Youth Marathon Encourages Kids in Michigan Tribal Communities to Get Active

The Tribe to Tribe Blues Community Challenge just completed its fourth year, celebrating the achievement of all of the participating tribal members at the annual Michigan Indian Family Olympics. The MIFO held its 28th Annual Games in Shepherd, MI this year on Friday, July 17.

The Tribe to Tribe Blues Community Challenge is an annual physical activity contest which challenges Michigan’s tribal communities to see which team can log the most miles of physical activity over the course of the multi-week contest. The program is grounded in the goals of  increasing regular levels of physical activity and incorporating more healthy living behaviors into day to day life.

Teams compete for a share of a total number of wellness grant dollars from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, with higher performing teams taking home the larger shares of the total. To fulfill the requirements of the competition, members of each team log their daily physical activity through the BCBSM Blues WalkingWorks© physical activity online tracking tool. The team logging the most miles of activity during the challenge is declared the winner.

In 2015, the winning team was the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Community, who went home with $3,000. The second place winners, the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa, brought home $2,500; the third place winners, the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi, brought home $2,000.

This year for the first time, the challenge added in a kids’ health component with the first #MIKidsCan Tribe to Tribe Marathon. Fifty-six kids from the 7 of the participating tribes logged the first 25.2 miles of a marathon with their families and friends during the duration of the challenge, and then came together to run or walk the final mile of their “marathon” together at the MIFO. In total, there were 560 active participants in the challenge in 2015.

We asked some of the kids that competed in the marathon challenge what they liked about themselves when they are living healthy. Here’s what they had to say:

  • Aiyanah Borton, 12: “I feel good and I am with people I love.”
  • Juan-Sergio Casas, 7: “I smile more.”
  • Quenton Johansen-Rolfes, 9: “I like to be active with my friends.”
  • Waasamoo Pamp, 14: “I have lots of energy and this helps me get it out.”
  • Jennifer Delacruz, 5: “I like going for walks with mommy and daddy and Angie (our doggie).”
  • Jacob Delacruz, 5: “I like the food – I like berries and bananas – mmm!”

The Tribe to Tribe Blues Community Challenge program is an extension of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s social mission, with a focus on increasing physical activity and healthy nutrition. It provides information and education on preventing and managing chronic diseases, and it allows those in Michigan tribal communities to incorporate healthy lifestyle habits into their daily lives.

To find some similar blogs about physical activity and active communities, see the links below:

Photo Credit: Kristie Stocker

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