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Spring Edited Into Action Feature Photo


Communitas Springs Into Action

This spring, Communitas staff and the people they serve did something extraordinary. They walked, ran, hiked, cycled, swam, and more, going on a virtual journey from Tuktoyaktuk to the South Pole. Together, they travelled nearly 27,000 kms in 9 weeks.

John And Nicole Walk Like The Beatles
Nicole and John did a lot of walking as they participated in Spring Into Action

“The purpose of this virtual journey, which we called Spring Into Action, was to get people up and moving, doing something outdoors,” says Bonnie Hayward, the safety, health and wellness coordinator for Communitas. “Choosing a virtual destination helped motivate people on the way.”

Communitas Bonnie Hayward Walking In The Sunshine
Bonnie chose to walk in the sunshine as her main activity

People were encouraged to track their steps or time spent doing an activity. This allowed for people who play team sports or do things like yoga or gardening to also have a way to participate. Each Communitas home or service became a team that collectively tracked their mileage, which they recorded every week. To create a little friendly competition, Bonnie reported everyone’s progress in a weekly email.

“Some people find that very motivating,” Bonnie says with a laugh, adding that collectively, participants averaged 2994 kms per week.

Olha Running Near Chilliwack Lake Sm
Olha loves to run in nature, enjoying the views like this one at Chilliwack Lake

Active in Campbell River

In Campbell River, the Community Inclusion (CI) team won by racking up a collective 6733.4 kms. Nearly two dozen staff and people served participated. Diana Rowsell, CI manager, says most participants recorded their kilometres by walking, but there were a few who participated in unique ways.

Arnad Larger File
Arnad racked up his kilometres using a hand-propelled stationary bike

“One participant worked out on a stationary bike, some gardened or landscaped, and one person we serve uses a hand-propelled stationary bike at the gym,” Diana explains.

Lindsay Morris works in reception at the office in Campbell River and has the distinction of being the person who travelled the furthest – a whopping 1202.9 kms! Lindsay says her main activities were walking and workout videos.  She uses her Apple watch to count her steps.

“Everyone always gives me a hard time because I need to get my steps in!” she says with a laugh.

Moving in the Fraser Valley

In the Fraser Valley, the Community Living Employment and Life Skills team did various activities to build their kilometres, reaching 2494.8 kms. Many walked or hiked, went to yoga classes, or cycled.

Ce Team And Vicky Re Cropped
The Community Living and Employment team did a variety of activites for Spring Into Action.

Stacey Murdoch manages Communitas Employment. She chose to participate by walking and going to yoga classes.

“My husband and I intentionally went for walks along the Matsqui Trails,” Stacey says, adding that having a personal step-tracking device was very motivating.

Employment specialist, Nicole Neuberg walked as well but also tracked the time she spent gardening and tending her chickens. Being more intentional about moving after a day spent sitting at a desk made a difference. The fact that she lives on a farm also helps.

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Daily visits to the chicken coop helped Nicole add to her daily step count

“Living on land gives you steps by default because you just have to walk further to get from the house to the car or to the chicken coop,” Nicole explains.

Work Coach Stephen McCausland trained for a half marathon. He also cycles regularly but did one special trip during Spring Into Action.

“My wife and I cycled from Abbotsford to Golden Ears Provincial Park for a weekend camping trip – 150 kms in total!” he says.

Worth the Effort

An added incentive for everyone involved was knowing that the winning teams would get a prize – a prize that further encourages activity. On Vancouver Island, the CI group has requested a pickle ball set. In the Fraser Valley, the winning team plans to go bowling together.

Josie Walking With Weights
Josie chose to walk with weights to help build muscle

Each weekly update also included information about the place on the map that they had reached, making it an opportunity to learn something about the changing geography as they “travelled” south. The original goal was to get to the southern tip of South America but participants exceeded that by more than 3000kms. Overall, Bonnie says it was a resounding success.

“The biggest highlight for me was seeing the many ways that people participated,” Bonnie says. “We’ll have to plan something greater for next year!”

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