When the iCan Bike program rolled into the Wichita Ice Center last month, 40 youth with varying disabilities grabbed life by the handlebars. The week-long camp is designed to teach cycling to children with developmental disabilities to ride a bike. For many, riding a bike is entrenched as a youthful rite of passage, an expected childhood development filed in between learning to read and losing baby teeth. But even with all the worthwhile services provided to people with different abilities, the teaching of the most essential recreational activity was being overlooked. Learning to bike is a portal. It’s the intersection of sport and independence, it’s in the doorway of competition and confidence.
iCan Bike is under the larger iCan Shine umbrella, a national organization that “provides quality learning opportunities” for a host of recreational activities. iCan Shine sent two staffers, Donovan Bryan and John Reyes, and their custom designed bikes and equipment for the Wichita camp, hosted by the Independent Living Resource Center.
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Facebook has released a colorful graph ranking the fittest cities in the country via their Facebook Stories app. Other categories in the infographic include official sounding titles like “Dancing City,” “Swimming City,” “Marathon City,” and “Yoga City.” The graphic contains some sweet clip art and most of the cities make sense; Austin is definitely full of Yogis, OKC just collectively lost one million pounds so they must be fit, and Portland is a utopia populated by trendy entrepreneurs so they’re on the list by default.
In the release, Facebook’s Mandy Zibart said, “Ranking of the fittest cities is based on fitness-related mentions, check-ins and use of fitness apps over a period of three months in U.S. cities with at least 200,000 Facebook users.” We think it’s a lot of talk though. Some of the cities included in the graph must have been giving themselves too much credit when they shared their activities, as some of the data is contradictory with other, more fact-based studies.
Facebook claims that El Paso and San Antonio, TX are among the 10 fittest cities in America. Earlier this year, Men’s Health listed both of those cities among the fattest in the nation, citing obesity and lack of physical activity among the population, and the prevalence of fast food joints in the area.
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“Healthy employees are happy employees” is something we heard a lot today at the third annual Wichita Business Journal Healthiest Employers awards. The annual event by the local business publication honors 30 companies who have exceptional corporate wellness plans in place. The result? Healthy, happy employees, a stronger bottom line, and ultimately a stronger company.
Wesley Medical Center, one of the city’s leading hospitals, was recognized three times during the luncheon. First as a healthiest employer amongst large employers (companies with more than 1,000 employees), then as the category winner, and finally as the overall healthiest employer for 2013.
See all of Wichita Business Journal’s Healthiest Employers
Wesley was honored by their recognition today, and told us about their passion for the health and wellness of their employees. “Wellness is part of our overall culture at Wesley,” said Carrie Mabie, PHR who mangages the Wesley Wellness program. That’s an attitude more companies should adopt.
“The end result we’re looking for is for the companies we recognized today to share best practices and ideas to help improve their workplaces,” said John Ek, publisher at the Wichita Business Journal.
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“I’ve think we’ve got something really special here in Wichita, Kevin.”
“I agree, Lacy. I think we really do.”
This was the opening conversation I had with GoRun Wichita, a running store, owner Kevin Swinicki as we took off for more miles this past Saturday morning. We had just completed a raffle and a fun run with about 250 people. The totals determined that the running community of Wichita had raised $2,000 for Hurricane Sandy relief. All of this took place with just three days notice, a push through social media, and a cause worth of running for.
Early last week DietsInReview.com’s managing editor, Brandi Koskie, asked me if I thought we could get runners to show up and participate in DailyMile’s #Run4NYC virtual race fundraiser. Knowing the good hearts that dwell in so many people I’ve shared the road with, I told Brandi that I thought many would show up to support such a worthy cause. With that belief, Brandi hit the ground running to secure funds. Within a day, she had been allotted $500 to donate to the effort, which would go to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. Boldly we agreed that we’d attempt to get 200 people, that way DietsInReview could contribute $2.50 per person who showed to run with us. This news officially hit the public on Wednesday, giving runners three days notice for the event.
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Eric Bruce arrived in New York City last week from his home in Bermuda to run his 39th marathon. He was checking into his hotel, which was without power, when he learned of the cancellation. He had just chatted with the porter after learning how his family had fared during the storm.
“I was disappointed I would miss what I originally came here for but as another runner said, ‘None of us knew what challenge we personally would face this weekend,’” said Bruce.
Most of us watched the drama of the 2012 New York City Marathon unfold from afar. Many shared their opinions of what they thought runners should do and what the city should have done, but the reality is that most of us weren’t there and we were just playing armchair referee. It’s always easy to problem solve from a distance and to tell people how they should feel when we’re not the one directly dealing with the impact of such a tough situation.
Bruce is one of three runners we spoke to who were actually there and traveled to the city because Mayor Michael Bloomberg told them the race was still on. These runners gave up months of their lives to train for this race, they spent money to travel to New York City, and they wrestled with the emotions of being told it was all for nothing.
However, Bruce encountered more good spirit than bad during his unique stay in New York. He recounted the grace and humanity he experienced from New Yorkers. “My hotel was downtown and I was without power for part of my stay,” he said. “Strangers offered to let me stay in their homes, extended well wishes, and hoped that they would see me in next year’s race.”
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