HCRS was recently awarded a $750 Worksite Wellness Grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont’s Community Advisory Board for Windsor and Orange Counties. HCRS will use the grant funding to support its second annual Employee Walking Challenge starting in early May.
In an effort to improve health and wellness, HCRS’ Walking Challenge was created in 2008 by a small group of employees to encourage staff to increase their physical activity levels. Designed around the idea of tracking cumulative steps walked by employees, a character named Walter was created who was propelled by participant’s steps back and forth across the United States.
Walter’s journey was tracked on an online map and all participants were sent humorous, motivational postcards from Walter’s latest travels on a weekly basis. Health and wellness information was also provided for all employees, both online and on staff bulletin boards.
Walter has received enthusiastic support and overwhelming positive reception from staff throughout the agency. Last year 157 employees signed up for the challenge and 62% successfully completed the eight week challenge. On average, 84% of the participants walked more than 5,000 steps a day and over 20% walked more than 20,000 steps a day. At the end of the eight-week program, employees who went the distance were rewarded with a Walking Challenge T-shirt.
This year’s walking challenge theme is “Walter’s World Tour” where the cumulative steps of employees will propel Walter around the world.