WALK Newsletter #11 – November 24th, 2021

W – Wow: WAT! 25 Challenge Participation Update

Thankful! Last week, we talked about the many things we were thankful for: county agents and educators, the Extension Service, County Commissioners Courts and YOU! We also asked for reasons why you are thankful this year. Here were some of the submissions: 

“My family, friends, and my work family. These people inspire me to do my best and are always there when I need them!!”

“I am thankful for the opportunity WAT! provides me with to maintain and improve my health within a supportive community.”

 “I am thankful for my health of myself and my family.  Thank you WAT! for getting my whole family out walking together! It was great to do this as a family.”

 “My family remaining healthy, happy and resilient amongst all the challenges of the year.”  

 “My teammates and a chance to celebrate some holiday fun.”

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WALK Newsletter #10 – November 17th, 2021

W – Wow: WAT! 25 Challenge Participation Update

 Wow!  This time next week we will be busy with all that goes along with Thanksgiving festivities. There is so much for which the WAT! 25 Committee is thankful! We are so thankful for the network of agents and educators across the state who make programs like Walk Across Texas! possible. If you have not met your local agent, we hope you will find an opportunity to connect with them. They are knowledgeable professionals who are ready and willing to help Texans better their lives. If you already know your local Extension personnel, we hope you will take a moment to reach out and tell them thanks for the work they do. They give their all to their communities to make a difference in the lives of people.

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WALK Newsletter #9 – November 10th, 2021

W – Wow: WAT! 25 Challenge Participation Update

Building bridges… that is the theme for this week’s newsletter. Your WAT! journey may be a bridge for you from inactivity to regular and consistent activity. It might be a bridge between casual walking and a race like a 5K or a special purpose walking event. Either way, building bridges is important in our progress to healthier living, and we are grateful WAT! can help. 

As a part of our celebration, we have been exploring some history about the past 25 years of WAT! In our last newsletter we told you about Flossie Jasper who produced the idea for Walk Across Texas! As the idea caught on and the concept grew, it was important to build bridges that would fill the gaps between small individual county efforts and state-wide coordination. Dr. Carol Rice, in concert with Flo Jasper, were the true pioneers with the vision for expanding the program statewide. Then, Extension Specialist Alice Kirk became “chief bridge builder” and led the program into a significant period of expansion. The Walk Across Texas! program (WAT!) was recognized in 2006, as a Best Practice Physical Activity Program by the Texas Department of State Health Services. Simultaneously, the website underwent updates in mileage entry, which blazed the trail for NEW collaborative agency partnerships and led to statewide coordinated Walk Across Texas! challenges to support Employee Wellness Initiatives.

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WALK Newsletter #8 – November 3rd, 2021

W – Wow: WAT! 25 Challenge Participation Update

This week, we want to share a story about the changes in Walk Across Texas! George Bernard Shaw once said, Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” In celebrating 25 years of Walk Across Texas!, we are celebrating 25 years of change. Each year has been a little different with little changes here and there to make the program better. Those changes started happening from the very beginning. County Extension Agent, Flossie “Flo” Jasper was the agent in Harrison County who came up with the idea and implemented the very first Walk Across Texas! event 25 years ago. 

In a recent interview, Flo recounted her thoughts and plans when WAT! first began. She recalled another Extension program that was available, but she wanted to make some changes to make it better; to encourage more people to exercise more often. In the classic model of Extension program development, she spent a lot of time thinking about possibilities. She saw words in a document about “walking” and “Texas” and thought about “Walk Across Texas” as a catchy title. She took the idea to her Home Economics Committee, and they were on board to help. She shared the idea with her supervisor, who encouraged her to pursue it!

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WALK Newsletter #7 – October 27th, 2021

W – Wow: WAT! 25 Challenge Participation Update

Staggering! That is one thing we could say about the WAT! 25 Challenge! The number of participants and teams that have joined us since September 1st has been astonishing! To date, we have 4,474 participants on 761 teams, with 97 leagues, and 98 counties participating in the WAT! Adult program with a total of 436,432.83 miles! And in the WAT! Youth program there are 3,929 participants, 97 teams, with 21 leagues and 26 counties with a total of 25,117.55 miles! Very impressive!

Also, the WAT! 25 Challenge is staggering because not every team starts and ends at the same time, so... yeah, literally staggered. Leagues and teams started on the date that worked best for them. This means that teams that started on September 1st are about to finish their 8 weeks; teams that started closer to the end of September are getting to the midway point; and teams that started in October are just getting warmed up! Regardless of when you started, the goal is the same: 832 miles in 8 weeks among a team of up to 8! This is one of the things that makes WAT! work for you and your neighbors. It is not a race, but a friendly competition inspiring you to do your absolute best!

