CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – After two months of taking the stairs, parking on the far side of the parking lot and counting every step taken, City of Clarksville employees logged 50,867,057 steps, as part of a step challenge issued earlier in the year.
The City’s new Wellness Committee issued the Step Challenge to all City employees at the end of April. The contest ran from the beginning of May through the end of June. Categories included small department, large department and top male and top female stepper.
“We were looking for ways to engage our employees with challenges and other fun activities,” said Wes Golden, City of Clarksville Health and Safety Manager and coordinator of the Wellness Committee. “And contests like this are a great way to encourage employees to create healthy habits. These challenges can build and help sustain high employee morale.”
Employees were encouraged to use the CareHere app or website to log their daily steps. A conversion chart was supplied so that activities like yard work, horseback riding and yoga could be converted into a step count.
“Having a healthier workforce can decrease absenteeism, improve productivity, reduce health care costs for the City and the employees, and lower the elevated health risks for our employees and their families,” Golden said.
Forming the Wellness Committee, made up of representatives from all departments, was championed by Cynthia Pitts, Clarksville's First Lady. The initiative is intended to provide City employees and families the tools and perspective to make lasting change in their health and well-being.
“When the idea for this committee first began to grow, my only intent was to help at least one person better their life, whether in stress-management, eating habits or whatever,” Pitts said. “What I’ve watched happen over the last few months is a group of individuals, coming together as a team, to encourage each other in their journey towards a healthier lifestyle, and to encourage their departments, friends and families.”
The Wellness Committee presented the winning departments with trophies, the top steppers with a prize and plaque and awarded multiple participation prizes to various City employees.
The top female stepper for the City was Heather Fleming with Purchasing, and the top male stepper was David Nelson with the Clarksville Street Department. For the large department category, Clarksville Street Department took the most steps, and Internal Audit stepped away as the winners of the small department category.
“The step challenge was exciting to see unfold, because the departments took their natural, good-natured competitiveness and used that to really pursue a healthier lifestyle change,” said First Lady Pitts. “It worked to bring not only City employees together, but employees’ families together, as everyone joined together to raise their step counts.”
The Wellness Committee meets regularly to develop engaging competitions in the pursuit of healthier lifestyles. Beginning Aug. 1, City of Clarksville employees will conduct various tasks like making better food choices, spending a day off social media and numerous physical activities, to complete a “black out” on a BINGO card. Similar to the Steps Challenge, departments will compete against each other and individuals will be awarded participation prizes.
“It all starts with that decision to take that first step, either in food choices or activity level, to begin your journey towards a healthier you,” Pitts said.