COLUMN: Making Summerland a healthy community

How would you make Summerland healthier? The Summerland Healthy Community Initiative would love to hear your suggestions and insights.

How would you make Summerland a healthier community?  The Summerland Healthy Community Initiative would love to hear your suggestions and insights.

Thanks to a $5,000 Healthy Community Capacity Building Fund, the Summerland Healthy Community Initiative is able to engage the community though a five-part Film and Conversation Series which will determine priorities and generate support for future health related projects.

The fund, which is part of PlanH, is a partnership between B.C. Healthy Communities Society and Healthy Families B.C., the province’s health promotion strategy.

The PlanH program facilitates local government learning, partnership development and planning for healthier communities where we live, learn, work and play.

Each event will be geared towards a specific area of community health such as food security, age-friendly communities and inclusivity, early childhood development, mental health and healthy built environment.

Following each film, a guest panel will invoke and contribute to meaningful discussion surrounding Summerland’s future, health priorities and potential projects.

The Summerland Healthy Community Initiative will want feedback on:

o What health and wellness projects would you like to see happen locally?

o What gaps are present in local community health, and how would you like to see it improved?

o What are some best practices/projects occurring nationally and abroad that should be implemented here?

o Are you someone who would like to be involved?

The mission of the Summerland Healthy Community Initiative is to make Summerland an example of a healthy community.

As beautiful as it is to live here, areas of concern remain regarding health. A 2015 Vital Signs report from the Community Foundation of the Okanagan Similkameen states that 54 per cent of residents in the region are overweight or obese, 33 per cent of Summerland residents report depression or anxiety and nine per cent of Summerland resident report having diabetes.

Admission is free.  The series is at the Centre Stage at 6 p.m. Refreshments to follow each event.

o Aug. 23 A Crack in the Pavement: Growing Dreams and Digging In — Food Security

o Sept. 20 The Elder Project — Age-Friendly Community and Inclusivity

o Oct. 18 School’s Out: Lessons from a Forest Kindergarten — Early Childhood Development

o Nov. 22 Cracking Up — Mental Health

o Jan. 24 The Suzuki Diaries: Sustainability in Action — Healthy Built Environment.

Joanne Malar is the program coordinator for Summerland Recreation, three-time Olympic swimmer, 2012 Olympic Commentator, kinesiologist and holistic nutritionist.