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  • Welcome to the VT Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness & Sports

    Who We Are
    The Governor's Council is a physical activity promotion and advocacy group comprised of approximately 20 volunteers, appointed by the Governor and representing a broad spectrum of Vermonters.

    Our Mission
    To promote health and wellness through physical activity for all people living in Vermont at all fitness and ability levels.

Announcement: New Grants Available for 2019 Community Wellness Projects

The Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness & Sports seeks proposals to provide funding for the development of new community wellness initiatives or improvement of existing community wellness initiatives in Vermont.  The Community Wellness grant supports projects that will positively influence the health and well-being of community members within Vermont by encouraging and supporting healthy physical activity habits. Click here for a copy of the grant application.

The grant is guided by the principles of Exercise is Medicine (EIM), a global health initiative led by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). EIM is committed to the belief that physical activity plays an integral role in the prevention, treatment, and management of chronic diseases and should, therefore, be considered and promoted as a vital sign of health. EIM strives to integrate physical activity into healthcare and link patients to community resources with the ultimate goal of implementing interventions that will slow, stop, and reverse the progression of chronic diseases.

Eligible Applicants include community-based health centers, recreation departments, faith-based groups, non-profit organizations, schools and worksites with a community link. Past recipients used grant funds to support chair-based exercise classes for people with mobility challenges, trauma-informed yoga classes, subsidized registration fees for youth recreation activities, balance bikes and instructors for a learn-to-bike program and health coaching for people at risk for chronic disease.

A total of $20,000 is available for this award period, January 1-December 31, 2019. The grant is a one-time award that can pay for materials and personnel expenses related to the establishment or improvement of a wellness program with measurable health objectives and outcomes. The grant will not fund one-time events (i.e. blood pressure screening day) or equipment only requests (i.e. standing desks). Although several aspects of wellness (i.e. mental health, social well-being) will be considered for this funding mechanism, special consideration will be given to those including physical activity as a primary component.

The total number of grants and amounts awarded will be based upon the number received and reviewer evaluations.  Each community group, or collaborating worksite and community group selected will have different goals for their wellness program, but they must have measurable outcomes with clear strategies for assessing and sustaining these outcomes. The Grant Request for Proposals provides guidance on defining outcomes and strategies.

Proposals must be submitted by Friday, September 7, 2018. A team of reviewers will determine if each proposal is sufficiently responsive to the RFP to permit a complete evaluation of the Proposal. Applicants will receive notification of grant status in October and funds will be issued in December.

The Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports promotes health and wellness through physical activity for people of all fitness and ability levels. The council raises funds through the annual Vermont Corporate Cup Challenge and State Agency Race and the Vermont Worksite Wellness Conference.

For more information, contact Janet Franz, Chair of the Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, at janet.franz@partner.vermont.gov or (802) 238-8182. Click on the link to download a copy of the Governor’s Council Community Wellness Grants RFP

 

Vermont Continues Popular Park Prescription and Outdoor Exercise Program

Physicians around the state are continuing to prescribe active play in Vermont State Parks as a way to promote healthy lifestyles and prevent chronic health issues. 

The Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports and Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation provided Vermont doctors with “prescriptions” that are actually free day passes to state parks. The effort is guided by the principles of Exercise is Medicine (EIM), a global initiative committed to the belief that physical activity plays an integral role in prevention, treatment and management of chronic diseases and should be considered a vital sign of health. 

The council and parks department are encouraging Vermont’s health care professionals to talk with patients about the importance of exercise to prevent and treat chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, depression and mental illness.

“Studies have demonstrated that outdoor exercise is associated with increased energy and revitalization and decreased depression and tension. The sun also helps to create through your skin Vitamin D3, which is important for bone health and metabolic function,” said Dr. Elisabeth Fontaine, a physician at Northwestern Medical Center and member of the council. Fontaine is an avid supporter of Exercise is Medicine and frequently encourages her patients to exercise.

The health benefits of outdoor exercise are well documented. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all adults and children participate regularly in aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities and calls on communities to improve access to outdoor recreational facilities such as parks and green spaces to help lead the nation toward active living.

