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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.

Winter Trails Day is for Every Body: Free Adaptive X-C Ski Lessons on Winter Trails Day, a Nordic Ski Day

On January 11, people who rely on wheelchairs to get around will be able to cross-country ski for free at Rikert Nordic Center in Ripton. It’s Winter Trails Day, a Vermont tradition that encourages beginner skiers to enjoy winter in all its glory with free lessons and passes at Nordic and snowshoe resorts. This year’s outreach expands beyond traditional skiers and snowshoers to aspiring athletes working against the odds. Rikert will make three sit-skis available, and NDAA will provide additional equipment, instructors and lessons for athletes with disabilities.

“Accessing the Vermont woods in winter via Nordic trails means so much to me,” said NDAA founder and Nordic sit-skier, Patrick Standen, who is a member of the council. “Being able to share that experience with other Vermonters makes it even more meaningful and it fits in with the mission of the Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness wonderfully. We are hoping that young Vermonters will try adaptive Nordic skiing, and discover a lifelong, healthy passion.”

A collection of adaptive sit-skis paired with trained instructors will be available at Rikert Nordic Center throughout the day. Space and equipment is limited so reservations are preferred. Please contact NDAA at 802-862-NDAA (6322) or the Rikert Nordic Center at 802-443-2744 for details or to register.

Additional locations will also offer Nordic skiing and snowshoeing free to beginners using traditional, nonadaptive equipment on Winter Trails Day on Saturday, January 11. The inventory of snowshoes, skis and lesson space is limited. Contact participating ski areas to verify details and availability, and learn more at snowlink.com. Also, find more Nordic events throughout the season at skivermont.com.

Winter Trails Day is a national program endorsed by Ski Vermont and the Governor’s Council; it encourages children and adults to discover the great fitness and social benefits of these fun, easy-to-learn winter sports. Olympic Nordic skier and Vermonter Andy Newell also supports the Winter Trails initiative.

“It’s beneficial for Vermonters’ health and overall well-being to be physically active year-round and Vermont is a prime winter playground for residents and visitors who aim to learn a snowsport,” Vermont Dept. of Tourism and Marketing Commissioner Megan Smith said. “Also, as a parent and former fitness instructor, I’m delighted that the Council encourages residents of all ages to take advantage of our state’s outdoor opportunities for fun and fitness.”


Learn to Ski and Snowboard Lessons Will Get More Vermont Kids Active Outside

Wow, thanks for the great response to Free Ski or Ride Beginner Lessons! The free lessons are filled for this season, but Ski Vermont continues to offer all beginners $29 lift, professional lesson and rentals in January, 2014. Please visit SkiVermont.com/Learn to find more opportunities to learn a snowsport this season.

Prescription Pads Advise Patients To Exercise


Exercise Is Medicine

New Prescription Pads Recommend Physical Activity as Part of Overall Health Message


MONTPELIER, Vt. – As flu clinics canvas the state with preventative shots this season, The Vermont Governor’s Council has a new program intended to boost wellness for Vermonters – and filling this prescription is free. The Vermont Governor’s Council has equipped the state’s 1,460 practicing physicians and chiropractors with a simple, yet impactful message, “Exercise is Medicine.” The prescription pad includes the message, “Physical Activity = Good Health = Good Medicine,” with a list of statewide and national resources including DisabledAthletics.org, EverybodyWalk.org, EXRX.net, Fitness.gov and MoveforWellBeing.org.

“I meet with patients daily, mostly to help them lose weight and these prescription pads are very useful,” Nancy Schaefer, health coach for the Vermont Blueprint for Health at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, said.

In addition to the prescription pads, physicians and chiropractors received a letter from the Governor’s Council emphasizing the importance of exercise for preventing and treating diseases including obesity, coronary artery disease, depression and anxiety; as well as encouraging that they recommend physical activity to their patients.

“As a natural and warranted extension of the Council’s wellness programs, including worksite wellness and youth and senior initiatives, these prescription notepads make it simple for our state’s medical care community to explain to Vermonters that exercise is medicine,” Dr. David Butsch, general surgeon at The Central Vermont Hospital and veteran Council member, said. “Side effects of physical activity include a stronger immune system, fewer chronic diseases, less aches and pains, and an overall feeling of wellbeing – that makes for happier, healthier Vermonters.”

