Sitka Community Hospital launches Active August Fitness Challenge geared toward walking and biking

Commuting by bicycle or on foot is an economical and environmentally responsible way to simultaneously meet your needs for transportation, physical activity and fun all in one! In the month of August, Sitka Community Hospital will hold a summer fitness challenge encouraging Sitka residents to leave the car behind and instead enjoy a walk or bike ride as they do their regular errands and commutes.

Sitka residents can start logging trips at any point to be eligible for weekly drawing by completing one or more non-motorized transportation trips a week. On Tuesdays, starting on Aug. 8, one local resident will be selected to win a $100 gift certificate to a local business, the second-place winner will get a free class at the Hames Center. Cyclists or walkers who participate in all four weeks of the challenge will be entered into the grand prize drawing.

“Sitka really is a great place to experience on foot or bike and because we are compact, have courteous drivers, and a mild climate it’s possible to combine exercise with basic commuting. Every day lots of people in Sitka are doing just that,” Sitka Community Hospital Director of Health Promotion Doug Osborne said.

Participants can enter online at http://bit.ly/walkbikesitka  or drop off a hard copy at the Hames Center, Sitka Public Library, Sitka Public Health Center or Oceanside Therapy Center.

For more information, visit sitkahospital.org or call 747-0373.

• Sitka Community Hospital Active August Challenge Brochure 2017

SEARHC launches Southeast Wellness in Action fitness program in August

The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) is launching the Southeast Wellness in Action fitness program, which takes place from Aug. 1-27 in several communities throughout the region.

The goal of the program is for people to get at least 30 minutes of healthy, physical activity each day during August. Participants are encouraged to walk, bike, swim, hike, dance, mow the lawn, play children’s games, garden, gather subsistence food, chop wood, etc., just get moving. There are 1,440 minutes in a day, so make 30 of them active.

Participants can register by going to http://www.surveymonkey.com/r/wellness-in-action or contacting their local SEARHC Health Educator (in Sitka, contact Heleena vanVeen at 966-8914 or heleenav@searhc.org) between July 17-28. The program also is available in Juneau, Kake, Klukwan, Klawock/Craig, and Haines (click this link for local contacts and program information). Participants will submit a weekly activity log to their local contact by noon on Monday to be included in weekly drawings for prizes.

Sitka Cancer Survivors Society to host celebration walk at Path of Hope park

A sculpture by Stephen Lawrie on the Path of Hope trail in Sitka.

The Sitka Cancer Survivors Society is planning a celebration event at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 25, in honor of June being Cancer Survivor Month.

The society invites all those interested in joining them in walking through the “Path of Hope” park, celebrating with cancer survivors their families and friends.

Come meet the board members find out what we are all about, how we got started, and what we do to help support all those dealing with cancer. Refreshments will be served by the Sitka Emblem Club #142. Come and enjoy the beautiful park, and celebrate with fellow cancer survivors and their families.

The Path of Hope Inspirational Park is located on Moller Drive, behind Sitka Community Hospital and behind the running track at Moller Field.

The Sitka Cancer Survivors Society provides support for Sitka residents undergoing cancer treatment, and survivors of cancer. Any questions, please contact Carolyn Fredrickson at 623-7028.

• 2013 SCSS Path of Hope Brochure

Girls on the Run to close out season with beach-themed 5K community fun run on May 13

 
The Sitka Girls On The Run program will host celebrate the end of its ninth season with a beach/Hawaiian themed five-kilometer run from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 13, with the start-finish line at the Crescent Harbor covered shelter. The fun run and ceremony will honor the girls, who have been training all spring at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School.

This is a family friendly event, and tutus and bright colors are encouraged, but not required. Volunteers and cheerleaders also are needed so they can make the event extra special for our participants. Here are a few ways you can help:

  • Volunteer — There are quite a few volunteer positions available, some of which also allow volunteers to run in the event (all allow volunteers to be cheerleaders). Volunteer time requirements vary by assignment. Please register at http://tinyurl.com/GOTR5K2017. Please contact Lauren Havens at lhavens@safv.org or 747-3489 with any questions.
  • Cheerleader — Position yourself along the course between 9:45 a.m. to 11 a.m. to cheer the girls on as they run. The run starts at the Crescent Harbor covered shelter, runs along the Sitka Sea Walk and through the Sitka National Historical Park’s Totem Trails and back, so there are plenty of places to cheer people on. Bring a sign and bright colors and a positive attitude.

