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Lead photo: Big run scene, Parkersburg

Organize a community running/walking club.

More than 1,000 people have joined Parkersburg’s River City Runners and Walkers Club. All year, they have dozens of events for adults and children – including beginners’ clinics. And it’s still all volunteer-run.“We wanted to include running in the culture, and we think we’ve done that,” said Sharon Marks, longtime board member.

They love it when people from other communities come visit, to get tips for starting their own. WHAT’S THE CLUB THAT RECENTLY GOT 600 PEOPLE?

Glenville has parlayed a $3,000 grant from West Virginia on the Move into Gilmer County on the  Move, a running and walking program with hundreds of people participating…  DO THEY HAVE A SCHEDULE??  MEETINGS?

In Mingo County, the Tug Valley Road Runners Club used to have only a few big races a year. But they decided they need more regular runs, to help local residents build a habit. Now they hold a 5K every month, most of them not advertised beyond the area. “We wanted something regular for people who were just starting, to help them build the habit,” said organizer Alexis Batausa. “When there’s a 5K every month, people will run inbetween to try to break their personal record.”

Several running clubs have >

West Virginians inspiring West Virginians!

Posted by on 9:01 pm in Uncategorized | 1 comment

West Virginians inspiring West Virginians!

A Movement is Growing – Try This West Virginia from Stephen C. Stonestreet on Vimeo.

video created by Stonestreet Creative. Filmed at the 2016 Try This West Virginia conference


This video comes as close as anything we’ve seen to catching the energy of the Try This gatherings … and movement.  West Virginians helping and enjoying each other.  Enjoy!  Then come back to the Web site and explore. You’ll find hundreds of practical, affordable ways to help create a healthier community.

And all the pictures were taken in West Virginia!



Take a look at our 2014-16 Try This WV Evaluation

Community by community!

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Community by community!

video created by Stonestreet Creative. Filmed at the 2016 Try This West Virginia conference


This video comes as close as anything we’ve seen to catching the energy of the Try This gatherings … and movement.  West Virginians helping and enjoying each other.  Enjoy!  Then come back to the Web site and explore. You’ll find hundreds of practical, affordable ways to help create a healthier community.

And all the examples (and pictures) come from West Virginia!

It’s up to us!

Posted by on 9:10 pm in Uncategorized | 0 comments

It’s up to us!

video created by Stonestreet Creative. Filmed at the 2016 Try This West Virginia conference

This video comes as close as anything we’ve seen to catching the energy of the Try This gatherings … and movement.  West Virginians helping and enjoying each other.  Enjoy!  Then come back to the Web site and explore. You’ll find hundreds of practical, affordable ways to help create a healthier community.

And all the pictures were taken in West Virginia!

Join the movement …

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Join the movement …

suphere3Click on the picture to get on board!

Click on the picture to sign up!

Join our facebook group page for:

* Ideas you’ll want to steal: Detailed stories about  West Virginians who are doing great stuff in their communities.

* Funding tips: Ways and places to apply for $$. Deadlines and contacts.

* Latest research: Study after study shows that we’re on the right track. You’ll want to be up to date on that.

* Profiles of community champions. Inspiring people who are making it happen where they live.

* Who can help me? Profiles of organizations that can help you help your community.

* Spotlight on the Try This Web site: a close-up view of useful resources you may want to follow up on.

* Try This minigrant and conference info

Announcements of events and workshops you’d like to know about.

* A monthly roundup of stories, news, pictures and information you can use!

It’s up to us! Together, we can make a difference!

Healthy Workplaces!

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Healthy Workplaces!


Taking a 3 minute physical activity break during a meeting or doing yoga over lunch is an easy way to incorporate physical activity in the workplace.





Workplace Wellness

This page is loaded with WV specific community resources and best examples on how you can make healthy changes in worksites.


Workplace Wellness – Why Do We Care?

Health Benefit

  • According to Center for Disease Control (CDC) workplace wellness programs can:
    • Improve healthy behaviors, increase physical activity and encourage healthy eating.
    • Improve workers’ health knowledge and skills.
    • Create a culture of healthier behaviors at work.
      • A study showed these programs increased employee retention, attendance, productivity, improved employees’ quality of life.

Economic Benefit

  • Obesity and related chronic disease cost money, impacts health cost to employers and employees.
  • A 2010 medical survey conducted revealed the U.S. spends over $1 trillion a year on medical cost and 86% of the cost is associated with heart disease, stroke, cancer, arthritis, diabetes or obesity.
  • According to CDC U.S spends $225 billion annually on personal and family health problems including indirect cost to absenteeism, poor, health, disability.


All these reasons provide more than enough justification for addressing wellness where people work to improve health. Together we can continue to address obesity and chronic related disease, and get WV off the worst health list by using proven workplace strategies!


West Virginias Worksites Rocking at Wellness

There are many WV organizations who are partnering to improve workplace wellness–including Try This Mini-Grant Recipients.

NRG (Sounds like energy) Nutrition Resources and Goodies

  • KISRA increased CDC Worksite Health Score Card.
  • Staff that said they enjoyed the AHA Mobile Kitchen Cooking Classes and showed excitement after cooking delicious healthy meals with less sodium & learning how to monitor BP. The cooking class was featured in local news.
  • 30% said they appreciated for the Lunch & Learn topics (i.e. Walking Groups, Know Your Numbers & Portion Control) and information provided that gave them knowledge on wellness.
  • KISRA developed and shared healthy meeting food and beverage pledge
  • 70% of employees participated in the NRG workplace program.
  • 50% of employees participated in Check.Change.Control.
  • 60% of employees participated in campaign log (includes numbers of steps).
  • 50% of employees participated in the health fair.
  • Developed a workplace wellness “how to guide” based on best practices and lessons learned that employers can use to improve employee health.

Active Southern WV Workplace Wellness Physical Activity Project (Fayette, Raleigh, Nicholas, Summers)

  • Adopted CDC’s assess, plan, implement, and evaluate workplace framework and physical activity strategy.
  • Convened key physical activity stakeholders.
  • Developed physical activity survey and 21 Free motivational physical activity posters which are free to download online for display in key settings to promote physical activity where individuals eat, live, work, play, and pray.
  • Developed an online “how-to” physical activity social media toolkit and informational presentation at Try This Conference 2018.