The next order of business on the Council’s outreach to the medical community includes outfitting all nurses, nurse practitioners, and physician’s assistants with a supply of Exercise is Medicine notepads.



Chika - September 26, 2015 - 5:18 am

Lack of exercise and worry/stress are soeuris obstacles to staying healthy. It is not possible to completely rid oneself of worry or stress and still be alive, so it is very important to help people learn ways to work through stress, worry or difficult situations. Counseling, seminars, workshops would be beneficial. Hold an expo fair to offer opportunities to get involved by joining or volunteering. Involvement that includes exercise, compassion, friendship is one way to elevate one’s spirit and helps a person cope with the tough situations in life. This might be charity foundations that run/walk like; NF Endurance, Leukemia/Lymphoma/ Determination, etc., there are many to choose from that may touch a part of someones’ life. This might be foundations that need volunteers; food shelf, humane society, Habitat, children’s hospitals, local zoo, etc. People may enjoy walking around, interviewing and talking with foundations and organizations all in one location and possibly finding a perfect fit for their self.

Take the Vermont Bike Challenge to Move More!

MAY 1 TO AUGUST 31, 2012


Challenge yourself, challenge your friends, challenge your co-workers or employees.  Get on your bike and win great prizes!

Registering for the Vermont Bike Challenge is FREE and doesn’t commit you to anything.  All it means is that, when your employees sign up for the Challenge and start earning points, those points count for your company too!



The Challenge is a great way to take your riding to the next level, get back in to bicycling, or bike for the first time!
Every kind of riding counts, from commuting to work a couple of times a week to doing a rail trail ride on the weekend with your kids to flying down a singletrack on your mountain bike.

Drawings for great prizes every month — including a grand prize of a free bicycling vacation!

The Vermont Bike Challenge is co-presented by Local Motion, the Vermont Bicycle and Pedestrian Coalition, and the Green Mountain Bicycle Club.

Many thanks to our local sponsors, Earl’s Cyclery and Fitness and Sojourn Bicycling and Active Vacations.  They are supporting our efforts AND providing great prizes for participants!


FAQ for the Vermont Bike Challenge

Here’s how the Vermont Bike Challenge works:

  • The Challenge all happens online, and it’s super-easy to get started! You set up a profile, start logging your miles, and in five minutes, you’re ready to go!  The Challenge uses an internationally known workout tracking system called Endomondo.com.
  • Every time you get on your bike, you automatically earn twenty points — plus an extra point for every mile you ride! So you don’t have to be a long-distance rider to score high — riding regularly is all it takes.  And the more points you earn, the higher your ranking and the better your chance of winning prizes!
  • You have two easy options for logging your rides! If you use the smartphone app, all you have to do is hit “start” when you start your ride and “finish” when you’re done — by the time you get back to your computer, the ride will be credited to your profile.  If you prefer, you can enter your ride info directly into your own personalized page on the Vermont Bike Challenge site.  In either case, it’s quick and easy!
  • The website shows how you’re doing in real time! There are leaderboards for individuals, workplaces, communities, and teams — and each of them updates every time someone rides. (There’s even a leaderboard that shows how Vermont as a whole is doing in the National Bike Challenge!)  Every point you earn automatically counts not only for you as an individual, but also for your workplace, your community, and any teams you start or join.
  • The more points you earn, the more prizes you can win! We’ll be giving out great prizes all summer long, plus special recognition for the people, workplaces, teams, and communities that come out on top.
  • Anyone can start or join a team. You can team up with co-workers in your department, friends in your neighborhood, your weekend riding buddies, or people anywhere across the country.  Teams top out at 10 members, and the more people you have on your team, the better you’ll do in the rankings — so recruit people and fill up your team!

For more information, please contact Jason Van Driesche at jason@localmotion.org.

2012 Worksite Wellness Award Winners

Congratulations to the 79 employers that received awards!

All worksite wellness efforts deserve praise. Governor Shumlin and Health Commissioner Chen  signed certificates recognizing the programs of all 79 applicants.

Each year, as the number of applicants grows and the competition becomes fiercer, we tweak the application and review process to make it more effective. We currently use a point system for objective questions that applicants answer online, and for subjective essays that our team of 20 wellness experts reviews. Worksites are separated by number of employees, so that small offices are compared to other small offices and large organizations face off with others their same size. Points totals determine which of six award levels a worksite receives.

