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!

She remembered in the first year she had over 1,000 people involved and over 300 teams. There was newspaper coverage, as well as local TV news covering the project. She used a giant map of Texas posted in the county courthouse to track the progress of teams. Team captains would encourage participation and team recorders would get everyone’s mileage and call it in to the Extension office. Often, the Extension office secretary would have to call team recorders to get the mileage that had not been reported. They mailed out weekly newsletters, and at the end, provided awards. She says she would have been happy with the success of the first event, but she kept thinking of ways to make it better for participants, so she changed a few things to make improvements and kept offering Walk Across Texas! in her county. 

Then, the idea started to catch on and other county agents wanted to offer WAT! too. And, of course, as others got involved more things changed. Flo said she remembered thinking (for half a second...maybe) that she did not want it to change, because it was a good project just the way it was. But she knew she needed to share it with others and give them the chance to make their own changes. The idea spread not only across the state, but across the nation. 

Because Flossie Jasper was willing to change her mind, she was able to influence hundreds of thousands of people who have participated in Walk Across Texas!, and not only changed their own minds, but changed their lives. Maybe Walk Across Texas! has been a life-changing event for you; or maybe it has only changed a thought or twoabout what you can do and what can be done to improve your health. Either way, we are grateful to Flossie Jasper for her commitment to helping people and making a difference and for being open to change.

We have had a few changes in our WAT! 25 Challenge stats too. In the WAT! Adult program we have 4,513 participants and 766 teams with 102 counties and 100 leagues represented. The biggest change is in our miles! We have 523,958.74 miles collectively since we started counting for the WAT! 25 Challenge! WOW!

In the WAT! Youth program we have 4,134 participants and 103 teams with 33 counties and 22 leagues. And... drum roll please...32,573.45 miles

 Congratulations to the winners of the random drawing from those who submitted a testimonial on how their team member inspires and motivates them with the Walk Across Texas! program...

WAT! Adult – Mini Challenge #7 Winners

Nominee

Nominator

Team Name

Melissa S.

Karen N.

Pavement Punishers

Ashley H.

Sylvia H.

SCRAMBLED LEGS AND ACHIN

Norma M.

Cathy A.

Holie Walk-a-molies

Cora H.

Rebecca J.

The Shin Splints

Mariana M.

Patsy M.

Wild and Wacky Walkers

And we have our second round of Texas Youth on the Move award winners! 

The October Texas Youth on the Move winners are:

WAT! Youth – Texas Youth on the Move Award – October 2021

Team Captain

Team Name

 Cheryl W.

Serralde-3rd Gr.

George S.

12th Green Turtles

George S.

6th Yellow Ducks

 All Winners – be on the lookout for an email about how to claim your prize! 

A - Action: Mini Challenge #8

WAT! Adult – Mini Challenge #8: Our eighth mini-challenge will recognize those who have entered mileage for four days this upcoming week in your Howdy Health accounts.  

To be eligible, you must record mileage for four days or more from Wednesday, November 3rd – Tuesday, November 9th, 2021. In the next newsletter, we will announce 10 randomly selected winners of a $10 dollar gift card to Amazon. It doesn’t matter what week of the WAT! Adult program that you are in, but everything must be submitted by Tuesday, November 9th by 11:59 PM to be entered!  

Already completed the program as part of the WAT! 25 Challenge? Submit the WAT! Adult program wrap-up form in your Howdy Health account and you will be entered too!  

 WAT! Youth – November Mini Challenge: Welcome to the third round of the monthly recognition called the Texas Youth on the Move awards. To enter for the month of November, WAT! Youth teams must log mileage from November 1st through November 30th. Prizes will be awarded in three categories: Schools, Youth Organizations and Small Group teams (20 team members or less). Team captains will receive an Amazon gift card to use in support of their youth program through a random drawing. The third round of winners will be recognized in the Wednesday, December 1st newsletter. Teams must register to join the WAT! 25 Challenge – WAT! Youth program, and log mileage, by Tuesday, November 30th by 11:59 PM to be entered.

L – Learn:

 While you’re adding miles to your fitness journey and changing your own habits for good, you can help your children make healthy changes as well. As a parent or caregiver, your physical activity can serve as a model to your kids. So, while you’re walking, think about ways to include your kids; walk and talk to stay connected; ask them their ideas for active fun. Here are 10 ways parents and caregivers can encourage active play from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Make Fitness Fun for the Whole Family. Need more ideas to get the creative juices flowing? Check out these 101 Tips for Family Fitness Fun from SHAPE America - for kids of all ages!

