GALION — When Melissa Fetters took over as safety coordinator nearly two years ago at Lifetouch near Galion, encouraging employees to become healthier was at the top of her priority list.
Fetters and administrators at Lifetouch created a walking challenge last year and the second annual 12-Week Walking Challenge ended in August.
“We had monthly goals for each of the participants,” Fetters said. “For the first four weeks, the goal was 5,000 steps per day.”
The second week, participants walked 7,500 steps daily and for the last four weeks, the goal was 10,000 steps. Associates were allowed to count every step they took from the moment they got up in the morning to the moment they went to bed at night.
“Participants could use any device to keep track of their steps such as Fitbits, pedometers, phones or any other electronic trackers,” Fetters said. “Many hit the parking lot and walked during their breaks.”
Fetters said several members from the community noticed the walkers at in the Lifetouch parking lot.
“We had 113 participants in this year’s challenge. They walked a total of 95,157,849 steps during the 12 weeks,” Fetters said. “That is a total of 45,055.8 miles. The equatorial circumference of the earth is 24,901.55 miles. We almost lapped the earth twice.”
Fetters said 30 participants took more than 1 million steps, with one person walking more than 2 million.
“We gave out water bottles and T-shirts to everyone that completed a monthly calendar for the first four weeks and second four weeks,” Fetters said. “To be entered into the big drawing at the closure of the challenge, you had to achieve all the goals for all 12 weeks.”
Big prizes at the end included three $100 gift cards to Dick’s Sporting Goods and were provided to winners Vernice Mick, Marla Grimes and Tab Rhodes.
“If you still walked, but didn’t make goal I put you into a secondary drawing for Lifetouch Totes filled with goodies and three one-month passes to area YMCA’s,” said Fetters.
Fetters said participants would approach her at work and explain were getting their whole family involved and how much they enjoyed the quality time spent with their loved ones.
“Grandparents were getting their grandkids out of the house and off their phones. Participants were showing pictures of their animal walking partners on Facebook and couples were taking walks together,” Fetters said. “Participants were telling me how much better they felt and that they had lost some extra weight along the way. There was a lot of great, positive feedback from the walkers and such a positive attitude about living a healthy lifestyle.”
Participant Darcy Riddle said she is ready for the next challenge while MJ Snyder, a systems administrator at Lifetouch, is excited about the changes this challenge brought with it.
“I really was excited about this challenge, because I recently started to eat better and lose some weight and this helped,” she said.
Fetters said this year they incorporated a team concept and ended up with 11 teams.
“Two teams were compiled of all the managers and supervisors of Lifetouch, Galion. There was a great show of support from management for the entire walking challenge,” Fetters said.
The top team took 8,672,992 steps and received special team shirts.
“We really encouraged accountability and a desire and drive to beat the other teams,” Fetters said.
“The key to all families is health and safety. The Walking Challenge was a great way to not only promote healthy living but also to initiate a healthier culture,” lab manager Kevin Pever said. “We are proud as an organization to be part of such as great program.”
This story has been republished with permission from CrawfordCountyNow.com