Happy 5th Walkiversary
Starting the Walk program in Santa Barbara began for me as part of a comprehensive diabetes prevention and treatment program that I was designing for a local urban Indian health clinic. I thought I had come up with this novel idea of a community walk where a physician would lead a weekly walk and talk with community members and patients to encourage physical activity and health literacy. I was going to call it “Walk with the Doc”. Imagine my surprise to find I hadn’t invented anything new at all! I was thrilled to jump on board instead of reinventing the wheel.
Since my departure from the clinic shortly after I started our walk, it evolved into a truly whole community event, and has been as important for my own health, I believe, as for those who come and join. We have walkers who are regulars who have become good friends, really like family (they join us for Thanksgiving every year now), and those who come and go when they can, but all are always welcome.
We walk at 6 pm, so it’s dark for 4 months of the year, but we go regardless! To accommodate those for whom darkness is a barrier, we started an additional monthly Saturday morning walk about 3 years ago that we thought would be a “winter only” event that just never quit, so now we walk 5 x per month! Through it all, my husband John helps lead the walks, puts up the signs, etc. I’m so grateful. And he always attends, making sure no walker is left behind. I couldn’t do it without him. We have never missed a walk in 5 years, except for one time during the Thomas fire when the air quality was so bad everyone was told to stay indoors.
WWAD has been a highlight of my week for 5 years, and I have no plans to slow down. The next 5 I hope to increase the visibility to the community and to get more docs involved, as well.
Enclosure: ‘Rain Walk’ photo in case no one believes it ever rains in SB, or that folks would actually walk in the rain/ dark here!!