Skip to main content

Building community through the Step to it challenge

Throughout May, participants in Hennepin County’s Step to it challenge track their steps and physical activity. For participant Naomi Davidson, the challenge is an opportunity to connect with her neighbors.

“Ever since I moved to Crystal in 1999, I’ve been trying to get people connected. For the first few years it was difficult,” said Naomi.

When Naomi heard about the Step to it challenge in 2012 , she saw it as an opportunity to build community. She recalled thinking, “If I can just get a few people and we’ll get some kind of little team going here, at least that’s a start. It turned out to be a perfect start!”

All activity counts

Naomi began her Step to it team, The Dynamos, in her Crystal community that year, and she has continued to get the team together every year since. Her team has had up to 30 participants of all age groups participating in a large variety of activities, including running, walking, biking, kayaking, and playing sports like pickleball and basketball.

Naomi enjoys walking and gardening the most, but she also emphasizes that a lot of everyday activities count as physical activity.

“It doesn’t have to be a tough thing to do. You’re going to vacuum hopefully every week, you’re going to wash dishes by hand, you’re going to mow your yard if you have one to mow, clean out your garage, clean your house,” Naomi said. “All of these things count.”

Building lasting community and health habits

Since starting the team, Naomi has noticed an increase in camaraderie throughout the neighborhood. In addition to the back yard barbecue Naomi hosts at the end of each Step to it challenge, the team has get-togethers throughout the year.

Naomi also has noticed that her neighbors who participate in the challenge tend to keep their healthy habits up even after the challenge is over. “When you find something that is simple and easy [like walking], you can keep it up all year round.”

Crystal’s Step to it coordinator, Scott Berggren, also has noticed positive changes in the community as a result of the Step to it challenge.

“The Step to it challenge is a big deal for our community! We're all about promoting health and wellness, and this challenge really gets everyone involved and excited!” Scott said.

What keeps Naomi coming back year after year?

“It’s fun!” she said.

Sign up and join or form a group to get in on the fun.

Join a Step to it group or start your own by registering for the Step to it challenge. The challenge begins on May 1.