Click on the image to download even more posters to display at your workplace!


How you can create and do workplace wellness on a shoestring budget?

Additionally, there are many worksites both big and small, who are eager to start and or expand their existing program! Your organization isn’t alone.


The Division of Health Promotion and Chronic Disease well@work WV Healthy Worksite Initiative has outlined simple proven method steps to help you get started. The divisions utilizes the CDC Workplace Health Model and CDC Workplace Resource Center, additional resources for implementing effective workplace wellness strategies.


Here’s how you can do it too in five easy steps:

  1. Review: familiarize yourself with well@work WV resource section and Workplace Health Program Definition and Description.
  2. Assess: Complete and submit organizational assessment–CDC Worksite Health ScoreCard (HSC) paper or online.
  3. Plan: Develop a Health Improvement Plan with at least one SMART objective based on CDC HSC results.
  4. Implement: Use the well@work WV implementation guide to take action and Try This Set A Good Example Contract. If you are not sure where to start, consider physical activity and nutrition strategies.
  5. Evaluate and celebrate:share challenges, opportunities and success. (Repeat steps 2-5 annually)


Feeling good about wellness? Apply for workplace wellness recognition.


What you can do?

Set a good example. At Try This we have implemented some innovative, informative and always fun workplace wellness practices not only for our staff, but also for those who visit.

  • Our cuckoo clock in the office is set to go off every 30 minutes, no matter where you are, what your doing, or who is there, everyone gets up and moves and stretches. This gets the blood circulating, gets your heart rate up, and is always a good time watching everyone run around the office.
  • We have signs up around the office motivating staff to be active and reminders and tips to stay healthy.

  • Post recipes up in lunch/break rooms with examples of healthy food and snack alternatives. Have pot lucks on special occasions or for big meetings where everyone brings a healthy dish and swaps recipes.

  • During cooler months at the office, Try This hosts a Yoga hour for lunch. Let people from the community or other business join in for even more fun. We chose to offer it FREE for staff and charge $5 for anyone in the community to participate.

Weekly Yoga class offered for the Try This Staff and community members.

Want even more information on how to improve workplace wellness? Here are some helpful links:

Also see these related Try This pages:

Have something to add? Write it in “reply” below, with your contact info, in case we have questions.

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An introduction to Try This ™

Posted by on 2:17 pm in Churches, Fighting Chronic Disease, Fitness: Children, Fitness: Community, Funding, Getting Your Message Out, Healthy Eating: Community, Healthy Eating: Schools, Policies & Infrastructure, Seniors, Troops & Volunteers | 17 comments

An introduction to Try This ™


Parkersburg has added bike racks, bike lanes, colored crosswalks, trails and has even established an alternative transportation council to get more pedestrians and bicyclists onto the street. And once a year, when the city closes some streets to cars, local groups get into the act! (photo, courtesy The OPAM)


This Web site is packed with hundred of do-able, practical ideas and great West Virginia examples of things you can do, to turn dreams of a healthier community into reality.


Our mission statement: “to help knock West Virginia off the top of the worst health lists, community by community.”  

Our motto: “It’s up to us!”


There are many parts to the Try This movement:  


This Web site is one! Available 24/7 with hundreds of ideas, “how-to” resources, and great West Virginia models.  A wonderful online way for West Virginians to trade ideas and help each other! Combine that with our facebook page and other social media, and you get a powerful online resource that helps West Virginians help each other.

35. fri fitness econ devel

More than 500 participants attended 30 breakout sessions at the 2016 Try This conference. And 132 presenters donated their services. Register for the 2017 conference through the conference square on this site.

2. An annual conference for local people who want to build healthier communities.  It’s the Web site come to life! The 2016 conference featured 40 “how-to” workshops and 128 presenters and drew more than 550 participants from all over West Virginia!

3. Minigrants for community teams that want to carry out healthy lifestyle projects in their communities.  In our first three years, Try This distributed more than a quarter of a million ($280,000) in minigrants to 153 community teams. Many communities used their minigrant as seed money to get matching funds, donated resources and volunteer time.

Our 2015-16 minigrants averaged $9 in donations, additional grants and volunteer time for every $1 we put into them.

4. Year-round program: Workshops, social media and on-the-ground organizers to help local people plan projects, carry out longterm planning, find resources and get training. In 2015-16, we sponsored six regional meetings and incubated the fledgling WV Healthy Bodies Healthy Spirits network.

5. State-level coalition. Try This is a coalition of partner organizations who recognize that we can get more done together than we can get done apart.  Our aim is to pool resources to help local teams. See below for the list of partners.

6. Incubator.  Try This is a big incubator for big ideas that an only be accomplished through collaboration.



Here is advice about ways to navigate and use this Web site.

Here’s a handy flyer you can use to tell people about the Try This Web site.



Who are the Try This Parters? Try This is a partnership between local people who want to create healthier communities and a coalition of state-level groups who can help them do that.  The state-level partners include:

West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families CoalitionWest Virginia Community Development Hub,   West Virginia Office of Child NutritionWest Virginia Bureau for Public HealthKEYS 4HealthyKidsWest Virginia Association of CountiesWVU Extension ServiceWest Virginia Family Resource Networks,   West Virginia Food and Farm CoalitionWV Farmers Market AssociationOur Children Our Future, Healthy in the HillsWest Virginia National Association of Social WorkersAmerican Friends Service Committee WVWest Virginia Primary Care AssociationWest Virginia Council of Churches,  Step by Step, West Virginia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, West Virginia Healthy Bodies Healthy SpiritsWest Virginians for Affordable Health Care


Who funds Try This?  The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, WV Office of Child Nutrition, WV Bureau of Public Health, Unicare, The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation, The Highmark Foundation, Sisters Health FoundationThe Bernard McDonough Foundation, American Heart Association, WVU Rural Health Initiative, WVU Health Sciences Center, WV Development Office, Flex-E Grant Program, Appalachia Funders Network, plus the Try This conference registration dollars and sponsorship dollars.



