ODPHP is working with 4 pilot communities to implement the Move Your Way® campaign for specific audiences. Each community is focused on a specific population — teens, older adults, pregnant and postpartum people, or Spanish speakers.
Read on to learn how the Chicago Park District is using the Move Your Way campaign to engage teens in their community.
Building on their efforts as a 2020 Move Your Way pilot community, the Chicago Park District (CPD) returned in 2021 with an aim to get more Chicago teens moving. From the very beginning, CPD knew that including teen voices and teen-centered ideas would be key to their success. This spring, CPD held a youth listening session with teens before finalizing their campaign plans.
“The youth listening session was a great opportunity for us to learn about what physical activity really means to teens and what motivates them to get active,” says Kourtnee Palomere, CPD Program and Event Coordinator. “We took this feedback and tried to best incorporate it into our teen engagement campaign strategy.”
Move Your Way Teen Challenge
ODPHP research indicates that teens are drawn to specific motivations — like improved mental health and time spent with peers — and look for information in easily accessible formats like videos. That’s why ODPHP created the Move Your Way Teen Challenge. The challenge invites teens to get active, record videos showing how they like to move, and share those videos on social media and use the hashtag #GetYour60 to encourage their peers to get physical activity.
To kick off the challenge, ODPHP created 3 videos encouraging teens to get active. Each video includes a teen doing a physical activity they enjoy and sharing why they get active.
CPD has incorporated the teen challenge into their teen ambassador program. CPD teen ambassadors raise awareness about CPD programs and encourage their peers to participate. During the campaign, the teen ambassadors created Instagram posts to promote the physical activity recommendations and discuss how they liked to get active.
Colleen Lammel-Harmon, CPD Health and Wellness Senior Project Manager, says CPD used the Move Your Way teen videos to further engage their teen ambassadors. “We used the teen videos to teach the teen ambassadors about the physical activity recommendations, and in turn they could educate their peers,” Lammel-Harmon says.
Reaching Teens in Teen-Centered Spaces
Teen ambassadors also promoted the campaign at CPD’s youth-focused summer events, including the Summer Kickback Series and the Go Grind skate event series. To encourage participation, CPD hosted these events in teen-centered spaces. The Summer Kickback Series provided spaces for teens to connect and be active through music, dance, and games, and the Go Grind series offered skate clinics to help teens increase their confidence on skateboards.
Teen ambassadors engaged their peers at these events to talk about why physical activity is important and to encourage their peers to get active each day. They also documented the event activities on CPD’s social media pages, including a teen-managed Instagram page.
Implementation Takeaways and Future Campaign Activities
CPD found that teens play a valuable role in encouraging physical activity in their families, schools, and communities. “When teens move, others join them — it’s socially contagious,” says Lammel-Harmon. Helping teens get active helps ensure they — and others in their community — accrue the many benefits of physical activity.
Looking forward, CPD plans to continue promoting the campaign on social media and is working to integrate Move Your Way campaign messages into various programs, including teen and youth workshops about the importance of physical activity that will be held throughout Chicago.