Canku Ota Logo

Canku Ota

Canku Ota Logo

(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


June 14, 2003 - Issue 89


pictograph divider


Bringing Wellness to Your Community or Rez

by Geoff Hampton
credits: art Leland Bell Dancing for Life

Leland Bell Dancing for LifeFor any community or reservation that truly wants to make a difference for the quality of life and longevity of both adults and children who are at risk from a health perspective (or already suffering the effects of catastrophic illness), an exciting grass roots, community based campaign can make all the difference in the world. Importantly, it can virtually be a matter of life or death for many participants.

Many individuals in Native American communities and reservations that want to do something are slow to respond because they don't have a complete concept of how to maximize a campaign's impact. This column will outline the model of The Wellness Wakeup Challenge ( and explain in detail how it can be used in your community or reservation. You will see the practical applications as they relate to your community or reservation and you will see any limitations that will not apply.

Creating a dynamic grass roots coalition of leaders:

The first and most important ingredient in creating a dynamic community health initiative is assembling a committed core group of respected individuals who passionately embrace turning the tide of misery and affliction. There are two options and both can be combined. The first option is a Board of Director's. The second is an Advisory Board. Typically the Board of Director's is a more active group of participants. There can also be Honorary Board of Director's position for significantly influential individuals who may not be local but wish to support the campaign, or they may be local but too busy to actively participate.

A good number of participants for each Board is ten people. A monthly meeting is important for campaign updates and improvements. The local Board is designed to offer valuable input in structuring the campaign for maximum effectiveness.

The campaign will need an interesting or humorous title. A campaign specific logo is worth creating. The campaign will be more effective if there are tee-shirts for all participants and helpers. Tee-shirts are wonderful for increasing awareness in the community.

A cash award will obviously increase participation and raise the level of excitement. The Wellness Wakeup Challenge is designed to offer a $10,000.00 award to the individual who is deemed "The Best Participant" at the end of the one-year campaign as designated by the local Board of Director's and based on previously established criteria. The Wellness Wakeup Challenge also offers a second place award of $5,000.00.

The criteria that the cash awards are offered for is NOT based in creating a beautiful body. It is based on effort, enthusiasm, team spirit and many other functions that serve to help people change their lives. If your community can get medical assistance, all participants should get a health risk appraisal before participating and certain health factors can be checked and monitored for improvement such as blood pressure, triglicerides, cholesterol, blood sugar levels and other basic health screening components.

A one-year model is desirable

In a one-year model, the campaign can offer four ninety-day intervention programs for the participants. The ninety-day intervention is designed to address specific needs for all participants, especially moderate exercise, moderate nutritional reform and motivation.

At the conclusion of each ninety-day program, the 25 team members vote for the best participant on their team. A certificate serves well as a nice reward for the individual winner. Their name then goes into a pool from where the annual winner and runner-up are selected at the end of the one-year campaign.

Getting the award money

The award money can be obtained by the use of individual, business or political sponsorships and/or contributions. The Wellness Wakeup Challenge uses one platinum sponsor ($2,500), five gold sponsors ($1,500) and ten silver sponsors ($500). This totals the $15,000.00 needed for the two awards. That money goes into a special campaign account and it helps to have an "official bank" that participates and supports the campaign by holding the funds and of course the bank gains public relations benefit.

Creating the business plan

The campaign will be more effective and easier to promote if a formal business plan is created and typed. Specific goals are needed for the number of participants and the practical application of each health component. The Wellness Wakeup Challenge is designed to create "wellness teams" of 25 participants. The team selects a name and the name gives them identity and camaraderie. The team meets to go over the campaign and a "team leader" is selected by the group. The team leader is usually the most enthusiastic person and they serve as the team's "cheerleader", inspiring the other members. Additionally, the team is further broken down into "buddy teams" of two. The two work together best if their time availability to participate in the education and exercise portions of the campaign are equal. They can further serve to motivate and encourage each other. Motivation is one of the most important ingredients to any health initiative and most of these initiatives are targeting sedentary individuals. Sedentary individuals are predisposed to failing in this type of initiative so motivation and support are of paramount importance.

Also in the business plan will be the campaign cost breakdown. Most individuals will probably be unable to afford to participate unless there are a lot of volunteer supporters. Regardless there are options for alternative funding. There are plenty of grant, foundation, corporate and individual moneys available. Typically the grant moneys are the slowest funds that can be used and time is of the essence in this type of campaign.

The functional portion of the campaign

Before the campaign is set to kickoff it is important to have the participatory schedule created and participant workbooks to track exercise, daily food consumption and any other factors that you may want them to record.

A good blend of education and exercise makes success more attainable. Two days per week (example: Monday and Friday) the teams should be involved in an exercise class of some sort. Make it fun! On one other day (example: Wednesday) of the week the participants should get a good educational class based in lifestyle modification and effective nutritional options. Effective nutrition is a huge factor in success and failure. As mentioned in one of my earlier columns, if the participants are urged to make dramatic changes right away, the failure rate will be significant. All factors must be designed to promote success for participants. The more successful participants, the more likely the campaign will be a long-term solution that becomes anxiously anticipated as an annual event. Furthermore, as the campaign grows in popularity and you and your Board evaluate the good qualities of the campaign you created and the not so good ones and that will help the campaign grow stronger year after year and bigger and better sponsorships and Board participants become available. One quality that the primary campaign developer must posses is zero fear factor. There is no person too "untouchable" to contact for support.

Get motivated, get going and make some great things happen!

Important Note: This is a regular feature here at Canku Ota. If you have important information about health and wellness topics, let me know. If there is an upcoming event, let me know so that I can help get the word out. If you know of a great program, let me know that as well. This is a war and the enemy is ruthless. The enemy does not have a face and it does not have a conscience. How we got here has already happened and doesn't matter. How we save the people is all that matters now. Contact me via e-mail at

Geoff Hampton columns online:

Columns Section
Current Issue Section
Library of Articles - Management Advice Online Column

Geoff Hampton's National Anti-Obesity/Diabetes Campaign Info

pictograph divider

Home PageFront PageArchivesOur AwardsAbout Us

Kid's PageColoring BookCool LinksGuest BookEmail Us


pictograph divider

  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.

Canku Ota Logo   Canku Ota Logo

The "Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America" web site and its design is the

Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 of Paul C. Barry.

All Rights Reserved.

Site Meter
Thank You

Valid HTML 4.01!