HomeCherry Hill NewsMayor: Campaign ‘continues to grow’

Mayor: Campaign ‘continues to grow’

More than a year since its inception, the Mayor’s Wellness Campaign is still chugging away, steadily recruiting residents to join the pledge to live a healthy lifestyle.

“It’s an awareness campaign,” Mayor Chuck Cahn said. “It has evolved in a very positive way.”

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The campaign partners with several local businesses, hospitals and organizations to promote its goals. Often, a display with campaign materials can be found at Cherry Hill events, he said.

A focus on wellness is personal for Cahn, who suffers from diabetes. Shortly after assuming office, he was brainstorming for ideas on how to make a positive impact on a broader scale in the community, and decided on the campaign, which “continues to grow” every month.

“Health and wellness is very important to me personally and to my wife,” he said.

Cahn, who was to participate in the April 27 Earth Festival bike ride, keeps active on a regular basis on the seat of his bicycle, both at home and outdoors, during the warmer months, and spins in the winter.

“It’s about healthy living,” he said.

And for those couch potatoes out there?

“It’s really about taking the small steps for individuals to make a difference in their life,” he said.

Easy ways to stay active are to take a walk down the block, sign up for yoga classes or a cooking course or visit one of the 52 local parks, Cahn said.

“We have so many parks around town,” he said. “I think it’s a great asset that the township has to promote wellness in all of our neighborhoods.”

Upcoming campaign events, as listed on http://www.cherryhill-nj.com/calendar.aspx, include the Senior Wellness Information Expo on May 8 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Voorhees Care and Rehabilitation Center, and the Mountain Bike Skills Clinic Series on May 18 from 9 a.m. to noon at Cherry Hill’s Kresson Trails off Kresson Road. The bike clinic continues with dates through the year.

The Walk with the Mayor events took place until April and will pick back up again in September, Cahn said. The walks were held in the Cherry Hill Mall once a month to keep people active and engaged during the blistery winter months. Attendance per walk varied from 15 to 50.

“Every month is a little different,” he said.

Looking ahead, the goal remains the same.

“We’re really trying to focus on what we call the abundance of activities all over town on a weekly basis,” he said.
When some residents hear “health,” they imagine lofty ideas and large events, Township Spokeswoman Bridget Palmer said.
“It really is about taking small steps,” she said.

Consuming the right diet is important, too, Cahn said.

“We’re putting a whole township cookbook together,” he said. “We’re getting positive responses on that.”

The release of the book is planned for early summer. Residents have been asked to submit healthy recipes, which have been vetted by township staff, Palmer said. As of mid-April, about 20 to 25 recipes had been submitted that were nutritionally sound.

“People can always submit them,” she said.

The healthy cooking classes that have been held at ShopRite and Wegmans have all been sold out, he said. The classes will begin again in the fall.

Since it tends to be easier to be active in the summer, there will be a scaling back in terms of official events, Palmer said.
Still, the sentiment remains, Cahn said, citing the ban on smoking on all public lands, which went into effect late last year and has helped to free the parks of trash and debris.

“The feedback and response from the residents has been extremely supportive,” he said.

Cahn plans to stick with the campaign for as long as he holds his mayoral position, with a goal of becoming certified as a “Healthy Town.”

“Even beyond the certification, which is just a nice recognition, we’ll continue this all the way through,” he said.
Follow the campaign online at www.cherryhill-nj.com/index.aspx?NID=607.


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