Fit Farmington officially kicked off Jan. 11 and then COVID-19 hit hard in March. The civic center closed. Classes and events were canceled.
Now the city-wide initiative to get people to focus on their health is back in the spotlight. Area residents are urged to take charge of their health and become involved in this community event which focuses on nutritional, physical and mental/emotional fitness.
Dawn Fuemmeler is one of the event coordinators for the program. She has been teaching or subbing fitness classes at the civic center for about 20 years. Julie Powers, who teaches Zumba, and Cindy Sebastian, who teaches Aqua Zumba, along with Jake LaHay, aquatic and fitness coordinator at the civic center, are also event coordinators for Fit Farmington.
Fuemmeler said all Fit Farmington events were originally planned as large monthly events sponsored by local businesses. The 12 businesses – Axes Physical Therapy, BOGO Sandwiches, City of Farmington Parks & Recreation, Earth Mother Health Foods, Farmington Martial Arts, First State Community Bank, Harmony Chiropractic, Hearing Care Partners, Lean Kitchen, Parkland Health Mart, Parkland Health Center/BJC, and Sago & Street Eye Care – fund the program.
When Fit Farmington was in the planning stages, criteria were established to ensure the program was free to participants, education was the focus and sponsoring businesses were to create a monthly event for the public.
Then the interruptions began.
For the January kickoff, an ice storm hit so most attendees only visited vendors and were not able to hear the out-of-town speaker.
“Almost everyone had to leave because of the ice storm,” said Fuemmeler, “so we recorded the speaker and shared it that way. There wasn’t anything else we could do.”
She said, “We had the momentum going in January with Fit Farmington and people were excited about all this.”
February sponsor Parkland Health Mart had their Valentine’s Day event with blood pressure checks and other activities.
Then March, April and May events were canceled due to the pandemic.
Now they’re trying to rejuvenate residents to once again make the commitment to become healthy.
“Fit Farmington is super easy and doesn’t cost anything,” said Fuemmeler. “It’s something you can do if we get shut down again. You don’t have to be in a group.”
These reasons are why the program coordinators decided to begin the Charity Miles Fit Farmington MO (FFMO) challenge, which Fuemmeler is organizing.
According to Fuemmeler, the Charity Miles phone app was fairly new a couple years ago. Not many people had heard of it. She found out about it after a few teenagers asked her to join the nationwide challenge.
Fuemmeler’s team consisting of local residents ended up winning the challenge.
“It was a lot of fun and very easy to do,” she said.
Because of this, she suggested at the Fit Farmington planning meeting to do a Charity Miles challenge.
“Our 12 sponsors can promote this challenge within their employees,” Fuemmeler said. “This is a win-win. They’re getting healthier employees, and the more people they can get excited about this, the more they will want to do it.”
Fuemmeler said their mission is to encourage people to better themselves.
“We all benefit. People in this community get healthier. Employees benefit. Employers benefit. The local school systems benefit. Our healthcare systems benefit. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
Participants aren’t required to be employees of the sponsoring businesses. The public is urged to become part of Fit Farmington by choosing a team with which to participate. The first step is to download the Charity Miles app and complete the profile. Next, search for the 12 local teams and choose one.
According to Fuemmeler, the app allows the participant to see details such as who is on the team and how many miles they have accumulated.
The winning team will be determined by the average number of miles ran, walked or biked. That team will share a traveling trophy for their efforts. The top three individuals will earn prizes for themselves.
The Charity Miles challenge began July 1 and ends Aug. 15. Although people can join at any time, it’s best to start now.
People are not required to be Farmington residents; they can participate from anywhere.
“It’s going to be a friendly competition,” said Fuemmeler, “and I’m very excited about it.”
She said the goal is to do the Charity Miles challenge again next year.
Earth Mother Health Foods, one of the program’s 12 sponsors, hosted the June event recently. The business is celebrating its 30th anniversary so they held a combined event which included an open house with free samples and tastings, product reps, attendance prizes and a drawing for a Huffy beach cruiser bike.
This event was a step in the right direction for Fit Farmington. And with warmer weather, now is the time to enjoy the area’s parks and outdoor areas.
“What we are wanting people to do is create better decisions for themselves and their families every day in those areas so that they can live their healthiest lives and happiest lives,” said Powers.
She said a healthier community brings a more productive community.
Although Powers, Fuemmeler and Sebastian are volunteers and receive no monetary compensation, they are passionate about Fit Farmington.
They are strongly encouraging Parkland residents to get involved in the free program and post photos of their healthy meals, hikes, and using area parks and outdoor areas. Social media posts on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook should use the hashtag #FitFarmingtonMO.
Fuemmeler said when she sees her own Facebook friends’ photos of them hiking, exercising or trying something healthy at an area restaurant, she encourages them to add the hashtag #FitFarmingtonMO to their online posts.
With the recent shutdown, Fuemmeler now hopes to refuel people’s enthusiasm to get healthy.
“Hopefully we will get back on board with self-care and eating properly and exercising,” she said. “Everyone is in this together. We just want to do the best we can and encourage everyone.”
The coordinators are cautiously optimistic about future plans.
“We are trying to be careful with our planning but still moving forward,” said Fuemmeler.
July’s monthly Fit Farmington event is sponsored by Harmony Chiropractic. Dr. Michelle Corvallis has been finalizing plans for the event for the end of July.
August’s event is sponsored by Sago & Street Eye Care.
Pam Clifton is a contributing writer for the Daily Journal
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