Hall County government employees may find their New Year’s resolutions a little easier to stick to this year.
The county will begin a new health-based initiative, Healthy Hall County, later this month. Its purpose is to help employees become happier and healthier by providing the tools and motivation they need to reach their fitness goals.
Shenna Adamson, human resources coordinator for the county, said the idea evolved out of a similar initiative the county started last year. The previous program was inspired by the hit weight-loss television show, “The Biggest Loser.” Nearly 100 employees participated in the program.
Adamson said she was impressed with the program’s success rate, especially since it was the first year the county had offered a health program.
The new program will provide all county government employees, their dependants and retirees with free admission to any Hall County community center. Weekly boot camp sessions will also be offered to employees at the Hall County Government Center and community centers three times a week starting Jan. 22.
Those signed up under the program can visit the fitness centers at no charge for the entire year; the boot camp and incentives program will last for four months.
Prior to the start of the program, Greg Cochran, personal trainer with OLD SKL Fitness in Gainesville, will offer free fitness instructional sessions and will discuss nutrition. Those in attendance will be able to ask questions at the session.
Bill Moats, county human resources director, said the program will not only benefit employees at the scale but could also help wallets.
“At the end of the day there is the ‘a happy employee is a productive employee standpoint’ but it also helps us on our health insurance side,” Moats said. “Like every other employer out there, one of the things that we have to deal with is the rising health care costs. So if we can do things to help get healthier employees, which may in turn reduce our health care costs, it’s a win-win for everybody.”
Of the 1,500 employees, nearly 300 have signed on to participate in the wellness program.
“It’s already doubled how many people signed up for ‘The Biggest Loser’ last year,” Adamson said.
Part of the reason people may be more interested is because of the incentives.
“We want people to get fit and get active and work toward wellness,” Moats said. “That was the objective, but we wanted to throw a carrot out there so people would want to get into the routine and stick with it even after the four-month period is over.”
Employees who sign up will receive a Healthy Hall County card for discounts at area restaurants and retailers. Employees who use the community center facilities at least eight times a month will be entered into a monthly drawing for a $50 gift card. Any employee who visits the centers 32 times in four months will be entered into a drawing for items like a Kindle Fire or Apple TV.
Moats said the county was fortunate to receive wellness funds from its insurance provider, Cigna, which provided the personal trainer. He also praised Hall County commissioners for their interest in starting the program.
Hall County government employees who are interested in signing up for the program should contact the human resources department. A kick-off meeting is set for noon and 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Hall County Government Center on Browns Bridge Road in Gainesville.