Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Awards Funding to Six Community Recreation Programs
From walking and bike paths to innovative fitness opportunities for residents, six initiatives aimed at increasing health and wellness in their respective communities recently received financial support from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
The Healthy Recreation Catalyst Awards support programs or innovations that will catalyze healthy lifestyles. This year, more than $17,000 was awarded to six community projects. These awards are provided through the MI Big Green Gym partnership, which includes Blue Cross, mParks, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Read about the award winners:
- Adult Aqua Fit: A $1,500 grant will allow the City of Richmond to expand their Aqua Fit program, which offers adults the opportunity to strengthen muscles and improve their cardiovascular fitness in a low-impact manner.
- Step it Up! Walking Challenge: After the successful launch of this popular walking program in Ottawa County this spring, a $2,500 grant is helping the Ottawa Department of Public Health offer a fall session.
- Park-to-Preserve Hiking Trail Connector: A 300-foot boardwalk will connect a hiking and walking trail in Washtenaw County’s Sharon Mills County Park with a hiking trail in the Nan Weston Preserve, which is owned and operated by The Nature Conservancy. Construction will be funded by a $2,500 grant and $1,000 contributions from Washtenaw County and The Nature Conservancy. It is expected that use of both trails will increase significantly because of the increased trail length and accessibility.
- Get Fit in the Park: A $2,650 grant will allow the Waterford Parks and Recreation Department to offer low-cost and free outdoor fitness programs in township parks next summer, including running and jogging groups and yoga classes.
- Healthy Trenton Bicycle Network Development: One of the main objectives of the City of Trenton’s Five-Year Parks and Recreation Master Plan is to develop a series of walking/biking/fitness trails that connect areas of the city to encourage an active community. A $4,000 grant will go toward improving existing bike routes and strategically locating new bike racks in the downtown area to encourage use of the city’s connected trails and to encourage business patronage and economic development.
- Play on the Way: The Play on the Way program at Central Michigan University (CMU) is managed and operated by the CMU Department of Recreation, Parks and Leisure. It focuses on providing recreational activities to underserved and rural families who do not have access to programs within their own neighborhood. The launch marks the first such university-based initiative of its kind in the United States. The program will be supported in part by a $4,000 grant.
“The Healthy Recreation Catalyst awards are another example of a fabulous Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan partnership that provides resources to local communities to strengthen health and wellness opportunities for their residents,” said Ann Conklin, mParks chief operating officer. “Connecting BCBSM with parks and recreation agencies is certainly a positive step to improved physical activity.”
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Photo credit: Gabriel Garcia Marengo