The Association of Idaho Cities annual conference is an event I look forward to each year. In my role as a senior program officer for the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health, I work closely with mayors and city staff to build healthier communities. It’s so nice to see so many partners at the conference and meet potential new ones.
We asked Idaho trivia questions at our booth and offered everyone socks and other fun giveaway items. The highlight for me was asking everyone who visited our booth where they were from and what they loved about it. We captured their words on a poster that is now framed and hanging in our office.
Our question — tell us where you’re from and what you love about it — resulted in fun, unique and inspiring responses. The smiles kept coming as people wrote genuine, heartfelt answers that brought out common themes about our state.
People. Home. Outdoors. Community. Recreation. Friendly. The list goes on. These traits are what make Idaho special.
We are inspired by the answers and delighted to see how our programs can support these themes that mean so much to Idaho communities. Here are some of the ways we work with Idaho cities.
• We launched The Community Project in the spring and are working with the cities of Chubbuck, Driggs and Wendell on uniting those communities through a fun, outdoor project.
• Our Mayor’s Walking Challenge turns nine this year, and for the fifth year, it will be a statewide event. It would be fantastic if we could get every Idaho mayor to participate to earn money for their city and promote the healthy habit of walking. You can learn more about the Mayor’s Walking Challenge here.
• The Community Health Academy, our learning collaborative for Idaho mayors and city staff, launches this month. We had so much interest and are working with nine cities. We look forward to learning ways we can support communities from local, regional and national experts. Each community will have an opportunity for a grant that is unique to its own needs.
• Community Transformation Grants are multiyear partnerships that provide technical assistance, support and funding. Our current recipients are Orofino and Twin Falls. These cities are wrapping up their grants that resulted in positive change that will last for generations. From a picturesque mountain bike skills park in Twin Falls to an epic community garden and park improvements in Orofino, these amenities are the result of communities working together for the benefit of building healthier communities.
• We’ve helped several cities add a health focus to their comprehensive plans through a pilot grant program. Comprehensive plans are requirements for municipalities. Adding a health focus to the plans is one important step in building a healthy community.
Our work in Idaho supports communities and helps build a healthier community. This helps preserve and protect so much of what we love about our state — people, outdoors and community. These things are important to the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health. To learn about future partnership opportunities and more about our work, subscribe to our newsletter (scroll to the bottom of the page).