The first level of Award is the Governor’s Recognition. It acknowledges employers who are experiencing rapid growth and interest in the area of health promotion.  These companies demonstrate an understanding of health management planning principals. In the interest of time, we ask Governor’s Recognition winners to get their certificate after the ceremony — we have them at the registration table.

 The second level of Award is the Governors Rising Star.  It recognizes employers who have created programs that encourage employees to take responsibility for their health with regular exercise, nutritious meals and wellness care. They show potential for developing strong wellness programs with measurable results.

The next level of award recognition is the Bronze Award Category.  Bronze recipients are implementing creative & successful worksite wellness initiatives.  These businesses and organizations have created successful programs that encourage and support their employees in developing a healthy lifestyle.  They demonstrate a solid foundation and understanding of key components for future program growth and success.

The next level of recognition is the Silver award.  Silver recognizes organizations and businesses that have expanded their wellness programs beyond awareness and education.  Silver recipients incorporate supportive policies into their business plan, demonstrate senior level support, dedicate resources to worksite wellness, and concentrate on individual behavior change.

The Gold award recognizes employers that have developed comprehensive, results-oriented health management programs. Their programs are strategic, connected to the employer’s mission, and demonstrate that planning, resource allocation, and outcome measurement are key to successful implementation.

 The Gold Standard is our highest level award. It is granted to worksites that have won Gold previously and continue to provide outstanding wellness initiatives based on ongoing assessments of employees’ wellness needs and goals, that engage a significant percentage of employees, with leadership support and measurable results.


1-10 Employees

Town of Berkshire

Town of Charleston

Village of Derby Center —Gold

Village of Derby Line —Silver

Town of Marshfield —Bronze

Town of Whittingham

11-50 Employees


Bogner of America

Chittenden Solid Waste District —Gold Standard

City of Vergennes

Hallam-ICS —Silver

Hickok & Boardman, Inc.

Hickok & Boardman Group Benefits and Financial Planning —Silver

Marathon Health

Northwest Vermont Solid Waste Management District

Rutland Housing Authority

Town of Castleton —Bronze

Town of Killington —Silver

Town of Lyndon —Bronze

Town of Richmond

Vermont Housing Finance Agency

Vermont League of Cities and Towns —Gold

51-150 Employees

Ben & Jerry’s  —Gold Standard

City of Barre

Dwight Asset Management Company —Bronze

Engelberth Construction, Inc.  —Silver

Hearthstone QHHP

Heritage Family Credit Union  —Gold

Northeast Kingdon Learning Services, Inc.


Sonnax Industries, Inc. – SILVER

The Richards Group

Town of Rockingham/Village of Bellows Falls

Vermont Gas Systems

151-500 Employees

Addison Central Supervisory Union

BioTek Instruments, Inc. —Silver

BlueCross BlueShield of Vermont —Gold Standard

City Market

Counseling Service of Addison County —Gold

FoodScience Corporation

Franklin County Home Health Agency, Inc.

Greater Burlington YMCA —Bronze

Green Mountain Power —Rising Star

HEI / The Equinox Resort & Spa

Husky Injection Molding Systems —Silver

Johnson State College

Lyndon State College SHAPE Facility

Merchants Bank —Bronze

Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center

New England Federal Credit Union

Northeast Kingdom Human Services, Inc. —Bronze

Northfield Savings Bank

Passumpsic Savings Bank

Plasan North America

Rutland Mental Health Services —Gold Standard

The Vermont Country Store —Gold Standard

Vermont Mutual Insurance Group —Rising Star

Vermont Student Assistance Corporation

501-999 Employees

Brattleboro Retreat

Central Vermont Public Service —Gold

Champlain College

Chittenden South Supervisory Union

City of Burlington —Gold

Dealer.com —Gold Standard

GE Healthcare

Goodrich Corporation —Gold Standard

National Life Group —Silver

Northwestern Medical Center  —Gold Standard

Norwich University

PC Construction Company

Springfield Medical Care Systems, Inc. —Bronze

1000+ Employees

Central Vermont Medical Center —Rising Star

Fletcher Allen Health Care —Silver

HowardCenter —Rising Star

MVP Health Care —Gold Standard

Price Chopper/Golub Corporation —Gold

Rutland Regional Medical Center

State of Vermont —Gold

Stratton Mountain Resort —Bronze

C o u n c i l   F a c e b o o k