Kathy Brunty, Director:   (304) 923-4280

Kayla Hinkley, Deputy Director:    (304) 356-9050

AmeriCorps member: Ashley Starcher

AmeriCorps member: Jennifer DeSimone

AmeriCorps member: DJ Crites

Joshua Sowards, Healthy Bodies Healthy Spirits coordinator:

Stephen Smith, Co-Founder:

Kate Long, Co-Founder



Why are we doing this?      


Hamlin K-8 work day

More than 90 Lincoln County residents and families turned out to help create the walking trail for their Try This minigrant. They leveraged their $3,000 grant into more than $16,000! (photo, Kate Long)

West Virginia tops many awful chronic disease lists … 

but it doesn’t have to stay that way.  


Our children are at risk. In 2012, nearly one in four West Virginia fifth- graders already had high blood pressure, according to West Virginia University measurements of thousands of children. One in five kindergartners were coming to school obese. Almost one in three adults were obese.

All these things put them at high risk of future type 2 diabetes, heart disease and a wide range of other chronic diseases.

We know we can change that.  It’s up to us!





closeup of public h emerg

West Virginia University’s actual measurements of fifth-graders leave no doubt about the seriousness of the state’s childhood obesity epidemic. (pdf courtesy The Charleston Gazette)

This is about economic development too:


The cost of treating these diseases is busting our state, local and family budgets.  A recent legislative report said seven out of 10 of our health care dollars are spent treating preventable diseases. Let’s prevent them!

As we build healthier communities, we make them more attractive to businesses and people who might like to locate there.

For more information: See the Try This fitness = economic development page and the healthy food = economic development page.






Two things will lower our chronic disease rate, doctors say: daily physical activity and healthier diet.  Click on the blue letters for a list of research studies on the impact of physical activity and healthier diet.


Saturday conference (65 of 74)

Forty-two community teams planned healthy lifestyle projects at the conference and received Try This minigrants to carry out their projects.

This Web site is stuffed with practical, affordable ways to make it easier for people in your community to move more and eat healthy food.

People are not born knowing how to build high-tunnel greenhouses or create running clubs or school-based health centers.  To help you, we’ve assembled high-quality “how-to” resources from around the country and world. 

Every picture on this site is taken in West Virginia. We made sure that each activity we recommend is already working in West Virginia. That makes it harder to say, “Well, maybe it worked someplace else, but it won’t work here!”


feature checklist photo

See the “Try This Checklist square” for a handy way to use the Web site to create a longterm healthy lifestyle plan.

The Try This checklist : make a long-range plan!

The checklist gives you a handy way to make a long-range healthy lifestyle plan for your community.  It helps you prioritize projects in an efficient way.  


Take a look!  Tell other people about it. Bring interested people together and use it!   



Media reports:


Media reports  on minigrants




Other frequently-asked questions:


diabetes income

People from a family that earns less than $15,000 are 3X more likely to get type 2 diabetes than are people from families that earn $55,000 or more. Communities can help level the playing field by giving all people opportunities to be physically active and eat a non-processed diet

What is the Try This philosophy?  The Try This site is evidence-based, grounded in the socio-ecological model of health promotion. We believe that people can make healthy changes in their lifestyles more easily if healthy choices are available in their community.   For a good discussion of that model, see “Translating Social Economic Theory into Guidelines for Community Health Promotion.”

Try This supplies how-to information for people who want to create those choices. Local and state government can adopt policies that promote those choices.

The Try This site also supplies how-to information on a wide variety of such policies.  See “How local officials can help” in the site index.

Statistically, low-income and minority people have poorer health than higher-income and white people do. The Try This Web site is another tool for people who hope to overcome that disadvantage by creating community programs that make it easier for people to move more and eat healthier food.


How did we choose the community activities that appear on the Web site? These activities are promoted by the Centers for Disease Control and other groups that study “what works.” All these activities have been shown to increase physical activity and/or availability of healthy food. All are happening now in West Virginia. Each page includes West Virginia examples.


How was the Web site created?  Kate Long created The Try This site for the children and families of her home state.

The site was funded by grants from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and KEYS 4HealthyKids. It is based with the West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition and overseen by the Try This steering committee.

Charleston Newspapers has donated Web hosting.

Adam Flack supplied the technical expertise that brought the site together. Kim Coram helped research physical activities. Hundreds of people supplied information and insight. The site is built on Origins, an adapted WordPress template.  

 Copyright notice: Try This and Try This West Virginia (c) 2015 and Tradmark 2017





Fitness activity = Economic development.

Posted by on 1:15 pm in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Fitness activity = Economic development.

The Public Health Institute captured the case for fitness = economic development in this poster. Click to enlarge it. Used with permission.

In 2013, after Summersville started featuring fitness and outdoor adventure in its advertising, traffic on the city’s Web site went up 40 percent, according to Summersville Convention and Economic Development director Marianne Taylor.


Every year, Parkersburg closes its streets and turns them into a big park with healthy activities, bringing hundreds of people downtown to patronize the businesses. It was such a success, they now do it once a month, holding a party at a different business every month,giving them a financial boost. (Photo courtesy The OPAM)

Businesses and families want to locate in communities that value fitness, research shows. West Virginia now has the lowest “wellbeing” measure of any state on Gallup’s annual index. It doesn’t have to stay that waay

Colorado cites its healthy workforce and fitness offerings, in attempts to convince businesses from other places to relocate, as this National Public Radio story shows.  The title of the piece is “Businesses seek out areas with culture of health.”

The resources on this page can help you convince others that it is in your community’s economic development interest to make it easier for residents to adopt healthier lifestyles.

Scroll down. Scan through the resources and research.  Get a sense of possibilities. We don’t have to stay on the bottom.


Use these great resources!


Mountain biking now brings thousands of people and more thousands of dollars to West Virginia. Here, mountain bikers line up for the start of the Mountwood race, one of more than 25 major West Virginia races.

