Let's Go! Waldo 5-2-1-0 celebrates accomplishments
Let’s Go! Waldo 5-2-1-0 held a recognition dinner recently to “celebrate the accomplishments and contributions to the community” of 48 childcare, school, afterschool and healthcare sites in Waldo County. Of those sites, 31 were designed as sites of distinction and 17 were honored for being well on their way to becoming sites of distinction.
The ultimate goal of the program is to reduce obesity among young people through advocating for children to eat 5 fruits and vegetables a day, limiting recreational screen time to 2 hours a day, providing for 1 hour or more of physical activity per day and cutting out all sugary drinks.
To address the policies, practices, and environments that influence healthy lifestyle behaviors, the program uses these 10 strategies:
1. Provide healthy choices for snacks and celebrations; limit unhealthy choices.
2. Provide water and low-fat milk; limit or eliminate sugary beverages.
3. Provide non-food rewards.
4. Provide opportunities for children to get physical activity every day.
5. Limit recreational screen time.
6. Participate in local, state, and national initiatives that promote healthy eating and active living.
7. Engage community partners to help support and promote healthy eating and active living at your site.
8. Partner with and educate families in adopting and maintaining a lifestyle that supports healthy eating and active living.
9. Implement a staff wellness program that includes healthy eating and active living.
10. Collaborate with Food and Nutrition Programs to offer healthy food and beverage options.
Dr. Tory Rogers, who is the director of the Let’s Go program, said after coming up with the program eight years ago, it is now in all 16 counties and there are 1,000 sites across the state, all with the same consistent 5-2-1-0 message.
Dr. Rogers asked the audience for some examples of initiatives they have taken to help advance the goals of the program. Among those listed were:
- Creating a food cupboard and farmers’ market at Mt. View.
- Growing food and sending home recipes for using that food.
- Lending out snowshoes and ice skates for families to use.
- Installing handicap-accessible gardens.
- Holding a cooking club after school.
- Helping to prepare healthy snacks and taking them around to the classrooms.
- Putting out a sugar bottle display to show how much sugar is in different sodas and juices.
- Changing from serving young people Kool-aid and fruit juices to water with citrus.
- Hearing a kindergarten say, “The apples are really shiny and red today.”
- Taking a high school student to the grocery store and having him use the money from his first paycheck to purchase a pomegranate, and saying, “I’m going to divide this and every time I finish an assignment, I will eat a section.”
“This is little stuff but that is what it takes,” said Dr. Rogers. “We got in the mess over four or five decades and it takes time, but tastes are changing.” She said she was in Damariscotta recently and the children were taking kale chips for lunch and in a visit to a school garden, a young student brought her a bouquet of Swiss Chard, gave it to her and said with pride, “We grew this.”
She said, “The kids are doing this and pulling the adults along.”
In addition to the awards to sites, Barbara Crowley, RN, a Waldo County General Hospital employee who oversees the Let’s Go! Waldo 5-2-1-0 awarded four special awards to those who have gone over and above with the program in each of the four categories. The award winners were:
- Monica Wing, program director at the Belfast Area Children’s Center, for childcare;
- Ruth Southworth, program director for the RSU 20 afterschool program, for afterschool;
- Glen Widmer, principal of the Walker and Troy elementary schools in RSU 3, for schools; and
- Chris Walker, NP, of the Donald Walker Health Center in Liberty, for healthcare.
Another special award went to Rusty Emmerton, who has been a volunteer in the afterschool program in Searsport for nine years. He is known for his “I can” attitude and his advice to students: “You can do anything you want to but only if you set your mind to it.”
Receiving childcare awards were Grammie’s Child Care in Belfast; First Steps in Belfast; Cindy’s Daycare in Liberty; Waldo Community Action Partners in Belfast and Northport Head Start; Starrett’s Children’s Center in Belfast; Belfast Area Children’s Center in Waldo and Ames Pre-K Boardreach Family and Community Services in Searsmont.
Named as sites of distinction in the afterschool category were the 21st Century afterschool programs in Morrill and Searsmont, Swanville, Searsport Elementary and Middle School; and Frankfort.
Winners in the school class were Monroe Elementary, Troy Central School, Mt. View High School in Thorndike, Ames Elementary in Searsmont, Captain Albert Stevens School in Belfast; East Belfast; Drinkwater Elementary in Northport, Frankfort Elementary, Weymouth Elementary in Morrill, Nickerson Elementary in Swanville; Searsport Elementary, and Stockton Springs Elementary.
In the healthcare field, those receiving awards were Drs. Ben Mailloux, Matt Molison and Steven Wilson, the Donald S. Walker Health Center in Liberty, the Searsport Health Center and the Lincolnville Regional Health Center.