Sitka Health Summit

Enhancing the Quality of Life of Sitkans through Citizen-Centered Health Improvement

Welcome to the Summit!

The Sitka Health Summit is a program of Brave Heart Volunteers that pioneers citizen driven and directed health improvement. The Summit hosts an annual Planning Day that provides community members with the opportunity to prioritize community health and wellness needs, and then to collaborate to create year long initiatives that address these needs. Through grassroots action, community members are empowered to make Sitka a happier and healthier place.

To effectively address the health and wellness needs in our community, the Summit is currently conducting a community health assessment through MAPP and is increasing the skills and capacity of community members through SCALE.

Your Health Can Be Improved With Gymnastics

Gymnastics is widely known as a sport which can benefit a person’s overall fitness, balance and strength along with assistance performance and growth in other sports.  But, many people don’t realise that by taking part in gymnastics sessions they can also gain many of the psychological and cognitive benefits improving the life of an individual.  These benefits include:

  • Self discipline and social interaction
  • A better understanding of physics
  • Better coordination, balance and flexibility
  • Improved concentration and mental focus

Self discipline

Gymnastics often offers special social experiences which can be difficult to find in other areas of life.  It creates the opportunity to experience good sportsmanship, teamwork, dedication and fair play.  This also requires perseverance and patience.  Gymnastics does teach people to work hard as its objectives can take years of hard work to complete.

Mental function

Participating in gymnastics obviously offers physical gains.  But it is also beneficial in improving mental focus and concentration which is an important aspect of most people’s lives.  Studies have shown that there there is a link between activity of the physical nature and cognitive function, especially in children.  Gymnastics covers a wide range of activities where mental application is important.

Starting from a young age, infants are encouraged to learn to how their body works and to build upon this understanding.  Using gymnastics equipment, this process allows quicker development.   When the body is trained to perform with and without static gymnast equipment, a child’s ability to improve their spatial awareness  is gains and control of their body can be attained.  Gymnastics gives children the opportunity to think for themselves and use their imagination to solve problems.

Child gymnasts can also improve their hand-eye coordination and also improve a range of their communication skills.  It can also provide chances for character development which can be difficult to find in other sports or physical activity.

Education

As someone progresses in a sport such as gymnastics, they will notice benefits such as higher self-motivation levels and better progression in other sports.  Their pursuit for success shows a better outlook on competition and an improved understanding of the importance of independent function and self reliance.

An interesting element of gymnastics activities is that a gymnast will experience a number of many different ways  of practice instead of just theory and ideas.  For example, scientists, discuss may discuss theories around momentum and inertia but gymnasts actually experience these theories so these experiences go much further than reading about them in a book or paper.  Quite recently, the National Science Foundation has been using gymnastics as a way of teaching fundamental physics such as this to students.

 

Planning Day 2015. Every voice counts. Everyone is invited.

Don’t miss the Sitka Health Summit Planning Day on Friday October 9th, from 8:30a to 4:00p at UAS Sitka!

This is your chance to connect with neighbors and community leaders, share your vision for a healthier Sitka, and celebrate our journey toward a better quality of life for all Sitkans through citizen-centered health improvement.

A delicious, locally-sourced lunch will be served, along with door prizes and lots of chances to celebrate our city with local food and health improvement fun!

For the first time ever, up to $20,000 will be awarded to selected projects, so don’t miss the opportunity to work collaboratively with a diverse group of Sitkans and have your voice heard on the way to a better, healthier, and more equitable Sitka.

the Sitka Health Summit Finds Inspiration and Renewal in Loss of Community Health Prize

The Sitka Health Summit learned Wednesday that Sitka was not chosen as one of 6 communities to win the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) second annual RWJF Roadmaps to Health Prize.  Last year, the Sitka Health Summit went through the rigorous application process.  In September of 2013, the organization learned that Sitka was chosen as one of twelve national finalists from a pool of 250 competing communities.

“Selected from more than 250 applicants, the twelve RWJF Roadmaps to Health Prize finalist communities distinguished themselves with creative strategies to help people lead healthier lives,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, RWJF president and CEO. “These communities are shining examples of a growing movement to create a culture of health across our nation.”

The RWJF Roadmaps to Health Prize honors communities whose efforts illustrate an enduring commitment toward creating a culture of health for all residents.  Sitka was selected along with eleven other communities from across the nation for their health improvement efforts.  Although Sitka was ultimately not awarded the prize, the Sitka Health Summit feels honored to have made it so far in the process, and believes that Sitka’s selection as a finalist validates the great deal of work citizens have invested in supporting and enhancing community health and wellness.

Find out more at www.countyhealthrankings.org.

The Sitka Health Summit would like to thank the many organizations and individuals that, through their ongoing work and participation in the application process, helped the organization make it to the final round. Sitka is the only Alaskan community and one of only a few small towns to make it to the final round.  Sitka Health Summit Coalition Steering Committee Member, Doug Osborne says, “It’s stiff, stiff competition, and we are hopeful that next time we’re going to have a different result.  Gunalchéesh and thanks to EVERYONE involved!”

The Sitka Health Summit is also taking this opportunity to reinvest in its mission of empowering citizens through the process of collaborative decision-making.  To this end, the Sitka Health Summit is growing its capacity.  The organization has hired a Development Director, Melissa Marconi Wentzel, and enhanced its community outreach with a new website (www.sitkahealthsummitak.org) and a month-long community campaign aimed at generating broader community involvement.  The organization is also working toward providing expanded support to the community initiatives chosen during the annual Planning Day event.