Mountain biking now brings thousands of people and more thousands of dollars to West Virginia. Here, mountain bikers line up for the start of the Mountwood race, one of more than 25 major West Virginia races. (Photo courtesy The OPAM)

  • Healthy Communities/Healthy Future. Ideas for ways to create a healthy environment with safe places to walk, bike and play. A project of the National League of Cities.
  • Smart Growth Online: “Supporting the development of vibrant, healthy communities.”  This site is packed nationwide examples of ways communities can grow in a healthy way.  Lots of funding ideas too.
  • The Center for Active Design   This organization offers several books full of attractive designs for public places that encourage physical activity. See “resources.” The center aims to “reduce obesity and chronic diseases by promoting physical activity and healthy eating through the design of buildings, streets, and neighborhoods.”
  • The Local Government Commission / healthy communities page.  A very helpful Web site for local government.
  •  Trail Towns is a non-profit set up to maximize the economic potential of trail-based tourism. They have some impressive economic impact studies on the trails in Pennsylvania and Maryland.  West Virginia is just getting started.


    West Virginia now has more miles of rail-trail per person than any other state. “The trails around Summersville are so popular, we’ve made a map to hand out to people,” said Marianne Taylor, Summersville Convention and Visitors Bureau director.

  • The National League of Cities: Useful Webinars and examples from other cities.
  • “The Economic Benefits of Bicycle Infrastructure Investments,” by Advocacy Advance. A good summary and discussion by the AARP can be found, with a link to the actual report, at
  • Advocacy Advance research and resources are at
  • The 2016 Benchmarking report from the Alliance for Biking and Walking includes: bicycling and walking levels and demographics; bicycle and pedestrian safety; funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects; written policies on bicycling and walking; bicycle infrastructure; bike-transit integration; bicycling and walking education and
    encouragement activities; public health indicators; and the economic impact of bicycling and walking.
  • Bike to Work: Benefits to employees are matched by benefits to businesses. Employers can get tax breaks for encouraging biking to work:
  • Advertise your events:  I Play Outside is an examples of bulletin boards. Or advertise through your county Parks and Rec site. Here’s a good example:
  • Eat Smart, Move More. North Carolina used to reward communities with small grants. That successful program that fell victim to budget cutbacks.  It was succeeded by the excellent Eat Smart, Move More NC program that offers great how-to tips, but no grants.
  • Fit communities attract business and young people: “The Rust Belt,” a well-produced video about Cleveland, provides many ideas about ways biking, walking and hiking can help rejuvenate a city and attract young people.
  • Healthy local food = economic development: See “Healthy local food as an economic development tool” page.
  • See the Farm to School page.  West Virginia schools spend more than $80 million every year on school meals. If a tenth of that could come from West Virginia, that would be $8 million.
  • West Virginia’s Road Map for the Food Economy: WV Farm and Food Coalition.
  • And things like beekeeping … Remember that, throughout our history, many people patched a living together, making $$ here and $$ there. We need to keep in mind that sometimes, all people need is another source of income that lets them stay in the place they love.



  • Here’s some solid research to bolster your case:



“All the businesses along the streets closed for Park Day reported that they had had one of the year’s biggest sales days,” said Kim Coram, event organizer and Parkersburg City Council member. Click to enlarge.

  • The potential savings of fitness are enormous. In 2010, Duke paired its “cost of obesity” study with a study that estimates the potential savings of fitness. Major findings:
    • Unless changes are made, there are likely to be 32 million additional obese Americans 20 years from now, a 33 percent increase in obesity and 130 percent increase in severe obesity.
    • Keeping obesity rates level could save nearly $550 billion in medical expenditures over the next two decades. See  “Obesity and Severe Obesity Forecasts through 2030,” the Journal of Preventative Medicine, Finkelstein et al., June 2011.
  • Corporate wellness programs pay off:  “A review of 72 studies published in the American Journal of Health Promotion showed an average return on investment of $3.48 per $1 for corporate wellness programs when considering health care costs alone; $5.82 when examining absenteeism; and $4.30 when both outcomes are considered.”
  • More evidence of the high medical cost of obesity from a 2011 Gallup poll:
  • West Virginia study: “Couch potatoes cost millions.”


    Jefferson County’s annual Freedom’s Run nets about $15,000 each year, which the organizers donate to the schools to pay for fitness trails and other healthy lifestyle projects. Photo courtesy The Martinsburg Journal

  • Potential savings of fitness: “In the 10 cities with the highest obesity rates, the direct costs connected with obesity and obesity-related diseases are roughly $50 million per 100,000 residents. If these 10 cities cut their obesity rates down to the national average, the combined savings to their communities would be $500 million in health care costs each year.”  From the National League of Cities Healthy Communities/Healthy Future project
  • Blueprint Mississippi Health Care: An economic driver. For those who would like to see an example of a  state-level study: Here’s the 2012 Mississippi state study examining the economic impact of people’s health on the economy.
  • Pedestrians and bicyclists tend to spend more money. A study by Advocacy Advance showed that bicyclists and pedestrians spend more money per mile than people in vehicles, perhaps because they can stop more easily to shop.
  • The American College of Sports Medicine produces a yearly “American Fitness Index.: The 2017 report again named Minneapolis-St. Paul as the healthiest, fittest cities in the USA for the third year. “What Minneapolis has done brilliantly is put their resources where residents can use them effectively to maintain a high level of physical activity,” Walt Thompson, professor of exercise physiology at Georgia State University, told USA Today. “The city spends double the amount of money on parks per capita ($227 a person) as some other cities.”

    BIG PHOTO. Huntington Fitfest

    In the wake of Jamie Oliver, Huntington is turning into a fitness-conscious town: the PATH fitness trail through town, biking and running groups, Create Huntington, high-quality school food, Huntington’s Kitchen and a variety of Fitness events and festivals like Huntington FitFest, pictured here. Photo courtesy the Huntington Herald-Dispatch

  • Physical activity improves productivity. The Lancaster University Study: Multi-business Study of the  Effect of Low Impact Physical Activity on Employee Health and Wellbeing– 2011 has a wealth of information on the impact of physical activity on employee productivity.  See writeup below the picture.








Also see these Try This pages: Healthy food = economic development tool, create a food distribution system, Farm to School, Encourage road biking, Create a running/walking group



Have something to add? Write it in “reply” below, with your contact info, in case we have questions.

