The Chestermere Spring Fair is always full of fantastic and fun things for the whole family to participate in an enjoy, and this year it’s launched a new walking program the organizers hope the community will love.
Chestermere Walks was an idea in the head of organizer Vicki Klinger that she had a great desire to bring to life.
Klinger hit a lucky break when another organizer of the program applied the town of Chestermere for an active community grant from the Thrive On Wellness program.
The town was selected as one of three winners from a group of 20 different communities across Alberta, to receive grant money to get the Chestermere Walks program up and running.
The grant money (which just arrived on May 3) is going towards funding a wide variety of walking programs throughout the community.
“We don’t connect face to face a lot,” Klinger said, “So I thought, ‘what’s going to motivate people to do this?'”
The train of thought brought Klinger to a number of different people, to get help and sponsorship in her new program.
There are several flagship kick off programs starting up in the month of May, including a dog walkers group, led by Carla Hogan, in the hopes of getting both residents and their pooches up and active.
A weight loss walking program, starting up on May 8, is geared at getting people active and helping them lose weight. The program is led by a former Miss Fitness Alberta, who is happy to share tips with those who chose to walk with her on Wednesday nights.
Wendy Richardson, who battled depression and overcome it by walking in the mornings and ‘healing through nature’, is leading a walk every day in a one-week pilot program starting in May, where twice a day at 6:30am and 8:30pm, people are encouraged to come and walk with their camera’s to try and capture the beauty of nature while getting some exercise and relaxation.
Wellthy Walkers is a group led by Yvonne Pharris, and is geared at those who want to be well both mentally and physically, on Tuesday morning at 11:30.
As well, Klinger herself is running a walking group, aimed at helping those who are trying to quit smoking. She wants to give them people to walk with who are going through the same things, in the hope that everyone can help one another reach their goals.
At the launch event on May 4, at the Spring Fair, Klinger gathered together all her walk leaders to run tables in the Recreation Center Multi-Purpose room, to bring more awareness to the program.
At 11am, Klinger had a surprise ‘flash mob’, getting all the walk leaders and volunteers to collect people hanging around the fair in the sunshine to come together in a big group, and listen to some words from the Chestermere and area MLA, Bruce McAllister, at the Stampede Stage set up in the field next to the recreation complex.
McAllister had nothing but praise for the program, calling it amazing and that he was excited about its prospect of bringing the community together.
“We’re a walk in progress,” both McAllister and Klinger said at different times throughout the day.
There are big plans for both the grant money and the program itself. Klinger has dozens more walks she wants to add, including ones involving the Chestermere High School and their upcoming trip to Japan, as well as corporate challenge walks, singles walks, indoor walking programs, bird watching walks, and many other she has listed in the Chestermere Walks brochure.
The money is also to go towards updating some of the signs around the community, to include the kilometers of certain trails, as well as the Chestermere Walks logo.
“Everybody walks,” Klinger said, “such a simple statement that’s going to be so much more.”
Klinger has even coined a great slogan for the program as a whole, “Chestermere: Where Everybody Walks and Everybody Talks”