Community Champions of Health Celebrated

October 15, 2012
Keene, NH

Champions Event

Caption: Members of the Elm City Rotary Club accept The Healthiest Community Champion of the Year award.

Cheshire County's Healthiest Community Initiative, launched by the Council for a Healthier Community in 2006, held its third annual Vision 2020 Champions Celebration event on October 11 with 135 community members in attendance.

The agenda featured an update of the Champions program, including involvement of Individual Champions (1600); School Champions (4 and growing); and Organizational Champions (53 local businesses and groups) - all who have pledged to live, share, model and inspire healthy behaviors.

A new addition to this year's event was the presentation of 6 H.E.A.L (Healthy Eating Active Living) Awards and one Healthiest Community Champion of the Year Award, designed to recognize those who exemplify the mission of modeling healthy behaviors within themselves, their family, neighborhood, organization, town, school or other group.

Individual Champions awarded were: Diane Croteau, who after battling a health scare, began exercising at the Keene Family YMCA and at the Monadnock Family Services InShape program; and Beth Corwin, an "uber" Champion, for efforts in sharing healthy eating and active living strategies with staff and students at Symonds School in Keene, including 5-2-1-0,  fitnessgrams and the first Kid's DeMar marathon held this year.

Organizational Champions awarded were: The Keene Swamp Bats for implementing 'instant recess' breaks during games and retooling concessions with healthy Turn a New Leaf menu items; and The Community Kitchen for truly 'championing' healthier eating in the Keene community by adopting Turn a New Leaf healthy menu options for patrons.

School Champions recognized were: Mt. Ceasar School in Swanzey for implementing 5-2-1-0 strategies, staff and student participation, and creating a wellness committee; and Symonds Elementary in Keene, for encouraging walk and bike to school days, fitnessgrams for students and 80% staff participation in the Champions program.

The Healthiest Community Champion of the Year was awarded to the Elm City Rotary Club, who have advanced the action plan of the Healthiest Community Initiative by active member involvement on advisory boards and committees for the Healthiest Community Initiative, creating club challenges to motivate more activity, beginning a wellness committee, and involvement in the first Kid's DeMar marathon that energized over 300 local school children to run or walk 25 miles and complete the final 1.2 mile run at the DeMar marathon.

According to Linda Rubin, Director of the Healthy Community Initiative, the roster of Champions is the heart of Vision 2020. "Champions are the faces of the Initiative, inspiring others to join in," Rubin said. "They are taking steps, both small and large, to improve the places where we live, learn, work and play-the places where health really begins."

The Healthiest Community Initiative is funded by community partners and donations to the Cheshire Health Foundation at Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene. It is designed to actively engage the citizens of Cheshire County in the journey to become the nation's healthiest community by 2020. The Champions program's emphasis is on encouraging individuals, schools and organizations to take greater responsibility for all aspects of their own health and to think also about the health of friends, family, co-workers and neighbors. Among the many goals of the Healthiest Community Initiative is an evolution of the local healthcare system to allow an increased focus on disease prevention and maintaining good health.

For information about the Healthiest Community Initiative, to view the current list of Vision 2020 Champions, and to see how you can become a Champion, please visit or call (603) 354-5454, Ext. 3930.

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