Due to COVID-19, pilot communities are adapting their campaigns to help people stay safe while they get active. This series will highlight local events and initiatives from the community pilot program — including creative ways to promote physical activity during social distancing.
This installment highlights a successful in-person community launch event that took place in early March in Streator, Illinois, before social distancing measures took effect.
Pilot community at a glance: Streator, Illinois
Community type: Rural
Population estimate: 13,113
Lead agency: Live Well Streator
Lead agency mission: Partnering to create a sustainable movement that will support the improvement of the health, wellness, and strength of the community
Lead agency website: osfhealthcare.org/locations/streator/community-health/live-well-streator/
Working Together to Promote Activity
Live Well Streator — a community collaborative supported by OSF HealthCare — launched their Move Your Way community campaign on March 11, 2020. They kicked things off with an indoor event at the Streator Incubator, a downtown business incubator and community center in Streator, Illinois.
The free event drew about 60 attendees and featured live fitness demonstrations, including a stretching session and a SilverSneakers workout for older adults. And to show attendees an easy way to get their hearts pumping, organizers encouraged people to walk briskly around the perimeter of the event space.
Ellen Vogel, Community Health Engagement Program Manager at OSF HealthCare, says the event was a true team effort, with volunteers, businesses, and schools coming together to make it a reality. “Getting a variety of people in your community working together toward a common goal is key to a successful event,” Vogel says.
Leveraging Social Media for Broader Engagement
To get the word out about their community campaign, Live Well Streator invited local businesses and schools to share how their employees and students get active. People posted photos and videos on social media with the hashtag #MoveYourWayStreator.
Ten local businesses and all 6 local schools participated, and the entries showed a wide range of creative activity options — from group wall-sits to Irish step dancing.
To boost engagement, they made it a competition: the business that got the most likes on their post won lunch for up to 20 people from a local restaurant, and the school with the most likes won $250 for their parent-teacher organization.
Vogel says the online competition, along with the live launch event, really energized the Streator community around physical activity. “From the people who always wanted to try a SilverSneakers class to the social media frenzy created by schools and businesses, everyone felt the excitement,” she says.
Creating a Healthier Community Through Campaign Resources
Going forward, Vogel hopes the Move Your Way campaign will help Live Well Streator achieve a key community health goal — to increase the proportion of Streator residents who are at a healthy weight from 27% to 45% by 2025.
Vogel says Move Your Way resources are an effective way to educate people about the health benefits of physical activity. She notes that while the recommendation for adults to get 150 minutes of physical activity every week can be daunting for some people, Move Your Way shows that this goal is achievable.
“Move Your Way explains that things like vacuuming, gardening, and dancing all count as activity,” she says. “This campaign shows how easy it really is for someone to start on their path toward a healthier lifestyle.”