People come together because of a common purpose, vision or background.

Rotary, Scouts, Optimists, 4-H, Kiwanis, professional groups, Lions and Lionesses are among many civic clubs, groups and organizations that individuals voluntarily choose to identify and associate with.

Many of these organizations have a positive impact on the community but to what extent are they also impacting the well-being of their leaders and members? Blue Zones Project, a well-being initiative, works with organizations of all sizes in the community to optimize the environment and make the healthy choice the easy choice for everyone.

According to a 2010 Pew Research Center phone survey, 75 percent of Americans are active in one kind of group or another. On average, adults are active in 3.5 groups and spend about 6.5 hours a week in group activities.

Spiritual groups, sports and recreation groups, charitable or volunteer organizations and professional associations rank among the top categories of organizations people associate with. People join groups they identify with and the social connection contributes to the improved well-being of individuals, groups and the community.

Blue Zones Project Dodge County is happy to collaborate with organizations in Beaver Dam, Horicon, Mayville and Juneau that are supporting well-being initiatives in their groups.

Th eBeaver Dam Community Library has hosted several Blue Zones Project-inspired cooking workshops and activities. Following a presentation about Blue Zones Project, the Beaver Dam Rotary Club requested that their lunch meeting menu at Old Hickory be Blue Zones-inspired for 10 weeks.

The Hyland Prairie 4-H Club showed support for the well-being initiative by adding “plant slant” options to the community meal they hosted at The Watermark. The Horicon Public Library hosted a Purpose Workshop in September and is planning a Blue Zones book discussion for 2018.

Fit 4 You of Mayville has committed to discouraging the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages while ShaktiShiva Massage & Yoga hosted a yoga event in August.

Recognizing the uniqueness of each organization, Blue Zones Project offers a diverse range of action items that organizations can choose to implement such as:

  • Optimizing the meeting environment to be tobacco-free.
  • Having bike racks available.
  • Encouraging natural movement to and from meetings and events.
  • Offering more nutritious options if an organization serves or sells food.
  • Encouraging volunteer opportunities within an organization.

The action items inspire, encourage and promote well-being within an organization which, in turn, improve the well-being of individuals and the community. Becoming a Blue Zones Project Supporting Organization also benefits the organization.

Some action items strengthen social connections between members leading to greater member retention. Organizations that choose to participate as a Blue Zones Project Supporting Organization receive recognition for their efforts to improve the health and well-being of their members and the community. This, in turn, increases the awareness of the organization in the community.

Are you part of an organization and are interested in learning more about Blue Zones Project? Visit dodgecounty.bluezonesproject.com, call 920-212-8511 or e-mail bluezonesprojectdodgecounty@sharecare.com with questions.

Blue Zones Project is a community-led well-being initiative designed to make healthy choices easier through improvements to a city’s environment, policies and social networks. The project has been brought to Dodge County by Beaver Dam Community Hospital. Blue Zones Project is a division of Sharecare.