Originally Published: December 4, 2018 5:20 p.m.
The holidays are here, and the cookies and milk tempt not only Santa Claus but employees for the Town of Prescott Valley.
To combat the extra calories the season brings, employees are encouraged to join in the Moving Through the Holidays challenge that takes place for 12 weeks ending Jan. 3.
Casey Danner, PV Information Technology director, helps lead efforts to maintain healthy habits.
“I’m already very active, but I love this challenge because it keeps me accountable to spend specific time each day participating in healthy activities,” Danner said.
She said she finds it easy to spend too much time just sitting around watching TV and eating too much “good stuff.” The challenge keeps her determined to move as much as possible.
“It’s also a great opportunity to hang out with co-workers and motivate each other,” she said.
This is the town’s fourth year running the challenge, said Carolyn Griffin, benefits coordinator. Employees make up four-member teams, assign a team captain and select a team name. Teams receive a conversion chart that calculates steps from activities such as walking and hiking, swimming, yoga, housework — a vast menu of activities that makes everyone feel included.
No one has to be a marathon runner to be on a team, Griffin said. “It’s for every age, every size strength, it’s for everybody.”
The team leader turns in a weekly report for the 12 weeks. After New Year’s, the top three teams with most points/steps compete for the gold. They compete in different activities — small minute-to-win-it games, an obstacle course type thing that is fun and competitive. The winner of that final challenge gets the gold, and keeps the trophy for a year.
A new thing included in the challenge this year is a “selfie stop.” Each week teams are to take a selfie of themselves from a specific location around the town campus. It could be near the corner of Civic Circle and Lakeshore next to the newest town sign, or on top of the library for a rooftop view.
This year, as in 2017, 18 teams joined the challenge. They can sometimes be seen walking the sidewalks around the perimeter of the Civic Center which translates to 0.8 miles.
“You may see a lot of employees, whether on a team or not, walking around on their 15-minute break or at lunch time. It’s a nice sidewalk, an easy track,” Griffin said.
The Arizona Department of Health Services has sponsored the free challenge for 12 years. It sends out weekly tips and recipes. Last year, 423 people participated.
The town’s participants reached the gold pinnacle, and received the platinum level this past October for their previous participation. They join two challenges a year.
Dyh Anderson, Records Management technician, said even on days she might not walk, she will still exercise.
“I enjoy the spirit of it the most. We all have a friendly rivalry to see how our team places each week in the standings,” she said. “The challenge also literally keeps us moving.”