Girls On The Run is a life-changing empowerment program for girls in third through fifth grade. We teach life skills through dynamic, interactive lessons and running games. The program culminates with the girls being physically and emotionally prepared to complete a celebratory five-kilometer (3.1-mile) running event. The goal of the program is to unleash confidence through accomplishment while establishing a lifetime appreciation of health and fitness.

The 12-week program is one of several in the region. GOTR of Greater Alaska operates Girls On The Run programs in Sitka, Juneau, Ketchikan, Petersburg, and Yakutat, along with similar programs in other Alaska communities. Check out what the program is all about. Sitkans Against Family Violence (SAFV) hosts the GOTR program in Sitka.

Please help spread the word and encourage family members and friends to make the 2017 5K Community Fun Run a success.

Tenth annual Sitka Health Summit to take place Friday, Oct. 21, at UAS Sitka Campus

Sitka Health Summit Poster FINAL

newsitkahealthsummitlogoDo you have any good community wellness ideas for Sitka? It’s time 10th annual Sitka Health Summit planning day, which takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 21, in Room 229 at the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus.

The Sitka Health Summit got its start in 2007 when then-Sitka Community Hospital CEO Moe Chaudry and then-SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Vice President of Hospital Services Frank Sutton decided they needed to bridge the gaps between Sitka’s largest two health services. They launched the Sitka Health Summit, with the help of other supporters in Sitka, as a way to improve community wellness, honor local wellness champions, and more.

One of the highlights of the Sitka Health Summit has been the annual community wellness planning day. During planning day, Sitka residents get together to discuss the health needs of the community and create community wellness projects to address these needs.

Over the years there have been a variety of Sitka Health Summit projects — create a local market for local fish and produce, build a Sitka community greenhouse, become a Bicycle Friendly Community, become a Walk Friendly Community, encourage more kids and families to get outdoors for recreation, support a community health and wellness center (Hames), plant fruit trees around town, get more local fish into school lunches, build a Choose Respect mural, Revitalize Sitka, the Sick-a-Waste compost project, the Sitka Community Food AssessmentPark PrescriptionsTogether for a Meth-Free Sitka, the Sitka Kitch (a project to create a community rental kitchen and improve Sitka’s emergency food storage capacity), Celebrate Katlian Street: A Vibrant Community, and the Southeast Youth Resource Guide.

The 2015 Sitka Health Summit projects were to develop an American Disabilities Act-compliant Sitka Community Playground near Crescent Harbor, build a community garden plot behind the Island Institute (this started off as a project to build a community greenhouse on top of the Sitka cold storage plant, but it morphed into a different project), and to create a way to honor and support the well-being of elders in Sitka.

This year, Sitka residents are invited to submit community wellness project ideas before the Sitka Health Summit. They can do this by going to the Sitka Health Summit website, http://www.sitkahealthsummit.org/, and clicking on the Submit Ideas link at the top of the gateway page (link opens a short SurveyMonkey survey). You also can submit ideas to Doug Osborne at 747-0373 or dosborne@sitkahospital.org. The top two projects this year will receive $2,000 in seed money to get the projects started.

To register for the Sitka Heath Summit planning day, call Zachary Desmond at 747-4600 or email him at zachary@braveheartvolunteers.org. In your email, please include your name, email address, phone number, organization (you can list self if you’re not representing an organization), and any food restrictions. A free lunch with locally sourced seafood (in honor of the Fish To Schools project from 2010) will be provided.

Sitka National Historical Park celebrates centennial Aug. 25 with free programs and cake

SitkaNationalHistoricalParkSign

NPS100thBirthdayOn Thursday, Aug. 25, the community is invited to Sitka National Historical Park to celebrate Founder’s Day. Founder’s Day is the annual celebration of the creation of the National Park Service.

