If starting a walking group doesn’t sound like an act of service to you, think again. Your efforts can have a tremendous impact on the health and well-being of your community. Alternatively, you may choose to keep your act of service small by asking a friend or neighbor to walk with you on a regular basis. Even this one simple act of caring can make a world of difference. So, don’t wait – get walking!
Step 1: IDENTIFY A LOCAL PARTNER
Call community-based organizations near you to see if they would be interested in joining forces to help you start a walking group. Use our handy tip sheet “Finding Local Partners” to help locate others to reach out to and invite to join a group. These groups are already doing good work in your community and might have additional ideas and resources for you.
Step 2: "CALLING ALL WALKERS"
Promote your group to family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors. Try posting fliers at your local YMCA, library, senior center, health club, or place of worship. A good group can help support each other and keep everyone on track.
Step 3: KICK IT OFF
A kick-off meeting is a great way to get the group together so everyone can meet. You can have the meeting at your house or at a public place, like a local park or coffee shop.
At the kick off, make a plan. Decide when and where your group will meet, how many days a week and how long you will walk, then pick a start date! You should also set up a system to contact one another, maybe a phone tree or an e-mail list, so that you can all stay informed and in touch.
Step 4: SET GOALS
Encourage members to set goals for themselves and for the team. Maybe suggest increasing the amount of time you walk each week or changing routes to include more difficult terrain. Consider goal setting programs such as Get Fit on Route 66, or Step Up to Better Health.
Step 5: START WALKING
It’s as simple as that. But be sure you remind your team members by phone or e-mail the night before your first walk. And you may also want to remind people to dress for the weather, wear good walking shoes and bring water.
Step 6: CELEBRATE YOUR SUCCESS!
When your team meets their goals, celebrate by doing something special. This can be as simple as grabbing a cup of coffee at a cafe after a morning walk or something a bit bigger like hosting a pot luck dinner. Be sure to thank your team members for participating and encourage them to bring a friend next time.
Step 7: INSPIRE OTHERS ON CREATETHEGOOD.ORG
TELL US WHAT YOU DID!
We want to hear stories (www.CreateTheGood/stories) about how you helped give back to your community. You just might inspire others to do the same.
KEEP UP THE GOOD!
Remember, whether you’ve got five minutes, five hours or five days, you can make a positive impact in your community. And if you have more time, consider organizing another service activity, finding local opportunities and posting your events at www.CreateTheGood.org.