ELIZABETHTOWN — The members of the Healthy Bladen Collaborative met on Tuesday at the Bladen County Health Department to continue their work and to provide updates on their activities.
Bladen County Health and Human Services Director Cris Harrelson gave a brief overview of the group’s work thus far.
“The purpose of this is to help us build a healthier community in Bladen County,” said Harrelson of the group’s objective.
He reminded the group that at an earlier meeting held in September, the group set some goals and objectives they wanted to start working towards completing. The members then broke out into three groups — grants and marketing, physical activity and education.
Each group updated its members on the activities and research that had taken place since the last meeting and began to look at what steps need to be taken next. The groups spent about 30 minutes in discussion before giving their reports.
The first group to give their report was the group studying physical activity.
“We have found the sneaker net trail (map) for Elizabethtown. It is marked in color and it tells you the mileage of the different routes,” said Marianne Valentiner.
She added that the group does not have all of the maps for the walking trials in other communities.
Valentiner said the next steps for her group are to locate the trails in the various communities that have them and take pictures of any signs on the trails. She said the goal is to make the signage for all of the trails uniform and to develop a resource that lists all of the walking trails throughout Bladen County.
Valentiner said another goal is to start contacting folks about creating an app for the walking trails.
Kelsey Edwards gave the report for the grant and marketing group.
She said the goal for their group is to determine what needs to occur for Bladen County to be recognized as a Kate B. Reynolds Foundation Healthy Community. Edwards said that Carol Strickland found some of the criteria for earning the designation by searching for it online. Edwards said that it appears the county would be considered to be in the first stage of exploration.
Edwards said her group has also identified their next steps to include contacting other counties that have received the designation and asking them to make a presentation regarding what steps they took to earn the Kate B. Reynolds Healthy Community designation. A second step is to have someone from the Kate B. Reynolds Foundation come and explain the Healthy Community designation and affiliated program and answer the group’s questions.
Janet Miller who was working with the group focusing on education said her group had discussed how to identify contacts in each community and the suggestion was made to partner with Strickland and Valentiner to create a comprehensive resource guide. It was noted by several members of the Collaborative that there are various resource guides available at each agency. It was the consensus that it would be beneficial and more efficient to have them all compiled into one comprehensive booklet.
Miller added that Ernest Watts has offered to create a slide presentation that can be shared across agencies and used whenever someone is speaking to a group.
The Healthy Community Collaborative will meet again on Tuesday, Oct. 27, at 9 a.m. at the Bladen County Health Department.
—Erin Smith can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.