Community Wellness Challenge

178,000 active minutes yields $10,000 for local nonprofits

One woman dropped from a size 14 to a size 10. Another man lost more than 25 pounds. These are just a few of the real-life losses—or, rather, gains—made by participants in the second annual Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana (BCBSMT) Community Wellness Challenge.

BCBSMT hosted the challenge—an activity-based competition to see who could rack up the most active minutes over a 10-week span. BCBSMT and nine other Montana employers participated. Each employer selected 10 employees, and one employee from each organization participated on a mixed roster. A BCBSMT employee captained each team.

In addition, the six BCBSMT district offices (Kalispell, Missoula, Great Falls, Bozeman, Butte and Billings) each fielded a team of 10 mixed-employer participants for a total of 160 competitors from around the state.

Participants wore an activity bracelet to track their moderate to very active minutes from March 29 through June 6, 2015. The mixed team with the most total active minutes earned the right to donate $5,000 to the charity of its choice. And, the employer group who racked up the most active minutes donated $5,000 to charity.

After 10 weeks of eking out every possible minute of activity, two teams stood at the top of the podium. But it was the many participants who improved their health as well as two Helena nonprofit organizations who were the real winners.

“This is exactly the intent of the Community Wellness Challenge,” said BCBSMT President Mike Frank. “Not only is it a way to promote an active and healthy lifestyle, it’s a means to give back to our communities and make a real difference.”

With 84,370 minutes, this year’s mixed team winner captained by John Doran, senior director of public relations at BCBSMT, included employees of the Student Assistance Foundation, Lewis and Clark County, the State Fund, the Helena School District, Morrison-Maierle, State of Montana, St. Peter’s Hospital, NorthWestern Energy, and the Montana University System. The winning team selected Helena Food Share as its $5,000 recipient.

The Montana University System prevailed as employer group champion with 95,424 minutes; it selected the Myrna Loy Center as the recipient of its $5,000 award.