Employees from neighboring counties step up to walking challenge
Fifty-two Walworth County employees have challenged 52 Racine County employees to a four-week, 88-mile walking challenge that kicks off today.
They’ll snap on their pedometers, lace up their sneakers and set off on a journey toward living a healthier, more active lifestyle.
For some county employees, being active is old hat. They spend their two 15-minute breaks and a chunk of their 30-minute lunch break walking, easily logging a couple miles each day.
But for other employees, finding a way to walk more than 20 miles a week will be a test.
“We have some people who are pretty dedicated walkers. They walk all the time, so we have a number who we’re sure will make the goal,” said Linda Eastburg of the Walworth County Veterans Service Office. “But we have some new folks…and we’re hoping to encourage them to do a little more of this and show them this is something that can be done every day.
“Maybe it’ll be a lifestyle change for them.”
Eastburg and walking challenge co-organizer Penny True-Dauffenbach of the collections office, were part of a committee that looked into ways to reduce employee health care costs.
“Our idea was to create a wellness program to get our fellow county employees a little healthier,” True-Dauffenbach said.
But a full-blown wellness program never got off the ground. Instead the women have helped organize small-scale activities, such as walking challenges between the employees at the government center and the judicial center and healthy cooking classes.
It was True-Dauffenbach’s idea to reach out to another county to provide an element of competition and camaraderie to their quest for healthier lifestyles. Their neighbors to the east seemed a logical match; Racine County has had a county-run wellness program for years.
Eastburg said the competitive nature of the challenge gives employees another incentive to get moving.
“It puts the pressure on people not to let the team down,” she said.
The county with the most employees meeting or exceeding the 88-mile goal is the winner.
True-Dauffenbach said the challenge already has boosted morale among county employees. They’ve met people with whom they don’t normally cross paths during the day, and when the challenge is over, they’ll meet dozens more.
Marta Kultgen, human resources manager in Racine County, said the employees there are excited.
“Anything to get people moving; that’s what we’re really about.”
By the Numbers
Number of miles to be walked by Walworth and Racine County employees
(That’s the distance between the Walworth County Judicial Center in Elkhorn and the Racine County Dennis Kornwolf Service Center in Racine)
Number of weeks in the walking challenge
Number of miles to be walked each week
Number of miles to be walked each day of a five-day workweek
Number of steps in five miles
Number of employees from each county participating in the walking challenge