Monday, October 3, 2011

Walking the Walk: the 2011 Be Well Walk

share this +

Sunday for me usually means football, the weekly grocery store run, and maybe some yard work (if after this drought you can still call it a yard). But yesterday was different. I competed in obstacle course races, scrambled to sort and throw food packages into different colored bins, and embarrassed myself with a total lack of hula hooping ability.

This weekend, I and over 2,600 Texans took part in the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation’s first ever Be Well Walk at Lady Bird Lake in Austin. I was there with our Center and team from the CATCH Program as one of the 15 inaugural partners involved with the Walk. Our booth had all of the activities I listed above, and a pledge wall where families could make a promise to themselves to eat more “GO” (healthy and nutritious) foods.

Our booth buzzed with kids as they scrambled between each activity, culminating with a spin of the prize wheel. It’s such a great and rewarding experience to see kids and families having fun while learning about healthy living. Kids would come up to our booth and tell us all about CATCH at their school, and then show us that the healthy messages were sticking when they sorted and tossed a grocery bag full of food packages into GO, SLOW, and WHOA bins.

By the end of the day our entire team was exhausted, sweaty, and covered in dirt and dust kicked up by 2,600 walkers. From set-up to breakdown we were out in the sun for about 7 ½ hours. I’m sure everyone did the same thing as me when they got home: showered, put on clean clothes, sat down on the couch, and promptly fell asleep.

So I'm a little tired at the office this morning, and my hula hooping muscles are sore, but I also feel that renewed passion for what I do.  It's amazing how exhausting yourself physically energizes you mentally.

So this Sunday, instead of watching football on TV, I threw a football around in an obstacle course. Instead of fighting through the crowds at the grocery store, I sorted and tossed grocery food items in a toss game.  And instead of yard work… Well let’s face it, my lawn is dead anyway.

Written by
Brooks Ballard, MPH

Brooks has been working with the Center for about 3 years, the last of which as the Center's communications specialist.  His graduate work was with the CATCH middle school program.