This is a milestone year for the National Park Service, with 2016 marking its 100th birthday. Centennial celebrations will include new ranger talks, tidepool exploration, a historic photo exhibit, free tours of the Russian Bishop’s House, Russian tea, hikes on the totem trails, and cupcakes. Don’t forget you can count your hikes on the Park Prescriptions program; just get them to stamp your free punchcard at the Visitor Center.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Historic Park Photo Exhibit

Take a walk through time by viewing seldom-seen photos from the park’s past. These historic park photos document the park’s rich history as a unit of the National Park Service. The photo exhibit will be located inside the Visitor Center.

Ranger Table Talks at the Visitor Center

Subsistence Champions, 9-9:45 a.m. — Learn about the multitude of edible, medicinal and all-around useful plants and animals in Southeast Alaska.

A Century of National Park Service, 9:45-10:30 a.m. — While National Parks seem commonplace today, they were a new and radical idea when first created 100 years ago.

Tidepool Exploration, 11 a.m. to noon — Explore and learn about tidepools and their resident creatures.

Salmon, Sea Otters and Eagles, 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. — Learn about the myriad species of wildlife that make their home in Sitka National Historical Park.

Salmon Talk, 2-3 p.m. — Learn more about the fish who have made life in Southeast Alaska possible for thousands of years.

Centennial Cupcakes at the Visitor Center

Cupcakes, 10:30 a.m. to noon — Cupcakes celebrating the 100th birthday of the National Park Service at the visitor center.

At the Russian Bishop’s House

Russian Tea, 9 a.m. to noon – Russian tea will be served on the front lawn of the Russian Bishop’s House.

Free Tours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Free ranger-guided tours of the restored residence of the Bishop on the second floor.

Learn more about the National Park Service at http://www.nps.gov/. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 407 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more about the Sitka National Historical Park at http://www.nps.gov/sitk or visit the park’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SitkaNationalHistoricalPark.

Walking and winning in the Park Prescriptions program at Sitka National Historical Park

Sitka National Historical Park Ranger Ryan Carpenter, left, congratulates Andy Bone after Andy won a $25 prize in the Active April Park Prescriptions drawing on June 4 at the park. (Photo by Sharon McIndoo)

Sitka National Historical Park Ranger Ryan Carpenter, left, congratulates Andy Bone after Andy won a $25 prize in the Active April Park Prescriptions drawing on June 4 at the park. (Photo by Sharon McIndoo)

ParkPrescriptionsPad_Page_1When Andy Bone’s friends ask him what he wants to do, often times he response is “let’s go for a walk in the park.” Earlier this summer, Andy’s passion for walking and love for the park paid off as with a $25 prize in the Active April Park Prescriptions drawing on National Trails Day, June 4, at Sitka National Historical Park.

Andy and five other members of the community won a variety of prizes for walking, running and recreating within the park. Prizes included $100, $50 and $25 dollars provided by the Sitka Community Hospital Foundation. The Sitka Community Hospital Foundation also distributed gift certificates donated by Russell’s and Work and Rugged Gear.

ParkPrescriptionsPad_Page_2Clara Rear, who won $100, said she finds the Park Prescriptions program a “fun opportunity to go walking with kids.”

For Diane Larsen, who won $50, “It’s fun to walk with ladies from church. And I appreciate the opportunity to get out and walk.”

Vienna Vaden won a gift certificate from Work and Rugged Gear. She said, “What I love about the Park Prescriptions program is that I can walk with my mom one day, walk with a church friend one day and walk with my daughter the next day. The park staff allows flexibility in the times we walk so I don’t have to commit to 6 am or 8 at night. … My mother played in the park as a child. I played in the park as a child, and now I play and walk with my children.”

“Just get out and walk. It’s worth it,” said Sandy Griffith, who won a gift certificate from Russell’s.

To participate in the program and to be eligible to win during the next quarterly drawing, stop by Sitka National Historical Park’s visitor center to pick up a Park Prescriptions card. Then get the card stamped by a park employee whenever you walk the park’s trails.

For more information about the program, contact Ryan Carpenter at 747-0121 or ryan_p_carpenter@nps.gov.