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Shorewood family makes Step to it Challenge an annual tradition

mom with children outside at a twins game

Tyler Vos (far left, age 9), along with his friend; sister, Ella (age 7); and mom, Bonnie at a Twins game in 2014, the first year he competed and won in his age group in Step to it. (Photo credit: Vos family)

For most people who participate in Hennepin County’s annual Step to it Challenge, in which participants track their steps throughout the month of May for a chance to win Twins tickets, the goal is to get outside and move more. But for the Vos family from Shorewood, it has become an annual tradition with a big impact, particularly for sons Andrew and Tyler. They started competing – and winning – in the Step to it youth age group in 2014, and it sparked their competitive natures and love for running.

From running around the playground to 100 miles in a week

Bonnie Vos, mother of Andrew, Tyler, and Ella and wife of Eric Vos, enjoyed running regularly before having kids. When she heard about the Step to it Challenge through her kids’ school, she thought it would be great motivation to move more. She signed the family up and gave each of them a pedometer.

Sons Andrew and Tyler, ages 9 and 11 at the time, loved the competitive aspect of the challenge. They ran around the playground and jogged in place, trying to get more steps than their mom. Tyler won top stepper in the Shorewood youth category that year, and from then on, the family was hooked.

mom with children outside at a twins game

Andrew (age 14) at a Twins game with Bonnie and Ella (age 10) after he won top stepper in 2017. (Photo credit: Vos family)

Fun for runners and non-runners alike

Andrew graduated high school and started college in Arizona last year. He’s currently preparing to try out for his school’s Division 1 track team. Tyler plans to continue the Step to it winning streak this year. He’s working on cutting down his mile time for track season and preparing to be captain of the cross-country team in the fall.

children walking on the twins field

Tyler (in red hat, age 14) walks onto the Twins field with Ella (in front, age 12) in 2019. (Photo credit: Vos family)

Highly competitive runners are more the exception than the rule in Step to it, and that holds true for the Vos family. Bonnie loves it as motivation to get outside and start walking and running more after the long winter. Eric is more of a biker but is motivated by the familial competition to find small ways to get more steps, like parking farther away from the entrance when he drives somewhere.

Bonnie emphasized how great the challenge is to do as a family. When the kids were younger, it prepared them for longer hikes on family trips to state parks. It also helped Andrew and Tyler discover and grow a love of movement. “When they were in grade school, they found out they liked movement and running, and Step to it tapped into that. When you’re young, you don’t know what sports you like or what you’re good at, but running is used in so many activities,” said Bonnie.

As the kids got older, Step to it brought the family together to enter their steps each week, talk about what they did, and look for ways to get more steps. “It was always a good conversation piece to have around dinner time or when we got together as a family,” Bonnie shared.

A Step to it success story

The Vos family shows that wherever you are on the spectrum of movement – adding a few more steps here and there, starting a regular walking or running routine, or pushing toward big fitness goals – the Step to it Challenge provides accountability and motivation. Whether you’re competing against yourself, family or friends, or aiming to win Twins tickets as top stepper in your city, Step to it is for you. Learn more and register starting April 1.