“The Park Prescription program is a perfect way to highlight the connection between outdoor recreation and personal health,” said Craig Whipple, Director of Vermont State Parks. “Spending time outdoors, connecting with nature and being active all help keep us strong in both body and spirit. And state parks offer the ideal settings for valuable outdoor time!”

Patients must receive parks pass prescriptions from their doctors and should not request them from the Council. Practitioners may request prescriptions from the Council at vermontfitness@vermont.gov. For more details about Vermont state parks, go to www.vtstateparks.com.

Governor Proclaims May Physical Fitness and Sports Month

Proclamation readingGovernor Philip B. Scott, joined by Jennifer Butsch,  Anna Coon, Sierra Martin, Dr. Mark Levine, Emily Park, and Janet Franz, declared May Physical Fitness and Sports Month in Vermont, encouraging Vermonters to be active this spring. He will sign the proclamation on May 10, 9:30 a.m. in the Governor’s Ceremonial Office at the State House. Health Commissioner Mark Levine and Janet Franz, Chair of the Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, will speak about the importance of physical activity to health and wellbeing. The Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports hosts the event.

The Governor’s proclamation aligns with the national designation of May as Physical Fitness and Sports Month, an effort by the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition to raise awareness about the benefits of physical activity. It also helps promote the council’s mission to promote Exercise Is Medicine18-059 Physical Fitness and Sports Month

“Vermonters have a perfect setting to get outdoors and exercise, and May is a great time to start,” said Franz. “We can get outdoors for a hike, jog or bike and enjoy our beautiful environment. Doing this regularly helps us feel better, physically and mentally. Being active reduces risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, stiff backs, sore knees, depression, low energy and a host of other ailments, reducing the need for medicine and medical care. Exercise is medicine.”

In Vermont, 60% of adults and 29% of youth are overweight or obese, according to the state Department of Health, which cites lack of physical activity as the reason. More than three quarters (77%) of Vermont’s youth do not participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day, and 20% of Vermont adults participate in no leisure time physical activity. The department estimates that medical expenses attributable to adult obesity in Vermont total $291 million annually.

The health department recommends that adults aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week. Moderate activity includes walking fast, bicycling, dancing and swimming. Children should participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day, including walking to school, playing in the yard or playground, climbing trees, riding bikes and participating in sports.

Vermont Employers Honored for Wellness Programs

On March 21, Business owners, CEOs, company presidents and human resources directors from 81 Vermont worksites received awards for their onsite efforts to promote physical fitness and a healthy work-life balance. Governor Phil Scott, state health commissioner Mark Levine, and Janet Franz, chair of the Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, presented the awards during a ceremony at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Burlington.

Governor Phil Scott Address the 2017 Worksite Wellness Awards Attendees

Governor Phil Scott Addresses the 2017 Worksite Wellness Awards Attendees

The annual awards recognize Vermont employers’ efforts to enhance productivity, bolster a healthy environment and improve the lives of Vermont citizens. This year’s recipients include manufacturers, banks, utilities, municipalities, nonprofit organizations, engineering companies, medical offices and retailers.

“Employers in Vermont have come to understand that physically fit workers are more productive, engaged and invested in their careers,” said Franz. “There’s a clear link between healthy, happy employees and an organization’s success.”

During the 2017 Worksite Wellness Awards a group stretch was led to demonstrate the value of taking stretch breaks throughout the work day.

During the 2017 Worksite Wellness Awards a group stretch was led to demonstrate the value of taking stretch breaks throughout the workday.

The awards provide an opportunity for the governor and health commissioner to thank businesses and organizations for their efforts to support a healthy Vermont workforce. These efforts help keep health care costs down, improve productivity and make Vermont a great place to live and work.

The awards ceremony took place in conjunction with an all-day Worksite Wellness Conference, during which the award recipients shared best practices for inspiring employees to make healthy choices on and off the job. Keynote Sara Rauch, Director of Strategy and Planning for the Wellness Councils of America, presented ideas for engineering work environments across multiple industries to create healthy cultures among management and staff. Afternoon sessions allowed participants to delve deeper into incorporating physical activity and nutrition in the workplace, creating inclusive workplaces, reducing worker injuries, and helping employees overcome stress.

