As gyms deal with the annual influx of New Year’s resolution-makers, one Summit County organization is focusing on the bigger picture of health in the High Country.
The Physical Activity and Nutrition Team of the Summit, known as PANTS, will hold its first meeting of the year at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 9, in the Ten Mile Room at the Summit Medical building. PANTS works to promote a community that inspires and advocates healthy eating and active lifestyles in Summit County. The public is encouraged to attend the free meetings.
PANTS co-chair Julie Draguns said the first meeting will focus on the restructure of the organization and on electing a new board of directors. She hopes to hear feedback about the group’s direction and work on relevant goals for health.
“Part of our focus, especially with these first few meetings, is to establish a framework for identifying priorities for our community,” she said. “We want to look at what resources there are now and fill in the gaps.”
PANTS has been in place since 2006, operating with grants, including funding from the now-dissolved Summit Prevention Alliance. Since the end of 2012, PANTS has been on its own. The group is represented by many areas, including government, the school district, businesses, local nonprofits and health care providers. PANTS currently has a steering committee that guides the coalition’s planning.
“We’ve spent the last four to five months trying to restructure the organization,” Draguns said. “We want to work with the public to create health goals, a health plan, in the community.”
Part of the new structure includes monthly meetings alternating between work sessions and networking opportunities.
In schools, PANTS has worked to promote wellness by offering fresh vegetables and salad in school cafeterias and creating wellness teams at elementary schools.
“Colorado’s younger population is becoming more overweight and obese,” Draguns said. “The number of younger people with issues related to carrying too much weight is growing in Colorado. That will definitely be a target in the coming months and years.”
Other PANTS projects include the Well Workplace Network, established in 2009 as a forum to improve employee health. PANTS has also helped provide breast-feeding supplies to new mothers, as well as working with LiveWell Summit County to fund community gardens in Frisco, Silverthorne and at Dillon Valley Elementary School.
“In Summit County we have an interesting dichotomy,” Draguns said. “We have crazy, insanely fit people, and also a lot of people who have to work so hard to pay their bills, they don’t have the opportunity to consider health on a day-to-day basis.”
PANTS is operating with no budget, so Draguns hopes with the new board and restructure, the organization will be able to seek more grants and work with other organizations to further the program’s goals.
“Any help or support people are willing to offer to promote healthy lifestyles in Summit County for all populations would be appreciated,” she said.
For more information about the Physical Activity and Nutrition Team of the Summit, contact Julie Draguns at (970) 668-6561.