Developing Healthy Policies Award: Village of Longview
Longview continues their great work, which spans several awards categories, but this year they are being recognized for their policy, passed by their town council, stating that the council will support non-profit programming, including healthy eating and active living programs, through donating time at the community hall and in local parks. The policy is linked to their Active Living Strategy, which was formed in Spring of 2013.
Developing Healthy Policies Award: Town of Vermilion
Vermilion has been working on establishing healthier food choices at the Vermilion Arena. Their new contract with the concession and vending operators stipulates that they will work towards offering 80% ‘Choose Most Often’ and ‘Choose Sometimes’ foods. The town also officially proclaimed June 6th National Health and Fitness Day.
Developing Healthy Policies Award: City of Lacombe
Lacombe is working on developing a policy that would require the city to provide nutritious food options at all events they host, and would also require ‘ChooseWell breaks’ during all city meetings. This would mean that all meetings would include scheduled breaks to encourage participants to get up and get moving for a few minutes. The city has also passed a bylaw that requires all new subdivisions must put in trails that link up to the already-large trail system in Lacombe, and also that the new subdivisions put in a park or playground area.
Developing Healthy Policies Award: City of St. Albert
Over the past 18 months, the City of St. Albert has transitioned all of its concessions at recreation facilities to include a minimum of 20% and up to 50% mandatory menu items that meet the ‘Choose Most Often’ criteria laid out by Alberta Health Services. Privately operated food services are now required to maintain this as well as a part of their lease.
Providing Health Education Award: Town of Sexsmith
Sexsmith has put in a lot of work this year to provide opportunities for their residents to learn more about healthy eating and active living. They have a portable community garden project, hosted a walkability workshop, ran a walk-to-school campaign, a Colour Me Fun teen event, and their Wellness Coalition continues to do great work supporting healthy living in the community.
Providing Health Education Award: Town of Morinville
Morinville has also been doing lots of work to support healthy living, including their new ‘What Have You Got To Lose’ program, which focuses on the first steps to getting active, as well as providing nutrition tips. They also formed a partnership between the Town and the Community Gardens to provide cooking classes to encourage residents to cook with fresh, local produce. Their seniors programming includes informational sessions that encourage seniors to be active and increase their physical activity to promote a healthier life.
Providing Health Education Award: Town of Canmore
In the spring, Canmore Recreation Centre Peaks of Grassi Gymnasium underwent rennovations to become a Physical Literacy lab, specifically designed to support the physical activity development of children and youth. Their day camps are using the space and incorporating physical literacy into their daily planning. The Recreation Department is working on a pilot project to encourage the development of basic physical literacy skills in Canmore children, partnering with daycares, preschools and elementary schools to try to have the greatest reach possible.
Providing Health Education Award: Huntington Hills
Over the summer, Huntington Hills hosted several free drop-in sessions, such as ‘Family Fridays’, meeting at local parks and offering Zumba and Yoga to all families, as well as play opportunities for local children. They also hosted a ‘Cooking on a Budget’ collective kitchen group, focusing on healthy eating and meat alternatives; and ‘Take Home Chefs’, a youth collective kitchen collaborative, where every week the youth chef would take home a healthy meal large enough to feed their family.
Building Community Capacity Award: Hamlet of Fort McKay
Fort McKay has excelled in building partnerships to support their small community. Their free meal program for all children and youth in the community has earned them recognition in the past. They have established relationships with the Fort McKay First Nations and Community Enhancement Society, the Wellness Centre, the local arena, the Fort McKay Hockey Society as well as the Recreation Department.
Building Community Capacity Award: Town of Coronation
Coronation continues to put on lots of great projects, including their 3rd Annual Fishing Derby and Community Picnic, a Healthy Snack Program at the school, and Seniors Community Kitchen and Fitness Centre. They are making connections with lots of key organizations in the area, including the Family and Community Support Services, Alberta Health Services, the local school, library, and many private businesses in the community.
Building Community Capacity Award: Town of Coaldale
Coaldale is another community that is working with local recreation centres to increase the healthy food options available at their local recreation facilities. They have connected with the Lethbridge College Be Fit For Life Centre and Family and Community Support Services, but Coaldale really stood out for all the partnerships they have built with local private businesses.
Building Community Capacity Award: City of Camrose
Camrose has developed a partnership between Alberta Health Services, the Camrose Primary Care Network and the City to acquire funding for a community outdoor gym in 2015. They also have a strong network for healthy living within the City, known as the Camrose Healthy Lifestyle Coalition, and this year worked with the Chuck MacLean Arts Centre to create a healthy-living themed children’s activity book, entitled ‘Colour Me Healthy’.
Building Community Capacity Award: Strathcona County
Strathcona has been altering their preschool programming to focus on physical literacy, and they have shifted the focus of the recreation activities to emphasize the value of social connections with a love to play, and redeveloping drop-in spaces to be more interactive and exploratory. They have been working with Alberta Health Services and the Primary Care Network, as well as local schools and businesses to enhance their healthy living offerings.
Creating Supportive Environments Award: Village of Alix
In the past year, Alix has put in a community garden through their Youth Leadership program, teaching children and youth in the community how to take care of and harvest fresh produce and flowers. They planted all of the flower boxes down their main street with different vegetables. This project has changed the perception of many in the community about local youth, and is bringing the community together in a very positive manner.
Creating Supportive Environments Award: Town of Grande Cache
Grande Cache has been doing great work to revitalize ‘Griffith Trail’, trying to make the local trail stroller-friendly, and have raised $25,000 through several grant programs (including Communities ChooseWell), as well as $40,000 in in-kind support. While there is a lot of work still to be done, the community has already set up a GPS trail route, posted signage, printed maps, and set up education stations where trail users can learn about the local flora and fauna.
Creating Supportive Environments: Town of Drumheller
St. Anthony’s School in Drumheller has been doing great work in promoting healthy living, with many projects, including having fresh fruits and vegetables delivered to each class weekly, an outdoor play day and winter carnival, a lunchtime activity week, and an indoor growing tower where they grow fresh produce with a hydroponics tower. They also have a Healthy Schools Cooking Club!
Creating Supportive Environments Award: Town of Strathmore
Strathmore was the venue for the 2015 55+ Summer Games, and in the past year has developed a disc golf course, an initiative sparked by the local high school students, a group called the Sthrathmore Assembly of Youth. Strathmore has also developed and paved more walking paths throughout the community, connecting many local neighbourhoods and their downtown area.