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NWCC Prince Rupert Honours its Health Challenge

Northwest Community College (NWCC) staff and students in Prince Rupert participating in a government-sponsored yearly event are still raving about an initiative to get more physically active outside the classroom. For several years now, Aboriginal organizations and communities in B.C. have been participating in the Honour Your Health Challenge (HYHC) program, sponsored by the Ministry of Healthy Living and Sport. HYHC promotes positive lifestyle choices such as quitting or reducing tobacco misuse, making healthy food choices and increasing physical activity in Aboriginal communities of B.C. This year, NWCC joined the 250 Aboriginal communities/organizations in staging its own Honour Your Health Challenge at its Prince Rupert Campus. Bernadette McNabb, First Nations access coordinator there, led a challenge to be more physically active by walking. I was excited to support students in a holistic way, said McNabb, who added she chose physical activity because she wanted to offer Aboriginal students an opportunity to incorporate exercise into their busy schedule. Walking was chosen because anyone could do it. There was a pedometer challenge and, for the more adventurous, the Vancouver Sun Run in-training learn to walk 10kmthere were 28 participants in all. The challenge started in January and the in-training ended in mid-April. The weather was crazy and winter seemed to go on forever. Occasionally, the students had to choose studying over walking, but that was expected. It's all about balance, added McNabb. At the end of the 13-week in-training one of the participants, Sherry-Vaughn Roberts, was selected to attend the Network and Celebration Event in Vancouver with McNabb. They were fortunate to be able to take part in the Sun Run as well. Roberts and McNabb finished at 1:34 and 1:46 respectively. "I do feel good about myself, for I completed the 10-km Vancouver Sun, said Roberts. It was not my best time but I did it. I would recommend walking to anybody, as it helps to clear your mind and loosen your jointsso start moving." McNabb says all the in-training participants want to continue being active and a couple would even like to co-lead a group next year. She adds she plans to start walking as soon as the students begin in September.

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