Walking and Talking with Leaders Residents of Winter Park, Maitland and Eatonville Walk Together for Health, Fun, and Community Connection
Eatonville Mayor Bruce Mount Walks the Talk
Join us to Walk the Talk
With obesity on the rise and neighbors often not knowing each other’s names, Healthy Central Florida is working on both challenges with one solution – walking and talking with neighbors and elected leaders.
“Since 70% of the chronic diseases that kill most Americans are preventable, we decided to encourage people to start walking – the activity that research shows can make the biggest difference in child and adult health,” said Jill Hamilton Buss, executive director of Healthy Central Florida.
The walks in Winter Park and Maitland were inspired in part by Eatonville Mayor, Bruce Mount, and his twice weekly “Walk and Talk with the Mayor”. For nearly two years, residents of Eatonville have come together for a 30-minute walk, using a variety of routes through the community. The walk, which is usually attended by 20 – 30 participants, is followed by a light breakfast and friendly conversation about town issues lead by the mayor.
See below for information about each of the local walks.
Winter Park Walks
Winter Park Community Center – Wednesdays 7:00 a.m. – 721 West New England Avenue – FREE
Winter Park Walks at the Winter ParkChamber of Commerce- Thursday 8:00 a.m. and Fridays 10:00 a.m. - 151 West Lyman Avenue – FREE
Maitland Public Library – Thursdays 6:30 a.m. – joined periodically by city council members – Enjoy a light breakfast and coffee - 501 South Maitland Avenue – FREE
Hungerford Prep Cafeteria – Monday & Wednesdays 7:00 a.m. – Walk and Talk with the Mayor – 100 E. Kennedy Blvd – FREE
The walks are sponsored and co-promoted by Healthy Central Florida (HCF), a community-based partnership launched by the Winter Park Health Foundation and Florida Hospital to help transform our community into the healthiest in the nation, beginning in Eatonville, Maitland and Winter Park.
Not every mayor starts his morning asking his constituents "Did everybody weigh in?" But Eatonville Mayor Bruce Mount does, twice a week, as part of a regular walking program begun last summer as a "Walk and Talk with the Mayor."
Anywhere from 20 - 30 residents meet Monday and Wednesday mornings at 7:00 am and begin with a prayer and then take a 30 minute walk, teasing each other about college football rivalries, and joking along the way. At the front of the pack, the Mayor and other faster walkers lead the group, who range in age from 93 to early 20's. The route often takes them down tree-lined Kennedy Boulevard, and then winds past homes, schools and community centers. The point is to promote regular exercise in the city and to promote fellowship and understanding of community issues.
After the walk, residents gather for a healthy breakfast and a question and answer session about community issues. A nutritionist also occasionally shares healthy eating tips. Physical exercise with friends and neighbors, a healthy breakfast and fellowship - what better way to start the day?
Check out senior centers, churches and other organizations
Have you been wanting to try something new? Looking for a group to join? Many senior centers have walking groups, exercise classes, and wellness days when you can have your blood pressure checked, play games or take a dance class. Always wanted to paddle board but don't know where to start? Join an existing group. Just retired and want some structure in your day? You can find active fun like ballroom dance, Tai Chi and "silver sneaker" classes at FindActiveFun.org.
Start or join a community garden
If you don't have the room to plant fruits, vegetables, or even flowers, or if you'd just enjoy working with others - a community garden may be for you. Low-cost, high fun and a great way to meet others, you can find local community gardens at FindActiveFun.org.
If your area is unsafe for bikers and pedestrians, let community leaders know. Write letters, attend open government meetings, start a petition and get others who care involved. Be specific about what changes you'd like to see to make your neighborhood safer for all. Healthy Central Florida and Bike Walk Central Florida are two organizations also working on this issue - join us!
Get to know your neighbors
Get engaged, learn about your community, network and make new friends. Local government meetings, block parties, garage sales, safety organizations (such as Crime Watch) are great places to learn what's going on, meet neighbors and have fun. In fact, did you know that people who have a strong support system weather difficult times better than those without; neighborhoods where people know one another often have lower levels of crime. Additionally, you may find someone who can use a skill or quality you have - someone without a car who needs a ride to the grocery store or someone who's shy or new to our community who would love to meet others. Help others, feel good - everybody wins!
Support restaurants that serve the healthiest food
Often these are the smaller, locally owned "Mom and Pop" places that have a variety of foods on the menu and are happy to accommodate individual wishes (no butter, dressing on the side). It's also a great feeling to support your neighbors!
Find the treasures in your own community
Central Florida is full of parks, lakes, nature trails, and fun outdoor shopping venues. Find active fun that will have your kids turning off the TV and wanting to get outside - seriously! Maybe Fido would like a morning run at a dog park instead of the usual walk down the block. (And if you're single, what better way to meet other singles than bonding over your beloved pets?) Adults and children can enjoy playing basketball, swinging, climbing, or exploring trails. The farther you get from the TV, the closer you get to your kids!