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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.

Make Your Workplace a Wellness Place: Attend Vermont’s Annual Worksite Wellness Conference

Time flies and soon it will be my favorite time of year….it’s true, spring is on the way  – but I am talking about the best event of the year in Vermont!

On March 25, 2015, the Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports will hold its annual Worksite Wellness Conference at the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center in Burlington from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

This year’s  conference features keynote speaker, Dr. Graham Lowe author of “Creating Healthy Organizations,” concurrent sessions on great topics such as Coaching for Success: Transitioning from Workplaces to Well Places; Building a Balanced Workplace: Eat to Beat Stress; How Leaders can Create Well Workplaces,  fitness breaks, exhibits, raffles and much more!

Check out www.grahamlowe.ca to learn more about Dr. Lowe and his work including publications such as The Quality of Work: A People-Centered Agenda (Oxford University Press) and Creating Healthy Organizations (Rotman/UTP Publishing). Dr. Lowe has extensive consulting experience and has given hundreds of talks and workshops on creating higher quality and more productive workplaces. He received the 2004 Canadian Workplace Wellness Pioneer Award.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont  continues to proudly sponsor the keynote speaker for an eighth consecutive year and additionally facilitates a workshop  on Worksite Health Coaching in collaboration with the University of Vermont Medical Center, Central Vermont Medical Center and the State of Vermont.

I encourage all worksites large and small to join us (and 400 of your soon to be closest friends) to have a fabulous day and spend time learning and discussing  how to create or recreate an engaging employee health and wellness program at your organization!

Tracy Gallo_3472 (1)Tracy D. Gallo is a health & wellness program consultant at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont and serves on the Governor’s Council for Physical Fitness and Sports.


JoEllen Tarallo-Falk - November 4, 2015 - 12:27 pm

Would like to request a consult with Tracy Gallo. I can be reached at 802 251-0488 direct line.

Looking for a Little Extra Motivation to Get Outside this Winter?

The Vermont Senior Games has Three Great Reasons to Bundle Up and Head Outside!

Whether you arrive to compete or be a spectator, come on out to join the fun and fellowship of the Vermont Senior Games Association (VSGA) 2015 Winter Games. Competition is open to anyone at least 50 years old by Dec 31, 2015. Athletes of all skill levels are welcome at all VSGA events.

Don’t let the temperature ever keep you away. VSGA President Don Kjelleren is convinced that, “the colder the weather, the better the fellowship.”

The VSGA 2015 Winter Games schedule includes state championship competitions in snowshoeing, alpine skiing and X-C Nordic skiing. Each event is held in partnership with one of Vermont’s fine ski areas.

The first VSGA winter games were the Snowshoe Races at Smugglers’ Notch Nordic Ski & Snowshoe Center in Jeffersonville, Vt. on Sunday, February 8, 2015. This 4K event was in conjunction with the 14th Annual Northern Vermont Snowshoe Festival.

Alpine Races mark the next VSGA Winter State Championship Event, hosted at Sugarbush Ski Resort in Warren, Vt. on Sunday, March 8, 2015. Race time begins at 10:00 a.m. on the NASTAR course on Lincoln Peak. Each skier will take two runs and the combined time for the two runs is your score. Choose to register for the race and a half day lift ticket, the race and a full day lift ticket or just the race if you already have a ticket.

This year’s VSGA XC Nordic Races are hosted at Trapp Family Lodge Nordic Ski Touring Center in Stowe and will be held on Thursday, March 12, 2015. Race time is 2:00 p.m. and you have the choice of skiing a 5K or 2.5K race.

At each event, medals are awarded for the first three places by gender in five year age-groups (ie. 50-54, 55-59, etc.). The VSGA competitions are all state championship events…win your age group and you win bragging rights for the year!

Advance registration is always recommended but not required for winter games events. For more race details and registration information,  go to the Vermont Senior Games website at www.vermontseniorgames.org and register online or download a printable registration form and mail it in.

The Vermont Senior Games Association is a member of the National Senior Games Association which is part of the United States Olympic Organization. VSGA President Don Kjelleren reminds us that the Senior Games are all about fun, fitness, and fellowship. “If we were a business, we’d say we are in the health, fitness, and well being business, promoting any activities that lead to a healthier lifestyle,” he said. “Throughout the year we plan more than twenty different competitive sporting events to encourage people to exercise regularly, set goals, and come out to compete for the fun and fellowship.”

Think you’d rather try an indoor competition? The VSGA is also hosting billiards and weightlifting events this winter…check out the details on the Vermont Senior Games website.


Betsy Terry has been serving as Secretary of the Vermont Senior Games Association since 2010. She volunteers at some of the VSGA events and walks regularly for her personal exercise. In the winter months she loves to snowshoe and downhill ski. By day, she works as the Executive Director of the Vermont Recreation and Parks Association.

