1
Prepping for the Dark Season
2
The Power of Habit
3
Purely Patrick: Supported Employment Helps an Entrepreneur Succeed
4
The Acorn Philosophy
5
2018 Community Health Needs Assessment Posted
6
3-4-50 Recognition
7
How to Get Started Mountain Biking
8
The Scarlet Letter of Addiction
9
Electric Bikes- The Wave of the Future
10
An Invitation to Participate

Prepping for the Dark Season

By: Caleb Magoon

It’s getting dark and it’s a tough time of year to stay fit and healthy. “Stick season” (as it’s known here in Vermont), brings tough weather and limited daylight, making it harder to compel ourselves to get out and stay active.

That said, this is the perfect time to make a plan to stay active during the dark season, now through the winter. Here are a few thoughts on planning for the winter and staying safe in the dark.

Don’t let the dark get you down! Some of us will be driven inside, but others will continue activities outside and simply change how we do them. If your goal is to stay outdoors, safety and visibility need to be your number one priority. Safety vests and reflective material have gotten way better in recent years, and you need to own some. LED headlamps and lights have become more efficient, and red light and strobe options help make you super visible. The same is true for bike lights, which have gotten much nicer in recent years. Many options are rechargeable now so you don’t have to keep inserting new batteries. Reflective material and lights are worthy investments so you can walk, run, or bike safely during this time of year.

Stick season is a good time of year to see if working out at a gym is “for you.” Many gyms offer free trial periods, making it affordable to try out a new space. Try a few gyms and find one that fits you! Make sure it’s a place that fits your attitude towards staying fit (very serious vs. casual) and offers the equipment you need.

It is also worth considering the many alternative indoor fitness options that our area has to offer. Indoor pools are available at Johnson State College and The Swimming Hole in Stowe. Some resorts like the Golden Eagle in Stowe or Smugglers Notch offer open swim times. Other indoor activities include pickup games of soccer, volleyball, and racketball at places like Johnson State College, the Cambridge Community Center, Smugglers Notch, and more. There is also a local men’s basketball league, pickup soccer in the People’s Academy Gym, and our local pickleball club is seeking out an indoor play space. There are always games being played, just ask around!

Perhaps you don’t enjoy team sports? Well, it’s a great time to outfit your spare room, basement, or garage with some free weights, a bike trainer, or maybe an elliptical. Prepare now before you really need it.

In a month or so we will hopefully have enough snow and cold to enjoy some skating and snow activities, but a diverse fitness routine is always ideal. Be prepared with at least one indoor activity that isn’t dependent on the weather.

Now is the time to line up your plans for staying active this winter – there’s no need to wait for the really cold temperatures. Start looking for local groups you can plan with and locations where you can work out or stay fit; or come up with your winter outdoor safety plan including lights, warm clothes, and routes you can safely run or bike. Beware of hunting season which is now on.

The more prepared we are and the better the plan, the more likely you are to stick to it. So use stick season as your excuse to prepare. After all, winter is coming!


Caleb Magoon is a Hyde Park native who grew up hiking, hunting, biking and exploring Vermont’s Green Mountains. His passions for sports and recreation have fueled his career as the owner of Power Play Sports and Waterbury Sports. Caleb encourages outdoor activity and believes it is an essential element to a healthy lifestyle and the Vermont way of life. Caleb serves the Lamoille Valley by volunteering on numerous community boards such as the Lamoille County Planning Commission, The Morrisville Alliance for Commerce and Culture, Mellow Velo, and the state chapter of The Main Street Alliance. He lives, plays and works in Hyde Park with his wife Kerrie.

The Power of Habit

By: Rorie Dunphey

Have you ever ‘decided’ to make changes to your health (lose weight, quit smoking, start exercising…), only to be disappointed in yourself days or weeks later having ‘failed’? You may feel disappointed in yourself due to a ‘lack of willpower’ or simply feel overwhelmed by how hard it is to change. In fact, change is not a ‘decision’, but rather it is a process that takes time and patience.

Don’t underestimate the power of habit! Habit formation (whether starting or stopping a behavior) is both physical and psychological. Our brain actually creates neural pathways for new behaviors. Our body and mind are in the habit of behaving in a certain way, and it can take time for a new habit to form or an old habit to diminish.

