Hayden Mayor Likes What He’s Hearing From Children in His Community

Kids are telling Mayor Griffitts that they are being more active after walking, talking with him during Mayor’s Walking Challenge

Almost four inches of snow didn’t prevent these kids in Hayden from riding their bikes to school that day. Mayor Steve Griffitts talked to them prior to them crossing the street about the importance of physical activity.

 

Since the start of the Mayor’s Walking Challenge, Hayden Mayor Steven Griffitts has been stopping by elementary schools in the city to talk with kids, parents and teachers about the importance of getting kids moving.

And the mayor likes what he’s hearing.

“I was talking to a few kids who said they just liked to play video games,” Steven says. “I told them they should go out and run. I saw the same kids the next day, and one of them told me he ran and it was fun. He said he was going to run again today.”

Mayor Steven Griffitts likes to chat with kids who cross at this solar-powered traffic beacon near Hayden Meadows Elementary School.

That type of feedback fuels Steven, who is doing more than just talking. He’s one of 77 Idaho mayors who registered for the Mayor’s Walking Challenge, which is put on by the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health. Mayors who average 10,000 steps per day in October earn $1,000 for their community.

He loves telling the success stories. A family who came to visit him decided to walk the 1.7 miles instead of driving over in a car like they normally would. The other day when nearly 4 inches of snow fell in town, there still were kids who rode their bikes to school. He asks the bus to park a little farther away each day so kids who ride the bus get to take a few extra steps before riding home.

“That’s what this is all about — we’re sharing the vision of this challenge which is to promote physical activity and the kids are responding,” Steven says. “The fun part is it helps me, too. Walking is good for you. And when I ask kids if they are walking, I can tell them that I am. I really to encapsulate the spirit of the Mayor’s Walking Challenge.”

It’s not just for kids, either. The City of Hayden staff celebrates October as Walktober, and employees are encouraged to walk on their breaks.

“We hold each other accountable,” Steven says.

Shawn Langenderfer, who leads the Human Resources Department for the City of Hayden, says the Mayor’s Walking Challenge has helped get people moving in the city offices.

“I’m able to say that his challenge really validates doing ours,” she says. “We talk about it in staff meetings.”

And Shawn has seen the mayor in action with kids. A second-grade class visited the city offices to learn about city government, and it was the same group of kids who the mayor spoke with the previous day at school.

“He asked all the kids to raise their hands if they walked today, and almost all of them raised their hands,” Shawn said. “It’s so fun. He’s great with kids and it’s fun to see him in his element.”

Kids have fun walking to and from school. They don’t have to wait in long car lines to get picked up, and they get exercise.