Vitality Team Leads Heal's Work to Promote Active Living

Date Published: 04/18/17 02:10:pm

Heal Reno County is dedicated to strengthening Reno County’s culture of healthy living, and the Vitality Team work group is a driving force behind these efforts, particularly in the area of promoting accessibility to active lifestyles. Vitality Team initiates and supports programs that encourage physical activity, and they also work with city and county officials on public policy that improves our community's built environment, including trails, sidewalks, public transit, parks and other community resources. This work group provides a terrific avenue for people to jump in and help with the work of making our county healthier...and have fun while doing it!

You may have participated in or heard of Vitality Team’s efforts as these volunteers have partnered with Hutch Rec on projects such as the Trail and Treat 3K Family Run/Walk and the Sand Plum Bicycle Classic. Both of these events are fundraisers for the Friends of the Trails - a fund with Hutchinson Community Foundation that is dedicated to the maintenance of our community’s walking and biking trails.

Vitality Team also partners with Hutch Rec on Wellness Warriors, the summer outdoor fitness classes held at Gowans Stadium, and if you or your children have participated in bike safety events (or as they are often called – bike rodeos), chances are good Vitality Team was involved with the effort. They will be hosting their next bike rodeo on Saturday, April 22nd as part of Play on Plum, a family-friendly placemaking event on the Hutchinson Community College campus.

“These opportunities to educate community members about bike and pedestrian safety are exciting and meaningful parts of the work we do,” said Andrea Finlay, Vitality Team chairperson.

Vitality Team also offers opportunities for its volunteers to actively participate alongside other community members. For example, many team members take part in the group’s Second Saturday Cycles, which being May 13th with a ride from DCI Park to Pleasantview. The rides provide an opportunity for camaraderie and a great workout!

May is Bike Month, and not only will Vitality Team be one of the hosts of the Sand Plum Bicycle Classic, but they will also help with various aspects of the Hutch Bike Fest, such as serving as course monitors for the criteriums or helping with the kids’ bike race and the bike parade. Mark your calendars now for May 27-28th and plan to join in the fun of this community event as a participant, volunteer or spectator.

Activities and educational opportunities are only part of what keeps the Vitality team members actively engaged in this work group. Advocating for public policy and city/county projects that allow for a built environment that makes active, healthy living accessible to all keeps the group busy, too. In recent years, their advocacy helped ensure that new neighborhood developments in Hutchinson include sidewalks on both sides of the street, promoting walkability and safety in our community. Vitality Team members were also instrumental in the creation of the Hutch Bike/Walk Map and development of the City of Hutchinson Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan. More work is needed to ensure that the concepts put forth in the plan are implemented, creating the opportunity for biking to be fully incorporated as a part of a well-developed multimodal transportation system in our county.

If you’d like to become involved with Vitality Team or would like more information, contact Andrea Finlay at or express your interest here. Those interested in volunteering for Hutch Bike Fest can contact Adam Richter at Hutch Rec – 620-663-6179.

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