Saskatchewan In Motion continues with its efforts to make an impact in Estevan.
Working with a small local action team, In Motion has made considerable inroads in the community since last summer, when they held a Community Chase event in the city, according to Kim Herperger, a communication strategist with In Motion.
“Christine Batke from the Estevan Public Library has really been key in getting it going and helping us find folks. They’re always looking for more volunteers, but they have a good group to start with,” said Herperger.
They have a healthy number now, and as they move forward and identify actions people want to take, they’ll be looking for volunteers to spearhead action items.
They also met with Estevan city council and spoke to the Estevan Chamber of Commerce’s coffee talk in December regarding their efforts in Estevan.
In Motion also continues to gather information to help them understand the current level of physical activity in Estevan. They have held focus groups with students and launched a survey for the community.
“Often when we think about physical activity, the mind jumps to facilities and programs and parks,” said Herperger. “This process is trying to get people thinking beyond the traditional to things that are more sustainable and longer term, to make it safe for kids and families to be more active.”
Julia Frigault, a community action specialist with In Motion, has spent time in the community in the past, and she will be back for more focus groups and interviews.
A community symposium is scheduled for March 18 in Estevan. The event will bring the community together to start a made in Estevan plan so local kids will be moving more.
“The symposium ultimately helps the community arrive at some priorities,” said Herperger. “So usually they’ll have somebody who comes in and speaks about the importance of physical activity for kids. Then we talk a little bit about the process, and the community will identify what they think their priority areas are, and they will get together into groups and talk about those different areas.”
Those could include safe routes for walking to school, physical literacy or other concepts communities want to address.
“The symposium is a first step, and once the symposium is complete and we compile all of the information, we’ll be back probably a time or two to solidify things and really put the final touches on the plan,” said Herperger.
Similar events have happened in other communities.
“What we look for in a community is anybody who cares about physical activity, because it really does take a village,” said Herperger.
Parents, coaches, municipal leaders, educators and those in the health care sector are among those who have been involved with previous efforts.
Potential end results include more kids walking to school, volunteers coming forward who haven’t in the past and partnerships being formed.
“We see communities in schools creating physical activity-friendly policies. We see things happening in terms of infrastructure to support physical activity, so maybe sidewalks or bike racks or trails or benches being created.”
Things they do to make kids more physically active can benefit adults as well, she said, even if the focus is on children.