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WALK Newsletter #6 – October 20th, 2021

W – Wow: WAT! 25 Challenge Participation Update

We are one more week into the #WAT25 journey! Some in our WAT! 25 Challenge may be close to wrapping up and others are just beginning. Often when we start a new project, we are super excited to begin. The first few weeks are new and different, but then as time passes other things take priority and we get distracted or discouraged. At whatever point you are, reflecting on your path so far can be helpful. Here are some questions to contemplate regarding your current WAT! experience…

Maybe think about these questions the next time that you are walking: 

  • What are some of the benefits you have noticed?
  • What are some of the obstacles you have encountered? How have you addressed those?
  • As you look back at your daily WAT! entries, what patterns are you noticing? 
  • You joined the WAT! 25 Challenge because you wanted something to change, whether it was increasing your physical activity, preparing for a big event, or just connecting with friends or family. Thinking about those things, where are you on that journey of change? What has changed about how you think about not only WAT, but your physical health in general?
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WALK Newsletter #5 – October 13th, 2021

W – Wow: WAT! 25 Challenge Participation Update

Cool! That is what we say when we talk about the #WAT25 Challenge participants...they are COOL! It is also what we are saying about the weather! As Texas temperatures cool off a bit, it makes those walks outside even more enjoyable. You know what else makes WAT! enjoyable? Howdy Health - the online mileage entry system! Waaaayyyback, around the turn of the century (lol... sounds wild, right!??!) the WAT! website was developed in 2001 to make it easier to sign up and track miles. In the last 20 years there have been lots of improvements! Of course, there is more that can be done. But really, isn't our fitness journey like that? As we are working on healthier habits, we are often doing better than we were, but we have improvements that can be made. Glitches come up from time to time, but overall, we are moving forward. Progress, rather than perfection, is our goal.

Speaking of progress, we would like to extend a warmwelcome to our walkers who have joined us in October!If you would like a peek at earlier WAT! 25 WALK newsletters, reach out to your local Extension agent or send a support ticket on the Howdy Health website and tell us you want to know what you might have missed. 

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WALK Newsletter #4 – October 6th, 2021

W – Wow: WAT! 25 Challenge Participation Update

Happy fall, y’all! October is here and we are well into our #WAT25 celebration! Welcome to our teams who are just now starting their walks with us. You are joining an amazing group! Since we began counting for our WAT! 25 Challenge on September 1, we have 705 teams, with 4,007 participants and 90 leagues, with 96 counties participating in the WAT Adult challenge. These teams have a collective of 173,059.19 miles! In the WAT Youth challenge, we have 54 teams with 1,595 participants and 16 leagues, with 21 counties and 7,185.27 miles entered. 

WAT! has come a long way, literally and figuratively, with humble beginnings in one county in 1996, the idea caught on and expanded to 20 counties in East Texas (what we call District 5 in Extension). By 1999, counties across the state were participating. And here we are again, with counties participating across the state in the WAT! 25 Challenge...omg, look at us “party like it’s 1999!

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WALK Newsletter #3 – September 29th, 2021

W – Wow: WAT! 25 Challenge Participation Update

Great to “see” everyone again! And, “welcome” to those of you who recently joined us. Just imagine... 25 years ago, there was a group of people in Harrison County who were convinced by their county agent to do this wild walking program thing that would be just like walking across Texas... but not literally walking across Texas. So, there they were... walking and thinking about the final episodes of “Blossom” and “Full House;” wondering why in the world Julia Roberts married Lyle Lovett; trying to understand that video guide for the newWindows 95; praying for the people affected by the Oklahoma City bombing; and wondering if online shopping really is a “thing” that will stick... all the while getting in more steps and becoming more physically active. Yes! You are part of an elite group with a rich tradition. Back in those days, miles were turned in on paper and calculated by hand. But since then, WAT! has had over 615,000 participants and has contributed to an estimated economic impact of over $2.2 billion dollars!

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WALK Newsletter #2 – September 22nd, 2021

W – Wow: WAT! 25 Challenge Participation Update

Welcome to Week 2 of our Walk Across Texas! 25th Year Anniversary Challenge! If you are just now joining us, and its only week one for you, that’s okay! This is an open invitation celebration! We will have folks joining us for the next few weeks. Encourage your friends to join the fun! We will be sending newsletters for several weeks to keep everyone active and involved.  

Well, we are moving on up! Right now, we have 498 teams with 2,539 participants in 81 counties in the WAT! Adult program, and 19 teams with 825 participants in 9 counties in the WAT! Youth program. Just got to say it...you are part of an impressive group! What a cool thing to be in this bunch of a group of Texans (and beyond.... spotted a couple of New Yorkers in the mix) working toward healthy habits and having fun!

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WALK Newsletter #1 – September 15th, 2021

W – Wow: WAT! 25 Challenge Introduction

Welcome to the very special Walk Across Texas! 25th Year Anniversary Challenge! We are so glad you are here and are looking forward to an awesome program! Because an anniversary like this doesn’t come around often, we are hosting this special WAT! 25 Challenge to celebrate. 

Each week, you will receive a WAT! 25 Challenge newsletter that will share helpful information to motivate and assist you with your physical activity goals. Each WAT! 25 Challenge newsletter will have an introduction to keep you “up to speed”; a mini challenge with a chance to win prizes; a link to a helpful article to keep you informed on the latest research and helpful tips; and announcements that will help keep you in the loop of WAT! 25 Challenge happenings and Extension offerings. 

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