A list of everything on this site

Posted by on 1:10 pm in Churches, Fighting Chronic Disease, Fitness: Children, Fitness: Community, Funding, Getting Your Message Out, Healthy Eating: Community, Uncategorized | 13 comments

A list of everything on this site

A healthy community is created like a jigsaw puzzle, one piece at a time. Plan your pieces!

Scroll down and find a one-stop-shopping list of every activity on the site, a menu to choose from. Each link takes you to a page full of resources.

Suggestion: Work your way through the site, a few pages at a time. By the time you finish, you’ll know about a wide range of possibilities and know what other West Virginia communities are doing.



Make the economic development case for fitness / healthy food activities:

2. economic development

Funding:  $$: How to increase your grant success + grant sources

Make it easy for people to be physically active:

4. running and walking
5. build trails
7. water sports
8. get kids active after school2
9. others things communities do

Other important pages coming soon:

John and Regina Elzy
  • Troops and volunteers
  • Churches
  • Seniors
  • Get school wellness councils going
  • Create healthy child care centers

regional gatherings


2018 Try This conference schedule

Posted by on 2:58 pm in Uncategorized | 1 comment

2018 Try This conference schedule
Web 2016 conf (6 of 8)

Artist Erica Bota drew while people were talking during the opening session of the 2016 Try This connference, and she captured the spirit of the whole session!

Thursday, June 14:

Come early! Relax and be fresh for the conference!

Enjoy special activities, exhibits, Dale Hawkins Dinner and Physical Activities on The Green!!


3. Dale H dinner

Thursday night is a great time to kick back and relax, catch up with old friends and meet new ones!

5 – 7 pm  Chef Dale Hawkins’ tour of his FishHawk Acres organic farm, followed by a gourmet farm dinner. A private event, piggybacking on the conference. Experience a West Virginia local foods legend! $37.50 per person. Must make a reservation (use link above). Limited to 100 people.

4 pm: Conference registration and room check-in starts. Closes at 9 pm. Please try to get there before 9 pm, but if you have to be late, please contact the conference assistant on duty at 304-613-9316. They will get you checked into your room.

7:00 – 9:00 pm: Try This Exhibits open. Wesleyan dining hall. A great chance for one-on-one conversations with exhibitors. List of exhibitors here.

7:00 pm: Networking fun.Wesleyan dining hall. Fun networking exercises to help you meet and trade ideas with strangers.

All evening: Relax and play games on the green. Hula hoops, Frisbees, etc. – and the gaga pit!

Dining Hall will NOT be open for Thursday evening.


Friday, June 15:

The fun officially begins!


7:00 – 8:30 Physical activity! Couch to 5K running workshop + run. Yoga, tai chi on the green in front of the chapel.  Meditation / mindfulness session: go in door at back of the Chapel building.  The Gym/ Wellness Center will be open (Jenkins Building)

7:30 – 9:00   Breakfast and exhibits in the dining hall.

Web 2016 conf (2 of 9)

At Try This, you get right down to having fun!

8:00 – 9:15   Register at Performing Arts Center Coffee,  greet friends, network and enjoy a healthy treat!

9:15 –  11:30: Opening Session!

Getting inspired, getting ideas. Talking with strangers! Spotlighting West Virginia success stories >  The movement is growing fast!

11:30 – 1:00 Lunch: network! More talk with strangers! Network! No speeches! An extra half-hour this year so you can check out exhibits.

1:-00– 2:15 Breakout sessions # 1 : 10 great sessions by inspiring West Virginians, sharing what they know


2:30 – 2:50: Break time: more trading ideas

2:45 – 4:00  Breakout sessions #2 : 10 more great sessions

4:30 – 5:30 Whole-group session: Turning a little pile of $$ into a bigger pile! Hear from champion leveragers! These people know how to start with a little and end up with a lot! We’ll come out of this session with a big list of ideas!

5:45 – 7:00   Dinner.

6:30 – 7:30 Exhibitors at their exhibits

Web 2016 conf (1 of 9)

We don’t just talk about getting active!

6:45 – 8:45 Fun activities on the green: Games and demos: Join in! Enjoyable, low-cost activities you can copy for your community!  Bouchee Ball and Slackline! Tai chi and yoga! Ultimate frisbee and Disc golf! Check out Barboursville’s Wheelie Healthy-Food wagon! Get a profile of your area from the WV FOODLINK  folks.

Evening: Your time: Enjoy downtown Buckhannon, hang out with friends, old or new, or take the opportunity to turn in early! Up to you!






Web 2016 conf (1 of 8)

Friday evening, the Wesleyan Green is full of great stuff to do!

Saturday, June 16:

More friends to make, 20 more workshops to choose from!


7:30 – 8:30 Couch to 5K/beginner running workshop, meets by the fountain.

Yoga meet on the green in front of the chapel.

Tai Chi meet on green in front of dorms.

Meditation and Mindfulness in the small chapel: Go in door at back of the chapel.

Walk with Ease demonstration (Arthritis Foundation): at the fountain.

Gym/ Wellness center will be open. (Jenkins building)


7:30 – 8:45 Breakfast in dining hall, exhibits.  Want to network around a particular interest? Let us know you’d like to have an interest table! So far, biking as transportation and Running Resource Network!

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Our presenters know what they’re talking about because they’ talk about what they do!

9:00 –  10:00 Group session:  Healthy Communities = Economic Development:  

10:15 – 11-:30 Breakout sessions # 3: Yet another 10 great breakout sessions! See the descriptions here.

11:45 – 1:00 Breakout session # 4: Can you believe it? Another great 10!

1:15 – 2:15 Lunch: Want to network around a particular issue?  You can join – or organize – an interest table!

2:15 – 3:30 Teams work on mini-grants! A great chance for local teams to get a good start and consult with state-level people who can tell you about resources, etc.

Checkout by 4:30. Keys in.


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It’s a great place for your team to compare notes and ideas if you want to apply for a mini-grants.



18. one on one.Chuck Talbott

At the conference, you can sit down and get advice on your projects from all the conference experts. Come pick their brains about your project! They’re there to help! Here’s Chuck Talbott, Extension Agent, Putnam County, who can advise you well on most any aspect of gardening, community gardening, hightunnel programs for kids, livestock raising, etc. etc. etc.

