What is Active Living?
Active Living Bemidji is a comprehensive approach to incorporating physical activity into the daily lives of residents of the Bemidji Area. As part of an effort to encourage more physical activity, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota (Blue Cross) selected eight Minnesota communities to receive its Active Living Minnesota funding. The Bemidji Area was one of the selected communities. The purpose of this funding is to support communities in Minnesota that are working to implement a comprehensive approach to support active living, with a focus on environmental and policy change efforts.
Active Living Bemidji formed a partnership with several committed individuals from B-WELL (Beltrami Wellness Education for Long Life), The City of Bemidji, Greater Bemidji Joint Planning Board, Headwaters RDC, ISD 31 Community Education, and MeritCare Clinic. Active Living Bemidji participated in a yearlong planning phase and is now in the first of four years of implementation.
Active Living Bemidji Vision
Through deliberate, collective action, Bemidji will be a place:
- Where there exists a mutual respects among all modes of transportation
- That has been recognized nationally as a safe and healthy place to live
- That is as accessible for bicyclists and pedestrians as it is for motor vehicles
- Where physical activity is safe, easy, accessible, and a common occurrence for residents
- That has strong connections-allowing people to comfortably navigate to and from destinations in the community
- Where children can safely walk and bicycle to school
Developed by Active Living by Design, we are using this model to tailor an appropriate idea of Active Living for The Bemidji Area.
- Preparation is essential to success. It is important to foster and develop interdisciplinary partnerships that include representatives from fields such as public health, city planning, transportation, and parks and recreation. Together, a partnership must access existing policies and environmental conditions, engage stakeholders, and develop a strategic action plan, and identify additional resources.
- Promotion of active living messages occurs through multiple channels such as traditional mass media, listservs, and newsletters. Messages should highlight the importance of active living in a variety of built, natural and social environments.
- Programs are necessary to heighten the demand and create social support for physical activity in the community. Some programs may help raise awareness of active living issues, while others will mobilize the public to advocate for policy change.
- Policy Influence ensures that key decisions affecting environments and policy infrastructure are conducive to active living. Legislators and other policy makers play a key role in determining community design and transportation options.
- Physical Projects such as parks, trails, bikeways, and sidewalks are a necessary component of an integrated approach to increasing routine physical activity.
Approach to Work
The 2010 Active Living Bemidji work plan is an ambitious approach focused on:
- Establishing Policy
- Educating Individuals/ Increasing Skills
- Getting People Active/ Connecting people to opportunities