Creating and sustaining a successful wellness program requires hard work and the best tools, as well as learning best practices from other organizations. Earlier this year, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Campus Recreation Center started their first walking program for both faculty and students. Amanda Robine and Marc Derrico are administrating the program and were gracious to share with us some details about their first experience with the Walker Tracker platform. We hope their feedback will help other similar organizations learn how they can better create or improve their programs.
UNL had its first Challenge with us earlier this year. How did participants respond to the new program?
Our participants jumped head first into this challenge. We have had triple the amount of participation in the Walker Tracker program, compared to previous programs. Walker Tracker’s user friendly and easy to navigate platform has been a huge reason for the success. Our participants enjoy being able to sync steps through apps they are already using and convert activities into steps to increase their chance of winning the challenge.
What has been the most difficult part of running a walking program?
The most difficult part of the walking program has been trying to reach beyond our participants to others at the University of Nebraska. In the beginning, we grew exponentially with great enthusiasm, but now that participants have settled in, we want to find more people to join who may not be aware of this program or they are resilient to join. This means we will be reaching out to current participants with the challenge of growing their team, and hitting the pavement to find groups who may be unaware of the program. We are excited to see even more potential as we move forward.
How about the easiest and most fun part of running a walking program?
The easiest part is managing all the participants. With the scheduled emails and automatic reenrollment into teams and competitions, managing everyone is simple. The most fun part is the actual competitions. Watching teams compete for the top spot and seeing movement on the leaderboards is awesome.
Any advice you would give to people organizing their first walking program?
We have a group of “Wellness Ambassadors” who did an excellent job in the very beginning to really grow our program. Our Wellness Ambassadors represent various departments around campus and recruited participants in their departments to participate in the walking program. From there participation grew. We would suggest something similar where you have team leaders who are very excited about the program. These leaders would work with you to get the news out about the program. Digital communication only works to a certain extent. Word of mouth from a colleague is most effective. From there, maintaining constant communication with participants and reminding them to do simple things such as syncing their devices and apps to get credit for their work.
Favorite feature on Walker Tracker or favorite part about working with Walker Tracker?
We have a ton of favorite features of Walker Tracker. Our top two favorites are:
- We love that your activities do not expire. Previously we worked with a program that would not count activities if they were more than 72 hours prior to syncing. With Walker Tracker your window to sync your devices or count your activity is as big as the competition currently going on.
- We also love that participants do not have to re-enroll in each challenge. We automatically start with a great group of walkers and can grow from there. Our participants like being very “hands-off” with syncing and joining the different challenges.
Did you hear of any personal success stories within your organization due to your use of Walker Tracker?
One of our on campus groups found great success in this program. Our Wellness Ambassador for this particular department has had a hard time getting her team to buy-in to wellness programming. For some reason, this Walker Tracker program has been the turning point for the department. They have enjoyed participating in challenges and created a prize structure for the winning team in their department. The prize also focuses on wellness by bringing in nutrition workshops for the winning team. We are so excited to see the successes of our Wellness Ambassadors, and cannot wait to continue highlighting their stories.