2018 Conference Breakout Sessions

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2018 Conference Breakout Sessions
This one for br eakouts (1 of 1)

Some of the most popular presenters are under 18.


Try This …. and this … and this … and this …

A wonderful smorgasbord of affordable, do-able ideas are waiting for you in Buckhannon, June 15-16, 2018 ! More than 130 of your fellow West Virginians are volunteering their time to pack your head with healthy-community ideas! West Virginians trading ideas! Community by community, we’re creating a healthier state


2b testing. gaga pit

At the conference, we practice what we preach! Lots of fun between and after sessions!



Full schedule here. Two days of inspiration and fun.

Register here.

Wondering how to apply for a minigrant? Look here.

Come Thursday to relax and take in extra events: farm dinner, community conversation workshop, bike ride, exhibits … see the schedule for more details.






Friday, June 15, First breakout session: 1:00 – 2:15


Community organizing and policy improvement: How can you inspire people to work together? How can you help them plan and strategize for the long haul? How can you organize around an issue? Two excellent organizers help you make a roadmap.  Stephen Smith, Executive Director, WV Healthy Kids and Families Coalition;  Kent Spellman, Retired Executive Director, WV Community Development Hub / HYMA

Grant writing for beginners:  If you feel intimidated by writing grants, this is the session for you. This session is for those who have never written a grant, not those who have written 3+ grants.  Kim Tieman, Project Officer,Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and Jessica Wright, Director, WV Bureau for Public Health/PAC – Greek Alumni Room

A Wellness Council for your community?  Barboursville is beating the heck out of towns 10X bigger, when it comes to fitness and health.  Morgantown has a new six-person Wellness Council. Your town could do some version of this!    Jenny Anderson, Families Leading Change;   Megan Paul & Jillian Freeman, Barboursville Wellness Council; Christine Wallace & Ryan Wallace, Morgantown councilman and Wellness Council/ Reemsnyder 339

Adaptive exercise:  gardening to chair yoga.  Let’s find ways to make it easier for disabled and elderly people to be physically active. Come to this session and leave with some new creative ideas:  Kerry Gabbert, chair yoga, WVU Ext.; Cathy Schrader, Walk with Ease (Arthritis Assn),  Lesley Cottrell, WVU Ext. overview of adaptive exercise and Adam Flack /Christopher Hall 217

Community conversations: How to keep it going in your town: In Buckhannon and Grafton, people meet weekly for an anybody-welcome conversation about ways to make the town healthier and more prosperous. This is a how-to session. How to do it, how to keep it going. CJ Rylands, Create Buckhannon Susan Aloi, What’s Next Buckhannon, and Tom Hart, All Aboard Grafton/ Reemsnyder 338

Runners / Walkers Resource Network: jumpstart your running/walking program. Running and walking are great ways to fight depression, obesity, and drug abuse and just about whatever ails you. It brings people together in a healthy way. How can you make it happen? Alexis Batausa, Mingo County Healthy in the Hills; DJ Crites,  Try This WV; Charles Day, Prevention Resource Officer, Buchanon-Upshur Middle School;  Kevin Brackens, Bros and Bras;  Laurie Abildso, Girls on the Run; Luke Pietrowski, We Run Morgantown./Christopher Hall 408

Healthy Bodies Healthy Spirits. Churches taking a lead role in creating healthy opportunities. WV Healthy Bodies Healthy Spirits helps churches and other faith institutions develop wellness committees, devoted to making it easier for church members to take care of the bodies God gave us. Come find out about it. Josh Sowards, Healthy Bodies Healthy Spirits; Angel Smothers, WVU; Matt Young, Genesis Running / PAC Auditorium

Cooking-healthy-on-a-shoestring budget. Teach people how! Healthy, homemade food can actually be cheaper than processed food if you know how to prepare it. Each presenter offers tips and resources from  a different angle. Brainstorm ways to make it work in your community.  Kristin McCartney, WVU Ext; Tia Lasporgra, The Shack; Maddie Humeric,WVU; Kate Marshall, Grow Ohio Valley; Molly Poffenbarger, WVU; Jeannie Harrison, Exe. Director, Grow Huntington/ Multipurpose Room -Wellness Center

Yoga and mindfulness: affordable and good for all ages.  A statewide network of yoga and tai chi teachers is building. Many schools, prisons, drug recovery programs, veterans and senior centers are using yoga and tai  and other mindfulness practices to build self-control and concentration.  How can you make it widely available in your community?  Amy Snodgrass and Jo Anne McNemar, Mindful WV Classrooms;  Krystal McConiha and Mary Davis, Ruffner Elementary;  Sue Julian and Barbara Steineke, Laotung Yoga; Rick Wilson, tai chi / Christopher Hall 216

The Outdoors as Medicine. Literally! A pile of medical evidence says walking in the woods, surrounded by trees and vegetation, is good for your heart and body. Some call it “nature prescription.” In Japan, they call it  “forest bathing,”  West Virginia is a big forest bath! How can we take advantage of that? Aila Accad, WV Future of Nursing; Josh Donohew, WV Hub/ Christopher Hall 414


closeup organizing session





Friday, June 15, Second breakout session: 2:45 – 4:00


Healthy startup businesses: Promote health and make $$  A good bike store, running store or healthy-food store can make a big difference in your lives.! So can wellness and yoga. Brainstorm ways you can promote healthy businesses in your town. Colleen Harshbarger, Wellbeing Solutions;  Traci Phillips, Fun Fitness Kids Club;  Kevin Brackens, Bros and Bras & Jefferson Activities Group/Christopher Hall 414

**Kids learning math, science and entrepreneurship through gardening.  This one-stop workshop is packed with lots of practical ways to teach children all kinds of subjects through gardening … in high tunnels, in pop-up farmers markets, in class.  Jessica Pollitt, WVU Ext;  Chuck Talbott  and Doug Penn, Putnam Co. WVU Extension and Garden Based Learning; Meghan Salter, Martha Elem; Jenny Totten, WVHub  STARS Credits / PAC Auditorium