 

2018 Vermont Governor’s Award for Excellence in Worksite Wellness were presented to:

Employers with 1-50 employees
Hickok & Boardman Financial Planning & HR Intelligence
Trudell Consulting Engineers
VSBIT
Washington Electric Cooperative
Employers with 51-50 employees
asicNorth
Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity (CVOEO)
Chroma Technology Corp
Engelberth Construction, Inc.
Green Mountain College
Hallam-ICS
Hickok & Boardman Insurance Group
Logic Supply
NRG Systems, Inc.
The Richards Group
Vermont Electric Coop
Vermont Federal Credit Union
Vermont League of Cities and Towns
Vermont Systems, Inc.
WageWorks
Employers with 151-500 employees
A.N. Deringer, Inc.
BioTek Instruments Inc.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont
Central Vermont Home Health and Hospice
Champlain College
City of Rutland
City of St. Albans
Community Care Network
Country Home Products / DR Power Equipment
Franklin County Home Health Agency, Inc.
Hanover Consumer Cooperative
Heritage Family Credit Union
Hubbardton Forge
Lake Champlain Chocolates
Mascoma Bank
Mt Ascutney Hospital
New Chapter Inc.
NorthCountry Federal Credit Union
Northeast Kingdom Human Services, Inc.
Northfield Savings Bank
Onion River Cooperative dba City Market
Passumpsic Savings Bank
Sonnax Industries, Inc.
The Edge Sports & Fitness
United Counseling Service
Vermont Information Processing
Vermont Mutual Insurance Group
Vermont Precision Tools
Vermont Student Assistance Corporation
VSECU
World Learning
Employers with 501-999 employees
Brattleboro Retreat
Burton Snowboards
City of Burlington
Copley Hospital
Health Care and Rehabilitation Services
North Country Hospital
Northwestern Counseling & Support Services Inc.
Northwestern Medical Center
The Vermont Country Store
UVM Health Network Porter Medical Center
Visiting Nurses Association of Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties
Washington County Mental Health Services
Employers with 1000+ employees
Central Vermont Medical Center
Howard Center
Keurig Green Mountain
MVP Health Care
National Life Group
PC Construction Company
Rutland Regional Medical Center
State of VT DHR Wellness
The University of Vermont Medical Center
University of Vermont
2018 Worksite Wellness Rising Star designation will go to:
American Meadows
Bellavance Trucking
Vermont Studio Center
Lamoille County Mental Health
Stantec
Northeast Kingdom Community Action, Inc
Duke’s Fitness Center
Vermont Law School
Maple Leaf I.T. LLC

2018 Community Wellness Grants Encourage More Physical Activity

IMG_1321The grants are guided by the principles of Exercise is Medicine (EIM), a global health initiative led by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). EIM is committed to the belief that physical activity plays an integral role in the prevention, treatment and management of chronic diseases and should therefore be considered and promoted as a vital sign of health. EIM not only strives to integrate physical activity into healthcare but also seeks to link patients to community resources with the ultimate goal of implementing interventions that will slow, stop, and reverse the progression of chronic diseases. The council raises funds through registration fees for the Vermont Corporate Cup Challenge and State Agency Race, a 5-Kilometer team walking and running event in Montpelier.

IMG_0445 (1)
The 2018 grant recipients include:

  1. Community Health Centers of Burlington, for trauma-informed yoga classes, particularly for the refugee population.
  2. Edgar May of Springfield, for “Move to Improve” program. These are free, fitness classes provided in a non-intimidating environment for citizens with physical limitations. The classes will use special resistance bands that connect to chairs, that can be transported to residential sites.
  3. Essex Junction Parks and Recreation, for a snowshoe loan program to encourage citizens to be active in winter.
  4. Parks Place of Bellows Falls, for subsidizing registration fees for children in lower income homes to participate in recreation and sports.

IMG_2900“These organizations have potential to positively change the health of Vermonters by encouraging and supporting health through physical activity.” – Janet Franz, chair of the Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports

In 2017, the council gave grants to the City of Rutland Recreation and Parks Department for a Learn-to-Bike lending program, Community Health Center of Burlington (CHCB) for an exercise and healthy lifestyle educational walking group for patients at high risk for chronic diseases, and to the Pride Center of Vermont to support trauma-informed yoga classes to LGBTQ community members.

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