J. Griffin, UF/IFAS Extension, Orange County, Orlando, FL
LuAnn Duncan, UF/IFAS Extension, Orange County Orlando, FL
Jenny Rodriguez, UF/IFAS Extension, Orange County Orlando, FL
Situation: Extension employees can work long hours on sedentary jobs that require self- focused tasks on computers with limited time for socialization. Most employees have busy schedules and familial commitments making it difficult to fulfill the Center for Disease Controls’ recommended amount of weekly physical activity. Physical Activity prevents and manages chronic diseases, helps build self-esteem, decreases stress, and reduces absenteeism. (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1402378) The objective of this program is that 100% of employees will report knowledge gained, increase physical activity, improved morale and communication.
Methods: Family and Consumer Science agents were asked to create a team builder using health and wellness concepts. The goal was to promote the importance of healthy living while building unity within the department. Employees were divided into seven groups of four and given a set of instructions, maps, and other necessities. Seven stations with names relating to Star Wars were set up across Extensions’ campus that encouraged employees to increase physical activity, communication, promote team work, and become knowledgeable in healthy living concepts. Each station, complete with a riddle, helped each team problem solve and figure out the correct answer to questions relating to food safety, nutrition and physical activity. The activity concluded with a mindfulness exercise that incorporated yoga.
Results: Outcomes from team builder participants showed 95% of employees increased their knowledge on the importance of physical activity and learned techniques to build a healthy plate on a budget, using MyPlate concepts. From a broader economic standpoint, a basic corporate framework was established. Yoga classes are taught monthly to promote a healthy work climate, and healthy nutrient dense snacks are made available during staff meetings. This activity is helping create a culture of health by fostering work place behaviors and attitudes that reflect holistic approaches that impact the well-being of extension employees and county residents.