Winter Trails Day Welcomes All Newcomers to Snowsports

On January 10, the Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports partnered with Rikert Nordic Center, Ski Vermont and the Northeast Disabled Athletic Association (NDAA) to participate in the third annual Winter Trails Adapted Nordic Sitskiing Clinic.

Participants in Winter Trails Day have the opportunity to try Nordic skiing and snowshoeing with free trail passes, equipment rentals and lessons. On any given year, a dozen of Vermont’s Nordic centers participate on the second Saturday in January. NDAA and Rikert volunteers lead the state’s adaptive clinic and this year, seven participants took advantage of this opportunity to experience a great winter time activity. Participants came from Manchester to South Burlington, and judging by the rosy cheeks and wide smiles in Rikert’s cozy ski lodge after the event, fun was had by all!

Winter Trails Day is a national event where people new to snowsports such as Nordic skiing and snowshoeing can try those activities for free. As the Winter Trails website says, the goal is to “help you discover the great fitness and social benefits of these easy to learn winter sports.”

An avid Nordic skier and winter sports fanatic, Patrick Standen is the president and founder of the Northeast Athletic Association and a member of the Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. He also teaches philosophy and medical ethics and is the silver medalist at 2015 Empire State Games Biathlon sitski division. He lives in Burlington, Vt.

Worksite Wellness Conference 2015 – Register Today!


Linking Employee Health to Better Business: Worksite Wellness Conference March 25, 2015

BURLINGTON – Employers throughout Vermont are invited to attend the Vermont Worksite Wellness Conference, March 25, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Sheraton Hotel & Conference Center in South Burlington.

Vermont business leaders, human resources professionals, and wellness specialists will share ideas for inspiring employees to make healthy choices on and off the job.

Gov. Peter Shumlin, Health Commissioner Harry Chen, MD, and the Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports will present awards to 92 employers for their efforts to create a culture of wellness at their worksites.

The deadline to register is March 17.

“In Vermont, employers now understand that employees who make healthy lifestyle choices are more productive and invested in their careers. Business leaders see the benefits of promoting wellness on and off the job, because it affects their bottom line,” said Janet Franz, chair of the Governor’s Council. “The proof is in the number of Vermont companies with topnotch wellness programs. The awards and conference highlight the best practices and give employers an opportunity to share their experiences and learn from each other.”

Keynote speaker Graham Lowe, PhD, author of the book Creating Healthy Organizations, and president of a workplace consulting and research firm, will discuss what makes a healthy organization, the culture of such organizations, and how to get people engaged in wellness.

Afternoon workshops will dive deeper into a variety of subjects such as group goals, nutrition and physical activity in the workplace, wellness leadership, and workplace gardens.

The $104 registration fee includes a healthy lunch and physical activity breaks.

Media Contact: Vermont Department of Health Communication Office  | 802-863-7281

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Learn to Turn: One woman’s reflection on how skiing changed her life

I remember the first time I ever skied. I was about 8 years old and my father had just fallen madly in love with the sport. He took me out of school to learn on a week day in the Poconos and I ended up in a private lesson by chance. I wasn’t what you would call an athletic child, so I was definitely nervous about my performance, not to mention intimidated by the slopes, equipment and the cold. After getting suited up, a friendly instructor took me by the hand and spent two hours teaching me to how to ski and making me feel comfortable on the slopes. By the end of the lesson I had a decent grasp on the motions and could make my way down a green circle making wedged turns. I ended the day by taking my first full length run with my father. I didn’t know it then, but that day was life-changing for me.

Skiing became an integral part of my life in the years following and I joined the junior ski patrol at the ripe old age of thirteen. Skiing gave me not only an active outlet, but confidence in my day-to-day life helping me through adolescence (which isn’t easy for anyone). It also gave me direction when applying to college. Head north, I figured. I landed in Vermont and even began my first full time job as a ski patroller in Bolton Valley. Almost 15 years later, I am the Director of Public Relations and Programs for the Vermont Ski Areas Association.  From that first lesson to today – skiing has helped me grow, learn and mold me into a happy, healthy, and successful human being. I couldn’t be more thankful to my father for getting me out that first day and changing the course of my life forever.

With my father learning to ski in his 30’s and my introduction to the sport as a child, I fully support the Learn to Ski and Snowboard initiatives in Vermont. Anyone can pick up a winter sport and not only become more active in the winter, but possibly change their lives or their children’s lives forever.  To learn more about Ski Vermont’s $29 learn to ski and snowboard packages that are available during the month of January, visit www.SkiVermont.com/Learn, and remember that staying active this winter means staying healthy!

Sarah Wojcik, Director of Public Relations and Programs for Ski Vermont 

Sarah Wojcik is the Director of Public Relations and Programs for Ski Vermont and is an avid downhill and backcountry skier, Council member and sometimes artist, dancer, bird watcher, comedian and roller skater. She has lived and played in Vermont since 1999 and never plans to leave this beautiful playground.

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