Fifty years ago, astronaut Neil Armstrong walked as the first man on the moon with his epic quote “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. Youth in Connersville, IN used that as the launching pad for the first ever “Daylight Moonwalk” in their community, drawing a giant response of 128 citizens who turned out to take a walking break despite a rainy day. This was part of the Fayette County, IN. Well Connected Community (WCC) Initiative where organizers are seeking to establish a health coalition.
The WCC youth-adult team combined forces with a nonprofit called “Community Voices”. Together they sketched out 4 routes in downtown Connersville, three under a mile long and taking 12-20 minutes to walk. The 4th route was a combination of the other three routes, taking 45 minutes to walk 1.8 miles. They focused on downtown where over 150 local government employees work sedentary jobs. The youth applied for a $1,000.00 local foundation grant which they received to buy t-shirts, healthy prizes and snacks, and signage. The t-shirts were imprinted with a youth-designed logo and the slogan paraphrasing Armstrong’s famous quote “Take a path toward health one step at a time”, which the youth hope to use again in the future. Eight community organizations including a local bank and insurance company collaborated on the event.
Teens and adults manned the central booth located in the Courthouse parking lot Farmers’ Market on June 15, 2019. Of the 128 walkers, 41 (nearly one-third) were youngsters! The teens calculated that the walkers made 281,722 steps (134.5 miles), burning 11,600 calories. 55 committed to a 12-week online walking program called Get WalkIN developed by Purdue University School of Nursing.
Thanks to coverage by a local newspaper, one of the local hospitals decided to be a supporter of establishing the desired community health coalition. Potential funding is being sought for permanent signage to mark the “walking break trails”.
Carrying out the theme of the event, this could be one giant step towards better health for the entire community as a community coalition searches out the priority health issues for this town and works as a body to address those concerns.