“We have 32 teams – all Genesee employees – having fun with a college-wide fitness program, and trying to increase their mileage each week,” said Cathy Costello, executive assistant to the president and co-chairperson of the physical fitness initiative. Marilyn Dickinson, academic assistant to the executive vice president is the other co-chair.
Funded by a grant from the New York State Health Department, the “Step Up Your Steps” program focuses on diabetes prevention by teaching people to become more active and to change their eating habits, according to Mary Brenner, health educator for Healthy Living at UMMC.
“The goal is to reach people before they are diagnosed with diabetes,” Brenner said.
Since last October, Brenner has been reaching out to businesses and organizations in an effort to get them to take part in the walk program. So far, four other groups – Northgate Free Methodist Church in Batavia, Bank of Castile/Tompkins Insurance, Elba Central School and Genesee County Building II employees – have signed up.
She also is starting a senior citizens group called “Seniors on the Move.”
GUSTO! (an acronym for Genesee Unites to Support Team Opportunities) leaders saw this as a perfect fit, Costello said.
“We celebrated our 10th anniversary last fall. We provide training opportunities, and we also focus on wellness,” she said.
The 128 college employees began the fitness program about five weeks ago. Under Brenner’s guidance, all participants filled out a diabetes risk assessment survey – questions developed by the American Diabetes Association – to identify risk factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, family history, weight, height and level of physical activity. Blood pressure and weight also were recorded by the College’s nursing staff who were delighted with the extensive turn-out which included faculty and staff from all departments
“Some factors are controllable, some are not,” Brenner said. “Our goal is to see an improvement in the controllable factors at the end of eight weeks. At that time, we tally all of the walkers’ steps, which are measured by a pedometer, and the participants are re-screened. Hopefully, there will be some positive changes.”
Brenner said the goal is to amass 10,000 steps – or five miles per day. “A lot of research has been done into the benefits of walking that much,” she said.
Costello noted that her group is using the “Move Across New York State Challenge” Southern route as a motivator.
“We have a map set up in the lounge and we move the team pins to track their miles,” she said. “It’s 931.5 miles and it travels west a bit before heading toward Corning and Binghamton, north to Albany and west along the Thruway back to Batavia. Some teams are more than halfway through the route.”
Costello said that the team captains record the mileage each week and report their totals to Marilyn Dickinson.
“Everyone wears a pedometer which counts the steps. Those steps then are converted to miles. Some employees use their break to walk in the parking lot; others walk during the lunch hour. And you can convert other activities into steps, such as aerobics or even mopping the floor.”
The competition ends during the week of July 10. Costello said an event to recognize the winning team and to acknowledge each participant’s accomplishments is planned for the end of July.
For more information about “Step Up Your Steps,” contact Brenner at 344-5386. Genesee’s teams are as follows:
Sole Sisters – Judie Littlejohn, Jean Cianfrini, Mary Jane Heider, Margaret Heater
Soleburners – Muldair Moore, John Reina, Chris King, Mike Perry
Go Take a Hike – Mary Jane Shonn, Nancy Masters, Ruth Andes, Corrinne Maile.
Barefoot Brigade – Lynn Rapone, Joanna Barefoot, Mike Garrett, Diane Marchese
Kathycaroljuliejohn – Kathy Kimber, Carol Marriott, Julie Cook, John Potera
Four Peas in a Pod – Terry Dick, Amy Swanson, Kim Williams, Lori Woodruff
Arcade Amblers – Anne Heale, Deb DiNoto, Becky Reynolds, Mary Lyn Nutting
Twinkle Toes – JoAnn Myers, Deb Elliott, Lynette Boldt, Marcia Ball
Sassy Striders – Marcia Gann, Kathy Yacuzzo, Patty Hume, Jamie Zielonko
Team Giddyup – Susan G. Ryan, Michele Bokman, Patti Furness, Lyndsey Oliver
Sassy Sprinters – Val Hale, Larene Hoelcle, Cathy Costello, Carla Guiste
The Wanderers – Gina Regensburger, Anne Feary, Gloria Warren, Dolores Wilkin
Globe Trotters – Claudia Moore, Karin Kovach-Allen, Bob Knipe, Sharon Myers
Walkie Talkies – Tina Marsceill, Kathy Meloon, Kristin Yunker, Traci Phillips
Drag’n Feet – Cheri Chatt, Maureen Goodsell, Michele Burkhardt, Cheryl Nichols
Team JEST – Joe Bailey, Tanya Lane-Martin, Susan Ryan, Ellen Della Penna
Fab’ulous Four – Donna George, Sandy Mancuso, Nina Mortellaro, Liz Wimbush
Yankee Skippers – Maddie Ferris, Ellen Brokaw, Susane Nugent, Emily Harris
Pack Rats – Mary Jo Dumuhosky, Sandra Hofert, Dolores Chiocco, Liz Guess
Quazy Quads – Mary Knappen, Meredith Altman, Jane Weston, Mary Hartman
Bernie’s Biobabes – Marirose Ethington, Joan Zummo, Bernie Marcus, Maureen Leupold
Pedomenators – Priscilla DiRisio, Celina Bartz, Sue Marschke, Stephanie Smyth
Feet On Fire – Amy Churchfield, Jackie MacKay, Kerry Hadfield, Peggy Szczesniak
Sneakin’ Around – Bob Reynolds, Harold Strassner, Adrienne Dougherty, Dave Meyer
GCC Go-Getters – Priscilla Varland, Peg Sisson, Rafael Alicea-Maldonado, Karen Taylor
Yankee Peddlers – Marilyn Dickinson, Ro Monachino, Gloria Cipollone, Lucy Miner
Long Striders – Vici Campbell, Martha Lorshbaugh, Annette Zuber, David Worthington
The George Walkers – Becky Patterson, Lisa Papke, Amy Jordan
Polyglots – Tammy Adams, Gloria Sherman, Jen Liedke, Brenda McCabe
WKRC – Sue Chiddy, Allen Kidder, Alice Weather, Donna Rae Roll
Let’s Go Girls – Mary Platt, Rhonda Pangrazio, Marguerite Badami, Linda Kay Beaumont
Steppin’ Up to the Plate – John McGowan, Jim Bucki, Emily Harris, Elaine Hawley