Saturday, December 10, 2011

Physical Fitness Campaign Concept: "Taking Off The Pounds Walkathon"

Hello All,

With holiday celebrations around the corner many of us are probably indulging a wee bit too much in all the delicious foods available to us. Today's concept focuses on obesity reduction which is plaguing the more affluent nations of the West. Especially amongst the youth, if not adults of various age groups with healthcare needs.

The Taking Off The Pounds Walkathon notion stems from a commemorative holiday called "Liberation Day" the Dutch celebrate every year. From their own liberation during World War 2 from the allied forces from German NAZI occupation. In some parts of the country persons of all ages receive civic duty medals for accomplishments of various sorts. Be it walking distance along certain designated routes or doing ancillary activities. Where participates keep a log book to document their accomplishments in order to redeem them for their civic duty medals.

Learning of this Dutch "Liberation Day" festivities got me thinking wouldn't this be a novel idea for an obesity reduction event in America. Yes, in the past such as in the city of Chicago they have had obesity marches to promote good health. However my concept takes more inspiration from the Dutch "Liberation Day" national holiday. To be repurposed into a walkathon to promote overall health amongst people of all ages. Such as those civic duty medals that the Dutch hand out to participates that record their accomplishments. Would be ideal for participates of a obesity reduction regieme. Of course not to alienate other people even the civic minded citizens and those physically fit can join in such an event.

For instance if a select group of national or local charitable organizations are invited to participate. Not so much as sponsors, but as recipients of the goodwill to be offered by civic minded conscious people of all ages. Where those aforementioned civic duty medals the Dutch hand out to participates with recorded event related accomplishments. A similar set of activities such as recorded volunteer hours to those select charities can be one aspect to earn such event civic duty medals. There can be a slew of devised activities that center around volunteering. Be it environmental clean up at parks, beaches, canals, etc... Spending time with the elderly at a nursing home facility. Being a "Meals on Wheels" volunteer or helping at "Habitat For Humanity" house building location. The opportunities to foster volunteerism in their local community through such an event are endless. Especially amongst the youth if such an event is sanctioned by the public education school district.

If such a "Taking Off The Pounds Walkathon" proves successful as a model. It can be transplanted to other regions or evolve into a national holiday. Just picture the President of the United States attending such an event with his spouse and children. Promoting a healthy lifestyle for all citizens alike and leading by example. Taking part in many of the activities that event organizers seek that participates would enjoy doing. However if such a notion is too bold for a national holiday to reduce obesity in America. Than this model of an event can be transplanted to other regions of a State or to other States themselves. Where high density of citizens are being afflicted by rising healthcare costs related to onset diabetes and/or heart attacks. Be it related to weight gain or other high stress conditions affecting an overall lifestyle.

The particulars of how event organizers can approach such a concept is as follows. In regards to the charitable organizations only a select group of them are offered to participate every year. Where tailoring the civic duty activities would be customized according to the mission of every charitable group that is sanctioned for the event. The walkathon itself may be held for one day or several days at varying alternating routes per day of the events. A multi day walkathon set up at varying locations within a city affords those that can't attend one day do so for the next event. The civic activities can commence a month before the official walkathon takes place. So participates can be funneled into the select charities to volunteer their time in order to qualify for the civic duty medals and ribbons.

All participates can ask by snail mail or kept on site at participating charities for a basic complimentary logbook. Where attendees can begin recording their activities set out for that year by the event organizers. For every accomplished activity every charitable group will have their own unique stamp of approval designed just for that years activities. In order to promote uniqueness amongst the missions of each charity and to minimize any cheating by attendees. Each charity can also sell a fancier attendee logbook that is custom designed for their organization and sanctioned by the event organizers. In order to facilitate additional donation dollars in their direction. Akin to how PBS runs their own televised fund raising drives with certain donation amounts affords a gift. Their can be merchandising material that is designed for each charity and sanctioned as a source of donation revenue for that years events.

Aside from the attendee logbooks there will be a portal website where attendees can register for free. In order to develop a personal profile where all progress of their activities can be tracked. Be it tracked for personal enjoyment or statistically by charities and event organizers to gauge overall participation for that year. There can be strict controls on how the charities upload their data of attendee activities to the portal website. The portal website is promoted alongside the commencement of the volunteerism that precedes the walkathon by one month. The portal website serves a dual purpose of taking donations for the charity groups online for that year. Including if an attendee happens to lose or damages their logbook by a misfortune all their progress isn't lost. The logbooks aren't the size of an accountants ledger, they are however compact in size.

Attendees of the multi day walkathon after registration on site are given the usual fare of a free T-Shirt promoting the event. Where those that have a profile on the portal website get their ID tracked for having started the walkathon. Along each route depending on that day there will be the usual rest station stops in order to get rehydrated or for any first aid needs. Upon completion of the walkathon they have to check-in one more time to be recorded and congratulated for their efforts. Where all attendees can receive a "Certificate of Accomplishment". Be it by snail mail or printed out from their profile section of the portal website. Highlighting all the activities and achievements they participated in during the course of the events.

At they very end of all the events there can be a televised ceremonial festivity. Where all awards be it civic duty medals, ribbons, and high awards are handed out. Before the televised portion there can be a festival where common activities are held. For the youth to enjoy as well folks of all ages. Leading up to the walkathon during the month long of volunteerism. There can be free workshops of healthy meal preparations and nutrition. Local hospitals can be invited to promote their free clinics and set up at select locations free screenings. Local farmer markets can be promoted alongside in order to increase public awareness of the healthy produce and vegetables in season.

For the part of corporate sponsorships suitable partners may be sectors such as: Fitness Centers, Supermarkets, Health Insurance companies, Healthy eateries, etc... Examples for instance are: Subway restaurants, Gold's Gym, GNC, United Healthcare, Humana, Blue Shield / Blue Cross, even McDonalds in terms of youth orientation. Donations that are raised in total for all select participating charities for that years event. Can have corporate sponsor matching dollars to be contributed with the famous "Big Cardboard Check" at the televised ceremonial festivity. There can be a luncheon held after the televised ceremonial event in order to invite esteemed and generous guests. Where tables can be solicited at various donation amounts as a final fundraiser.

The "Taking Off The Pounds Walkathon" is to promote overall healthy lifestyles for people of all ages. Especially our youth in order to catch them young and to reinforce strong ideals of healthy lifestyles and volunteerism. Everyone benefits be it the attendees by being recognized by their civic and personal accomplishments. Be it civic duty medals, ribbons, and a certificate of accomplishment for attendees. The select group of charities that partook of that years events. The corporate sponsors and event organizers in order to promote goodwill for community outreach programs. This is by all means just a sampling of the scope of this concept to facilitate a healthy conscious living within a community at large. For the benefit of every generation that chooses to make of it what they will in order to promote civic responsibility.