Rec on the Go benefits from Allina grant

Staff photo by Connor Cummiskey Rec on the Go Coordinator Jenessa Rothmeier attempts to keep her balance as she tests out a slackline for use in the new Rec on the Go program.

NEW ULM — Allina Health is helping bring recreation to residents this summer as part of its Neighborhood Health Connections program.

Allina gave $30,000 in 10 Neighborhood Health Connection grants to regional organizations to encourage healthy activity in the community.

“The purpose of them is to support ongoing activities that promote social connections among the same group of adults through healthy eating or physical activity,” Community Engagement Coordinator Jen Mauerer said.

Of the 10 grants to this region, the largest was $10,000, hitting the cap for individual grants, to pay for supplies for New Ulm Rec on the Go.

Rec on the Go is a new mobile recreation program being rolled out this summer by New Ulm Parks and Recreation in partnership with local organizations such as Allina.

“Mobile recreation means, recreation is going to come to the community,” Program Supervisor Joseph Schugel said. “We have an enclosed trailer for the summer and we are going to travel around to various locations. — a lot of them are city parks, but we have some private locations — and we are going to bring fun games, activities, arts and crafts — anything fun to anyone who wants to come out and enjoy it.”

Schugel has partnered with a handful of organizations, such as the public schools that are lending the program its trailer, to get the community invested in Rec on the Go.

The program is for all ages and will bring games like Giant Connect Four, Giant Jenga and a slackline — a tightrope that can be suspended between two trees — to the many locations.

“We wanted to get some of the games out there that a lot of people are familiar with, and just a different spin on them being that you are able to play them outside and in a larger setting,” Schugel said.

The first night out will be Monday, June 11, at German Park for the Monday Night Concert Series. Other special events Rec on the Go will attend are National Night Out and Summer Day of Play.

Starting mid-June the program will regularly be at Harman, Lincoln, North, Washington, South and Riverside Parks.

Some private locations will host the pop-up games as well, including New Ulm Mobile Village and Traulich Estates.

A full schedule of events can be found at the city website (ci.new-ulm.mn.us) by clicking on the activity brochure under the Park and Recreation tab.

While Rec on the Go is the single largest grant from Allina, it awarded nine other programs roughly $20,000 total.

They are:

Volunteers of America’s Adult Day Services in Sleepy Eye received $5,000 to bring in Live 2B Healthy staff for six months of tri-weekly sessions of balance and strength training exercise sessions.

Pro Kinship for Kids received $3,440 to help connect families during monthly activities and educational programming for healthy eating.

Highland Homes Inc. received $3,100 to put on chair stretching exercises in the spring and fall along with educational healthy meals for tenants at the Sunset Apartments.

Adaptive Recreational Services received $2,700 for a weekly bowling league running from September to May and a monthly cooking class running April-December.

Jefferson Elementary received $1,660 for training elementary school staff in self-care techniques including exercise and healthy eating in a relaxed, communal setting.

GSS Winthrop received $1,200 for six weeks of one-hour Qigong lessons. Qigong is a Chinese system of coordinated postures and movements similar to Tai Chi that is used to promote health.

Brown County Human Services received $1,000 for Cooking Matters — a six-session course teaching attendees about nutrition, food preparation, budgeting and grocery shopping techniques.

Community And Seniors Together (CAST) received $1,000 for free, weekly chair exercises at the Senior Center.

MRCI EASE Adult Day Services received $900 for a monthly visit from a Hy-Vee dietitian who will teach about a healthy food item.

Including all regions, Allina granted money to 71 nonprofits and local government organizations, according to a press release.

The roughly six-year-old program accepts grant applications from Nov. 1 through Feb. 21 each year, with grants awarded in March the following year.

Connor Cummiskey can be emailed at ccummiskey@nujournal.com.

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