Doug Osborne says the organization’s growth has been “explosive.”  Osborne says, “I think we have stumbled upon a successful model, have refined it, and made it a little bit better each year.  I think we can keep this trend going and continue this momentum, if we can get some more people involved, get some more ideas, and get some more enthusiasm.”

The Sitka Health Summit invites citizens to become involved by:

  • Visiting our Website (www.sitkahealthsummitak.org)

  • Liking the Sitka Health Summit on Facebook

  • Becoming a Summit Partner

  • Becoming an Event Sponsor

  • Becoming a Donor Member

  • Becoming a Community Liaison

  • Registering for and Attending Planning Day 2014 (October 3, 2014)

  • Sharing your Health Story

Summit offers Unprecedented Support for 2014-2015 Citizen Health Initiatives

Sitka Health Summit Planning Day Just 4 Weeks Away!

The Sitka Health Summit is proud to announce that our 8th Annual Planning Day will take place on Friday, Oct. 3, 2014.  The day will run 8:30am – 4:30pm and take place at Harrigan Centennial Hall.  A healthy, locally-sourced lunch will be provided.  The fish taco lunch will salute the highly successful and nationally-recognized Fish-to-Schools program, which was a 2010 Sitka Health Summit Planning Day initiative.
In our 8th year, the Sitka Health Summit has reached an organizational milestone.  Thanks to the generous support of our donors, we have been able to grow our capacity, so that we will be able to provide this year’s initiatives with unprecedented support.  Each initiative will receive $2,000 in start-up funds.  Additionally, the Health Summit has been able to hire an Executive Director, Sitka’s own Melissa Marconi Wentzel, who will provide each action group with on-going organizational support in the form of group facilitation, PR and outreach, and social media exposure.  Our goal is to do all we can to set the two chosen initiatives up for success.
The Sitka Health Summit’s approach to citizen-centered health improvement is unique in the nation, and was recently recognized by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  The Sitka Health Summit was named one of only 12 finalists, from a national pool of 250 applicants, for the Foundation’s prestigious Roadmapst to Health Prize (see the press release on our website – www.sitkahealthsummitak.org).
Planning Day is the central event in the Sitka Health Summit’s Community Health Initiatives Program.  Planning Day engages a diverse body of 50-60 community members in a day of collaboration and consensus-building around the issue of community health and wellness improvement.  The challenge before planners is to adopt two engergizing, concrete and attainable health and wellness goals that action groups will work on over the course of one year.  Beginning with large group brainstorming, the day will transition into break-out groups, and by the close of the day, planners will use modified consensus to choose 2014’s initiatives.
The Program has a strong track record of success, with initiatives that have had a deep and lasting impact on Sitka’s health and wellness landscape, many of which have attracted national attention.  Past initiatives include but are not limited to: the Fish-to-Schools Program, the Sitka Farmer’s Market, the Choose Respect Mural project, the Hames Center, Revitalize Sitka and the Downtown Revitalization Project, becoming a nationally-recognized Walk- and Bike-Friendly community, and the Sitkans Together Against Meth Program.  For a full list of initiatives, visit our website: http://www.sitkahealthsummitak.org.
The Sitka Health Summit encourages public participation in Planning Day.  The success of both Planning Day and the chosen initiatives lies in one key ingredient: diversity.  All people and all ideas are welcome.  Indeed, they are necessary.
Consider the questions:
         What does community health and wellness mean to you?
         What community health and wellness improvements would you like to see?
         What will improve the quality of life of Sitka’s citizens?
         How can I help?

Sitka Selected as Finalist for RWJF Roadmaps to Health Prize

Sitka, AK (September 26, 2013)—Sitka was chosen today as a finalist for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) second annual RWJF Roadmaps to Health Prize. As a finalist, Sitka is one step closer to the RWJF Roadmaps to Health Prize which honors communities whose efforts illustrate an enduring commitment toward creating a culture of health for all residents. Sitka was selected along with eleven other communities from across the nation for their health improvement efforts and will now be considered for the RWJF Roadmaps to Health Prize, which will be announced June 2014.

“We are pleased to have advanced as a RWJF Roadmaps to Health Prize finalist community,” said Sitka Health Summit Steering Committee member Doug Osborne. “We wouldn’t have made it this far if it wasn’t for all the people in town that are working day in and day out to make out community healthy and vibrant. Gunalchéesh and thanks to EVERYONE involved!”

To earn Prize finalist status, Sitka had to illustrate how its efforts to foster healthier outcomes for its citizens reflect the six RWJF Roadmaps to Health Prize criteria:
· Harnessing the collective power of leaders, partners, and community members.
· Implementing a strategic approach to improving health that focuses on the multiple factors that influence health.
· Addressing problems that disproportionately affect vulnerable populations.
· Developing sustainable, long-term solutions to shared community priorities.
· Securing and making the most of available resources.
· Measuring and sharing results.

“Selected from more than 250 applicants, the twelve RWJF Roadmaps to Health Prize finalist communities distinguished themselves with creative strategies to help people lead healthier lives,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, RWJF president and CEO. “These communities are shining examples of a growing movement to create a culture of health across our nation.”

The RWJF Roadmaps to Health Prize is an annual no-strings-attached $25,000 cash prize that will be awarded to up to six of the finalist communities in June 2014. The Prize was launched to further the work of the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program, a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The program provides data, tools and potential solutions to help policy-makers and the public improve the many factors that influence health in their community. The Rankings show communities where there are areas to improve and the Roadmaps show how communities can take action to expand opportunities for healthier choices. The RWJF Roadmaps to Health Prize honors communities that are creating a culture of health. Find out more at www.countyhealthrankings.org.

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