Weave more physical activity into school and youth programs: Use bursts of physical activity to keep kids energized and involved. Decrease discipline problems, increase chances of academic success, lower risk of chronic disease and drug abuse. An idea-and-fun-packed session! Come ready to move!  Brandon Williams, Action for Healthy Kids; Josh Grant, Department of Education; Andrea Clendenin, Sherman Elementary; Jenny Anderson, Families Leading Change/Reemsnyder 338

Stress relief without meds: No-cost ways to lower your blood pressure. Stress is a leading cause of depression, chronic disease, drug relapse, etc.  How can you increase opportunities for stress reduction and mindfulness in your community? How do you lower the stress of a community?  Aila Accad, The Future of Nursing; Ron Wilkerson, tai chi master;  Pam Salter, WVUP, Wellness;  Maria Arnot, Williamson Health and Wellness; Lori Tofate, Restorative Yoga/ Multipurpose Room (Wellness Center)

Community gardening  All over the state, people are finding creative ways to use a community garden. You’ll hear about joint gardening with the schools, growing food for soup kitchens, teaching kids to garden, and plain old gardens. Packed with ideas, resources and advice!  Norm Schwertfeger, Extension (Brooke); Dural Miller, Keep Your Faith (Kanawha); Ashley Reese, Conscious Harvest (Monongalia); Tracey Keaton, Arnoldsburg Elementary (Calhoun)/ PAC -Greek Auditorium

Healthy meetings, lunchrooms and concessions: Alternatives to heart attack food: Ideas for tasty, affordable food kids and grownups will love that won’t raise their diabetes risk! Sample some!  Kerry Gabbert, WVU Extension; Jillian Freeman and Olivia Turman, Wheelie Cart;  Kristen McCartney and Emily Murphy, WVU/ Reemsnyder 339

Build trails and get people on them!  We’re building and connecting miles of trails to encourage biking, paddling, hiking, walking, and running. Trails bring in $$ to the local economy if they’re well-managed. How can we fund them and draw people to them? These people have answers! Joshua Donohew, WV Hub; Diana Druga, Harrison  Rail Trails; Kent Spellman, WVHub; Mark Scoular, Transportation Alternatives / Christopher 217

Healthy Community  = Economic Development  Four of our best healthy-community thinkers have a conversation about ways we can show that the healthy-community movement can also spell economic development. Fritz Boettner, Sprouting Farms; Paul Mock, Mock’s Greenhouse and Farm, Ruston Seaton, New Visions; Gabe Pena, Fayette County Development / Christopher Hall 216

Run for local office! Have you wished you had the power to make things happen that create a healthier community? Hear from people who ran (and got elected) to put themselves in a better position to do that. Find out how you can do it too. Stephen Smith, Executive Director, WV Healthy Kids and Families Coalition; CJ Rylands, Create Buchannon; Gabe Roush, Founder Point Pleasant Trail Committee; Lissa Lucas, farmer and candidate for House District 7; Rebecca Campbell, Pocahontas Board of Ed/ HYMA

ACES. Adverse Childhood Experiences. Solid research tells us that childhood trauma can be an underlying cause of obesity, drug abuse, workplace problems and many other life-damaging problems. Find out more about ACES and how your healthy-community program can help children or adults with ACES.  Michael Brumage, MD, WVU School of Public Health; Christine Wallace, Morgantown, Eric Murphy, iFather/ Christopher Hall 408


Hour-long whole-conference session at PAC, Saturday morning:

Tools for drug prevention and recovery.   Dr Michael Brumage, MD, MPH, FACP Asst Dean for Public Health Practice & WVU School of Public Health;  Alfgeir Kristiaanssen, Professor, WVU Assistant Professor Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences School of Public Health;  Steve Miller, Mayor of Huntington

Saturday, June 16, First Breakout Session: 10:00 – 11:15


**Natural playgrounds and outdoor classrooms that don’t bust your budget. Create a natural playground from natural materials: hills, tunnels, logs, bamboo. It costs less. Kids love it.  Leave this session with affordable ideas. A landscape designer and others will give you ideas worth copying. Laura Dice, KEYS 4HealthyKids,  David Hill,, natural playground designer; Tracey Valach, WVU Extension; Emma Huvos, Riverside Nature School    STARS Credits/ Christopher Hall 217

Create a Workplace Wellness program on a shoestring.  Maybe you don’t have the money for a full-scale workplace wellness program within your business (gym, etc.), but there’s still plenty you can do to help people get moving and eating a healthier diet! And there are resources from the CDC that will help you do it!  Dasheema Jarrett, Bureau of Public Health;  Melanie Seiler, Active So. WV;  LaTausha Taylor, KISRA; Dana DeJarnette, WVU Healthcare; Colleen Harshbarger, Well Being Solutions/ Multipurpose Room (Wellness Center)

Bring back home gardening in your community? Until the 1970, more than 70% of West Virginians gardened. Let’s go back in time. Help people save money and eat better? Help kids fall in love with vegetables? Get ideas for how you can spread gardening in your community.  Michael Tierney,Grow Appalachia; Norm Schwertfeger,WVU Extension;Tracy Keaton,, school-community gardening; Emily Murphy / Kristin McCartney,Grow This! WV/ Reemsnyder 339

How can we help people avoid, control or reverse Type 2 diabetes and other awful chronic diseases?  How can people in your community get information they need? Hear about some first-rate programs and find out about effective ways to get them going in your community! Josh Sowards, Healthy Bodies, Healthy Spirits; Susie Sims, RN Quality Insights; Laura Welch, Everyone with Diabetes Counts;  Trish Barbarito, RN, Potomac Valley Hospital / Christopher Hall 217

Hydroponics and microgreens: A money-maker, a great school/after school project.  Wheeling is planning a big factory. Roane County has a great after school microgreens program. McDowell County is teaching hydroponics at the food bank. What might you do? Ken Peralta and Laurie Ruberg,  Grow Ohio Valley;  Zack Zdanek, PATCH/ Christopher Hall 216

