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River's Way: Walking Into Fall

October 17, 2019

This fall, River's Way is significantly increasing the number of students served in goal-based walking programs. We are running programs in more classes and schools in Bristol, building on pilot walking programs that we ran last spring. These walking programs vary from school to school, but they typically take place one day a week for eight weeks. We run walking programs with a variety of different classes and individuals of all abilities. We aim to build "communities of walkers" where individuals with differing abilities are able to contribute and make a positive difference in the overall health of our community.Walking participants include our Program Director, several "walking leaders" (young adults with differing abilities involved in our programming), students, teachers, and classroom assistants. We set goals, walk to the very best of our abilities, encourage each other, socialize, and have fun!

Walking Program Goals

  • To build goal setting and self regulation skills with young people with differing abilities and with students in PE classes
  • To promote walking as a means for our community to increase rates of physical activity among youth and adults of all abilities.
  • To insert young people with differing abilities into goal based walking programs where they have an opportunity to interact with students of all abilities, and where students of all abilities are able to benefit from the presence of young people with differing abilities.

River's Way is conducting walking programs at Vance Middle School, Virginia Middle School, the VMS After-School Academy, Tennessee High School, Virginia High School, Sullivan East High School, and Morrison School for the 2019/2020 school year. We plan to walk with over 600 students of all abilities this semester!

We just wrapped up our program at Vance Middle School last week. Our group of 23 students and 5 adults walked over 245 miles together in just 7 weeks! There are many success stories to share, and these will be highlighted in upcoming newsletters and our Facebook Pagetitled "Walking Spotlight".

The primary aim of these walking programs is to influence and improve the health, well-being and physical activity levels of our entire community, with students and young adults of differing abilities leading the charge. The physical inactivity level of adults age 18-64 in Sullivan county is 35%. This means a large percentage of adults get very little to no physical activity in our area. Walking is an extremely accessible physical activity, and people of all activity levels can start right away. You don't need to spend any money to walk, and there are great walking spots in and around Bristol. Follow us on Facebook for more walking updates, and as the fall weather approaches, get out and enjoy a walk around Bristol!