The Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative held its annual conference today at Luther College. The conference was an opportunity for Northeast Iowa K-12 schools to learn about the vast number of accumulating resources to help them accomplish their wellness goals. Food service directors, classroom teachers, parents, administrators, community members, P.E./health teachers, youth coaches and youth representatives from 19 different school districts attended mixer sessions, a keynote speaker, team-building sessions and enjoyed a locally produced low-budget lunch.
The conference started with keynote speaker Rebecca Wampler, Director of Health Care from the Sustainability department at Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. Ms. Wampler spoke about the Iowa Healthiest State Initiative and the importance of wellness in communities.
After the keynote speaker, the mixer sessions began. The FoodCorps and AmeriCorps Service Members facilitated the mixer sessions; my mixer’s theme was “youth engagement.” I spoke about different youth-centered programs that Food and Fitness supports throughout the region such as F.E.E.S.T., cross-age teaching and after school cooking clubs. Each mixer session lasted about 10 minutes and we went through 12 different rounds! It took a lot of work and energy but overall it was very successful!
We ended the day by discussing the 2012-2013 School Wellness Action Plan. The Food and Fitness Initiative requires all schools that want FFI’s support to fill out an action plan. The action plan helps schools evaluate their overall health environment, reflect on past success and failures related to school wellness and wellness initiatives, layout futures goals for school wellness and develop a plan of work for next year’s FoodCorps Service Member.
It was an extremely successful day. Food and Fitness received a lot of positive feedback and I am excited to help my three school districts write their plans of action for next year!