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News Releases - 2017

February 2, 2017

Kansas Communities Receive $2,500 BlueCHIP® Awards from Kansas Recreation and Park Association, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas

Five Kansas communities and one state park – varying in both population size and programs – have two things in common; each is striving to improve the health of those who live, work and play in their community. In addition, each is being recognized for those efforts with a BlueCHIP® Award from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas (BCBSKS) and the Kansas Recreation and Park Association (KRPA).

In winning a BlueCHIP Award, the six recipients – Baldwin City, Derby, City of Lindsborg, Shawnee County – Topeka, Tuttle Creek State Park and Wellington – each receives a $2,500 award to assist them in continuing their efforts to improve the health of their communities. The awards were presented during a luncheon at the 2017 KRPA Annual Conference and Trade Show, in Manhattan.

The BlueCHIP Awards are a community health improvement program created seven years ago by KRPA and BCBSKS to recognize and reward Kansas communities that encourage and support healthy lifestyles through programs, initiatives, policies and/or community-wide events.

"This year's recipients are great examples of what can be achieved in a community when organizations and individuals collaborate on sustainable policies, programs and projects that focus on improving the health of those who live, work and play in the community," said Marlou Wegener, BCBSKS manager of community relations. "Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas is proud to recognize Baldwin City, Derby, Lindsborg, Shawnee County – Topeka, Tuttle Creek State Park and Wellington for the work that they doing, and we look forward to seeing the strides each makes with the help of the BlueCHIP cash award."

Erika Devore, RD, executive director of KRPA, said that KRPA takes pride in recognizing communities that are actively working to improve the health of their residents.

"For the past seven years, KRPA has been proud to encourage and recognize grassroots initiatives through this BlueCHIP partnership with Blue Cross," Devore said. "Our member organizations recognize that there is still much that we must do to improve the overall health of Kansans. By working collectively within our communities, by building partnerships and involving residents, we know that we can be successful in creating sustainable programs, initiatives, policies and community-wide events that can address and  alleviate local health concerns."

The BlueCHIP selection committee was comprised of representatives from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, League of Kansas Municipalities, KRPA and BCBSKS.

This year's winners join the following communities as BlueCHIP awardees: Grinnell, Hutchinson and Lawrence (2011); Derby, Manhattan, Parsons and Salina (2012); Great Bend, Greensburg, Lawrence and Wichita (2013); Baldwin City, Colby, Eudora, Garden City, Manhattan and Ottawa (2014); Atchison, Emporia, Greeley County, Pratt and Winfield (2015); and, Arkansas City, Chanute, Garnett, Hepler, Lawrence and Potwin (2016).

Following is information on each of this year's BlueCHIP awardees:

Baldwin City, Douglas County
(small community; population under 10,000)

Nominated by: Steve Friend, Baldwin City Recreation Commission, (785) 594-3670, steve-AT-baldwinrec-DOT-org.

Intended use of award: The Baldwin City Recreation Commission plans to continue its efforts to involve youth as well as adults in health activities. The commission would like to expand nutrition education for youth and adults by growing the healthy snack options at the after school program and offering free training for adults on how to prepare health meals that are quick, easy and inexpensive. In addition, the commission plans to find ways to better engage seniors in the community by helping respond to gaps in services identified by the Senior Engagement Coordinating Council.

Partner organizations: Lawrence Memorial Hospital, Just Food – Lawrence, USD 348, Baker University, Baldwin City Recreation Commission, Lawrence Health Department and Baldwin City Fire Department.

Derby, Sedgwick County
(large community; population of 20,001 and more)

Nominated by: Debbie Williams, Derby Recreation Commission-Derby Health Collaborative, (316) 788-3781, debbie-AT-derbyrec-DOT-com.

Intended use of award: StoryWalk combines three critical elements for overall family and community health: early literacy learning, family engagement outdoors and physical activity. Expected to debut in April, the program will feature laminated pages from children's books mounted along walking paths in Derby's High Park. Walkers will be able to read the entire book – one page at a time – as they move along the path. The goal is to display a minimum of five different books each year in High Park. BlueCHIP funding will be used to purchasing mounting frames and posts, as well as story books.  