A community biking program! Wheeling and Point Pleasant organized bike clubs after Try This meetings. You can attract a bike store! You can make it easier for people to bike to work and around town! Hear from West Virginians who are making it happen and can help you figure out how to make it happen in your town!  Dennis Strawn, Connecting Communities; Jim Adams, Bike Wheeling, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Positive Spin / Reemsnyder 338

Change a law! Change a rule or policy! How?  How can you affect policy at the local or state level? Real WV examples and really skilled organizers help you figure out how to design a campaign for your issue.  Spencer Moss, WV Food and Farm Coalition:  Rick Wilson, Director, American Friends Service Committee WV: Jenny Anderson, Director,Families Leading Change; Jim Cook, Former Oceana Town Council and Recorder/HYMA

Feeding people who need food. There are many reasons to grow food, and one is: Help your neighbor in times of need!  If that rings true for you, come to this session. You’ll get ideas from some of WV’s most effective programs and leave inspired. Bradley Wilson, WVFoodlink; Cheryl Laws, Cafe Appalachia; Ashley Reece, Conscious Harvest; Tia Lasporga, The Shack; Ruston Seaton, New Visions/ Christopher Hall 408

Raise $$ locally: Getting a grant is great, but if you want long-term success, it’s equally (maybe more) important to involve the community in raising $$ so they feel buy-in.  The first thing funders look for: What have you done for yourself? What kind of community support do you have? Terry White, Linwood Alive; Tiffany Tatum, Village of Barboursville; Maria Bray, Buckhannon Dog Park; Elizabeth Shahan, Monticello neighborhood /PAC -Auditorium

Community recreation kids love: Another way to fight “There’s nothing to do, so let’s do drugs”: Whether it’s through parks and rec or churches or schools or a combination, we need more healthy activities for kids to get into. Come get ideas for your community! Megan Paul, Barboursville Parks and Rec, Tina Acord, Wyoming Co, SADD,  Christine Wallace, Morgantown Wellness, Jean Srodes, Pocahontas County/ PAC -Greek Alumni Room

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Saturday, June 16, Second Breakout Session: 11:45 – 1:00


Start a paddling program in your county! Get people out on the water. Got a river or lake? Get a paddling program or business started at your school or community. These people are doing it, and they’ll tell you how you can too! Kevin Fooce (Mason County), Holly Purpura (Monongalia County),  Bryan Smith (Taylor County), Jean Srodes (Pocahontas County), Sara Cottingham, Downstream Strategies /Christopher 217

What to do to get public officials on board with your projects. If public officials understand and support our projects, our projects go better. So what are effective ways we can get them on board?  Jonathan Adler, WV Assoc of Counties;  Chris Tatum, Barboursville Mayor; Matthew Wender, Fayette County Commission; Bugs Stover, Wyoming County Clerk;  Ron Stollings, MD, Boone County Senator/ Christopher Hall 414

Get your message out in all kinds of ways!  How can you successfully get your message out and draw people to your projects? This presentation will stir up creative ideas about ways to use social media and paid media and other means to publicize and build your project.  Doug Imbrogno, multimedia producer; Ashley Starcher, Try This Social Media Americorps/ReemsSnyder 338

**If kids grow it, they’ll eat it, Part 2 – in the garden!  This hands-on kids’ gardening session takes place in the beautiful Buckhannon community garden, behind the Performance Hall (see map in program). Learn activities you can take home! Ask a volunteer for directions.  Jessica Pollitt, WVU Extension; Chuck Talbott, WVU Extension; Buck Edwards, Create Buchanon; Kate Marshall, Grow Ohio Valley  STARS CREDIT/ Community Garden

Raise a lot on a little bit of land:  An in-depth session with gardening guru Bob Gregory who attracts international visitors to his small Calhoun County farm for workshops.  He’s helping the local elementary school raise a generation of gardeners. Tracey Keaton, Arnoldsburg Elem; Bob Gregory, Berea Gardens/ Reemsnyder 339

Do-It-Yourself healthy-community group.  No need to wait for an agency or somebody else to organize it for you! Hear from people who have created great community physical activity groups with very little cost. How can you make it happen in your community? Who can you partner with?  Kevin Bracken, Bros and Bras (Jefferson), Adam Flack, Volleyball on Magic Island and Other (Kanawha), Gabe Rousch, Point Pleasant bicyclers (Mason), Luke Pietrowski, We Run! Morgantown (Monongalia)/Christopher Hall 408

Prescribing Prevention: Getting healthcare professionals involved with your community projects. Doctors, nurses and dieticians can add so much to our community teams! Hear about creative ways healthcare professionals can get involved in prevention. Get ideas for your community!? Emma Eggleston-Morton, MD, WVU East Med School; Jill Fields ,Cabin Creek  Health Systems; Dino Beckett, Director, Williamson Wellness Center; Ryan McCarthy. MD, WVU East Med School/Christopher 216

Afterschool programs: A great answer to “There’s nothing to do, so let’s do drugs”  Two of the best afterschool programs in the state team up to present a smorgasbord of healthy afterschool ideas that make kids want to be there: from cooking and running to microgreens.  Dave McCutcheon, and Zack Zdebak, PATCH 21 afterschool; Michael Farmer, Charleston Family Resource Center: Jean Srodes, Pocahontas County Schools/ Multipurpose Room (Wellness Center)

We are Young and We Want a Healthier State!  West Virginia youth and their sponsors will inspire and move you. They’re providing a healthy alternative to drugs and learning to be creative, capable adults who know how to stay healthy and have fun.  Jennifer Wells?  Kathryn Baker and Tyler Hendricks, Jenny’s Barboursville kids, Jenny Totten/Garden Girls, Tina Acord, Wyoming SADD; Laura Dice, KEYS / HYMA

After Lunch, Saturday: Kim and Jessica

Special session, required for mini-grant applicants: Write grant applications that get funded….Are you writing a grant for the first or second time? Maximize your chances for success! You’ll learn how to frame your proposal / identify partners and mission, write SMART goals, and more! Required for mini-grant applicants, but all are welcome.  Stephen Smith, WV Healthy Kids and Families Coalition; Kim Tieman, Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and Jessica Wright, Bureau of Public Health/ Room To Be Announcec


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