The Bonners Ferry Mayor Earns Money for his Hometown by Participating in the Mayor’s Walking Challenge.
Mayor David Sims has lived in Bonners Ferry for all but six months of his life, so when he heard about the opportunity to earn funds for his community just for walking, he was all in.
Sims is 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 under its High Five initiative. High Five promotes physical activity and access to healthy foods for Idaho kids, and the Mayor’s Walking Challenge helps raise awareness of the importance of children being physically active.
For the second year in a row, Sims is earning $1,000 for Bonners Ferry for completing the Mayor’s Walking Challenge. Mayors who average 10,000 steps per day during October earn the funds.
Mayor Sims is using the funds to supplement a multiyear $250,000 Community Transformation Grant that Bonners Ferry received from the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health. That grant, which Sims helped secure and oversee during the three-year grant process, funded more than 20 projects, some of which included:
- Refurbishing and activating the community pool
- Outdoor synthetic skating rink
- Cross country trail at the high school
- Cardio equipment for the high school weight room
The Mayor’s Walking Challenge allows Mayor Sims to set a good example in his community. It isn’t uncommon to see him out walking in the community with his wife after he gets home from work. He knows how many steps it is from certain landmarks in the city to help keep him on track.
“I think the opportunity for us to raise funds is wonderful,” he says. “We want Bonners Ferry to be a healthy, active community, and the Mayor’s Walking Challenge helps promote that.”
The challenge, which is in its sixth year, didn’t go statewide until 2018. Mayor Sims remembers talking to some mayors in the southern part of the state who had participated for several years.
“They told me there were mayors who were averaging 25,000 or 30,000 steps a day,” he says. “When I first looked at the leaderboard and saw that, wow, that’s just motivation.”
Mayor Sims likes to park farther away from his destination to get steps in walking to and from his car. He also logged a few big days while visiting his daughter at St. Olaf College in Minnesota.
The Mayor’s Walking Challenge also has made him more accountable to his own fitness. While some mayors will put their Fitbit or other tracking device away when the challenge ends on October 31, Mayor Sims uses its each day to ensure he’s getting in his exercise.
“I really enjoy getting out and walking and seeing the momentum our city has for being a great place for our citizens to be active,” he says.