Partner organizations: American Family Insurance-Jean Garinger Agency, Amerigroup, Arthur J. Gallagher & Company, Brackeen Chiropractic, Carr Optometry, City of Derby, Butler Community College, Derby Chamber of Commerce, Derby Community Foundation, Derby Family MedCenters, Derby Public Library, Derby Public Schools, Derby Recreation Commission, Derby Senior Center, Dopps Chiropractic, Gage Chiropractic, GraceMed, Health ICT, Kansas Academy of Family Physicians, Komen/SE KS Cancer Partnership, K-State Research and Extension Sedgwick County, Lifestyle Strategies, Mulvane Family MedCenter, Oaklawn Community Center, Oxford Senior Living, Parents as Teachers, Riordan Clinic, Sunflower Health Plan, The Little Clinic, Wichita State University, Woodlawn United Methodist Church, and community members James McCluer, Mandy Rey and Maureen Clark.

City of Lindsborg, McPherson County
(small community; population under 10,000)

Nominated by: Kate Elliott, City of Lindsborg, (785) 227-3333, katee-AT-lindsborgcity-DOT-org.

Intended use of award: The City of Lindsborg intends to use its $2,500 award towards equipment for either an adult playground or splash pad. Community members believe the addition of these amenities will greatly enhance their ability to deliver creative fitness opportunities and encourage an active lifestyle for the community.

Partner organizations: USD 400 Smoky Valley School District, Bethany College and Lindsborg Community Hospital.

Shawnee County - Topeka
(large community; population of 20,001 and more)

Nominated by: Mike McLaughlin, Shawnee County Parks + Recreation, (785) 251-2680, mike-DOT-mclaughlin-AT-snco-DOT-us.

Intended use of award: Shawnee County Parks + Recreation intends to use its $2,500 BlueCHIP award to enhance the county's trails. Trail makers, signage and directional markers along trails are needed on a number of trails. These markers and signs will help people find the trails, identify trail heads and navigate the trail. Enhancing the trails is expected to improve their visibility to the public and, in turn, increase the public's use of the trails in Shawnee County.

Partner organizations: U.S. National Park Service, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, Shawnee County and Shawnee County Parks + Recreation.

Tuttle Creek State Park, Riley-Pottawatomie Counties
(large community; population of 20,001 or more)

Nominated by: Todd J. Lovin, Tuttle Creek State Park, (785) 539-7941, todd-DOT-lovin-AT-ksoutdoors-DOT-com.

Intended use of award: With its BlueCHIP grant dollars, Tuttle Creek State Park intends to purchase additional boats – canoes and kayaks – and paddling equipment which will allow more people to participate in the annual Little Apple Paddle, Little Apple Glow Paddle and other paddling events on the Kansas River. The Little Apple Paddle, a 10-mile float for novice as well as experienced paddlers, has attracted more than 150 participants during its first two years.

Partner organizations: Visit Manhattan, and Manhattan Parks and Recreation Department.

Wellington, Sumner County
(small community; population under 10,000)

Nominated by: Marcine Goodrum, Wellington Recreation Commission, (620) 326-3323, mgoodrum-AT-usd353-DOT-com.

Intended use of award: BlueCHIP grant dollars will be used to provide healthy foods, informational materials, fitness equipment, fitness/nutrition instructors and child care for the Community Appreciation Fitness Fair and the ongoing Kidz wRECking Tyme programs. These programs encourage adults to get motivated to be healthy, active role models for their children so healthy exercise becomes a lifetime habit for the children.

Partner organizations: Wellington Recreation Commission, Wellington Recreation Fitness Center, City of Wellington, Wellington USD 353.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas

For 75 years, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas has built a reputation of trust with its members and contracting providers by providing outstanding customer service while quickly and accurately processing claims; fairly administering benefit plans and contracts; offering programs, services and tools to help members improve or maintain their health; and operating under the highest ethical standards while being good stewards of premium dollars. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and is the state’s largest insurer, serving all Kansas counties except Johnson and Wyandotte. For more information, visit bcbsks.com.

About Kansas Recreation and Park Association

Kansas Recreation and Park Association is a non-profit, professional corporation dedicated to the promotion of healthy lifestyles in Kansas communities through the wise use of recreation and stewardship of parks and natural resources. KRPA is comprised of citizens and park and recreation professionals who serve millions of Kansans and tourists at parks, open spaces and recreation facilities, and through healthy programs for children, adults and senior citizens.

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