 WAT! Youth tip: This time of year, can be a beautiful time to take a walk with your family! Why not make it more fun and try some of these activities:

  • Walk through the neighborhood and find each of the colors of the rainbow – Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet
  • Collect 2-5 different leaves on a nature walk
  • Explore a park with a friend or family member 
  • Take a fall foliage hike as a family

K – Keep Changing:

 Okay, let’s be real, change can be uncomfortable. Sometimes, we want things to slow down and not change so much, and sometimes things don’t seem to change quickly enough. Of course, the one thing we can count on is that things will change. Even when change is welcomed and wanted, the process of change itself can create lots of stress. 

Fortunately, we have an Extension program that can help with stress. Stress Less with Mindfulness is a five-class series that introduces participants to experiencing and practicing mindfulness to reduce stress. Mindfulness can be defined as paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally. Research has shown that Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction courses are effective in reducing stress-related symptoms such as worry, depression, and physical tension, and can be helpful in managing cardiac disease and diabetes. Whoa! Those are changes worth finding. Contact your local Extension Agent to find a series near you!

While being mindful and present, you can welcome change. In fact, as you walk outside, you may notice beautiful fall foliage colors that are changing. Those colors are a wonderful reminder of the magnificence of change. Hopefully, your WAT! 25 journey is just another example of a wonderful change. We know it might have been rough sometimes along the way, but overall, the changes that can be made with regular physical activity are worthwhile!

Speaking of amazing, let us do another quick check in on our leaderboard to see the changes in the top teams sorted by start date (as of 11/2/21):

County

Team Name

Start Date

Total Miles

Jones

Booking it Across Texas

9/1/2021

1854.07

Potter

Legs Miserable

9/3/2021

1582.58

Panola

Rotary Club of Carthage

9/5/2021

1152.46

Brazos

Steppers

9/6/2021

1723.19

Hidalgo

Gel Runners

9/7/2021

1588.1

Nueces

Hometown Walkers

9/8/2021

2967.47

Deaf Smith

Boom Chaka Laka

9/9/2021

1424.3

Montgomery

Red Hot Chili Steppers

9/10/2021

1692.3

Cherokee

RhsEagleCrew

9/11/2021

783.98

Hood

Lawless

9/13/2021

1833.74

Hopkins

Max's Marvels

9/14/2021

1137.85

Denton

Fall Walkers

9/15/2021

2978.34

Brazos

The Motley Crew

9/16/2021

1866.95

Wise

Young and the Restless

9/17/2021

1704.92

Lampasas

Chisholm Trail Chorus Trekkers

9/18/2021

1283.05

Austin

Slow Down For What

9/19/2021

1281.83

Waller

MAXIMUM EFFORT

9/20/2021

2641.09

Coryell

The Superheroes

9/21/2021

1259.81

Montgomery

Pavement Punishers

9/22/2021

1416.7

Navarro

The Counties Best!

9/23/2021

968

McLennan

Go Grad School Gals

9/24/2021

519.56

Grayson

Bluestem #1

9/25/2021

1698.25

Galveston

Undefeetable

9/26/2021

1435.86

Montgomery

Hoofin' it to Hilltop

9/27/2021

1553

Jack

Shake, Rattle & Stroll

9/28/2021

357.7

Brazoria

Team Stringfellow

9/29/2021

2566.78

Cameron

High School Cru

9/30/2021

1308.99

Smith

Gladiators

10/1/2021

1164.58

McLennan

Lone Arrangers

10/3/2021

719.17

Deaf Smith

Coaches

10/4/2021

1126.71

Jefferson

Walk on Faith

10/5/2021

432.12

Cherokee

Rockin2021

10/6/2021

0

Cherokee

Wick

10/7/2021

91.3

Hidalgo

Master Clothing Volunteers

10/13/2021

574.86

Cherokee

The Millers

10/14/2021

49

Van Zandt

WAFOWASL Walkers

10/16/2021

374.06

Milam

The Walkie Talkies

10/18/2021

580.88

Milam

ToonSquadz

10/19/2021

7.5

Gregg

All About That Pace

10/20/2021

242.97

Coryell

Senior Power

11/1/2021

19.9

Gregg

YP Steppers

11/1/2021

4.5

WALK Newsletter #7 – October 27th, 2021
WALK Newsletter #9 – November 10th, 2021

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