Change is a process, not an event. Here are some tips to help create healthy habits:

  • Practice patience. Research tells us that it takes as much as 180 days to truly let go of an old habit and adopt a new one. So hang in there!
  • Stop beating yourself up! Putting yourself down if you find yourself engaged in the old habit can damage our confidence. Instead, practice positive thinking and be compassionate with yourself.
  • Celebrate catching yourself. Instead of putting yourself down for ‘being weak’, congratulate yourself for being aware. Each time you catch yourself and become aware, you will build confidence and motivation.
  • Use structures to help remind yourself about the new behavior or goal. For example, put sticky notes on the bathroom mirror, set an alarm on your phone, or link the new behavior to something you already do (like walking right after breakfast).
  • Involve others in your goal. Let family, friends or co-workers know you are working to change. Enlist support and feedback to help. Find a partner with a similar goal to help motivate each other!
  • Work with a health coach or healthcare provider. They can provide support and accountability during the process of habit formation.

Don’t wait until New Years to make healthy changes in your life. Habits can be changed or created any time of year!


Rorie Dunphey works under Vermont’s Blueprint for Health as the RN Chronic Care Coordinator at Family Practice Associates in Cambridge. She works one-on-one with people and also leads classes to promote health and help people better manage their chronic diseases. She also assists patients in accessing community and state resources to better coordinate their health and wellness needs. Rorie has a particular passion for promoting a healthy diet and exercise routine to inspire people to live their best life.

 

Purely Patrick: Supported Employment Helps an Entrepreneur Succeed

By: Rebecca Copans

Patrick and his sister Deseray Lewis sell Purely Patrick goods at Art on Park in Stowe

 

If you wander down Stowe’s Park Street on a summer Thursday evening, you are sure to find a colorful tent filled with specialty food items made and packaged by Patrick Lewis, the entrepreneur behind Purely Patrick.

A vivacious person who sings through his days, Patrick was born with Cerebral Palsy. His parents, Mary Anne and George Lewis, helped Patrick utilize his repetitive hand motions to build a specialty food business. He sells glass Ball jars and plastic water bottles (which are easier to ship) filled to the brim with beautiful dried ingredients like birdseed, recipes for dog treats, sweets like cookies and brownies, savory recipes like soup and cornbread, as well as a number of gluten-free recipes.

Along with his parents, George and Mary Anne Lewis, Patrick is supported by his sister, Deseray, and two LCMHS Developmental Services Supported Employment Staff, Carrie Cota and Miranda Maxham. Carrie has been with Patrick for seven years, and Miranda has been with him for three. Strong relationships and job retention are incredibly important here.

Patrick participated in the Race for Sensory Drive in May with his mother and sister, Mary Anne and Deseray Lewis.

 

“I wouldn’t trade [Carrie and Miranda] for the world. Not just anyone can do this job,” Mary Anne says. The rapport among them is obvious.

“Miranda is the numbers girl, and I handle the technical side of the business, including developing and maintaining the website,” Carrie says.

“Carrie is my techie,” Mary Anne jokes, “and Miranda is a worker bee—they both are!—but Miranda is never afraid of using her muscles. For example, she brings many jars from the Hardware store in for Patrick after his shopping trips. She carries a ton of Patrick’s groceries in at the same time. She is always moving, and very efficient. She is even insured to drive the big lift van and does so willingly and safely.”

Developing the business-side of Purely Patrick has been a learning process. Working with his strengths, over time they developed a concept for creating products that capitalize on Patrick’s repetitive hand movements and that avoid hand-over-hand motions that are difficult for a person who is blind. His Supported Employment staff helps Patrick to ensure that measurements are accurate. But “if there is anything in one of those jars, it’s because he put it there,” Carrie says.

Mary Anne agrees. “It’s not about us doing it, it’s purely Patrick!”

The team tracks Purely Patrick sales—from farmers markets and craft shows to internet sales—and their hottest market is sales from the family-owned Brass Lantern Inn in Stowe. The relationship is mutual. The innkeepers sell a number of Vermont products, from tea to maple syrup, “but the thing we sell the most of out there is Patrick’s products,” says Mary Anne.

When buying the specialty food products, many people don’t realize that Patrick is the innkeepers’ son. It creates a positive awareness of the abilities of an individual with a disability. Even though sales aren’t always robust at some community events, there is value in Patrick’s presence there. “He has some very loyal repeat customers over the years that come to Art on Park year after year,” Carrie says.

Mary Anne agrees. “I see it as a bigger picture; it is exponential networking and I feel that it’s wholesome disability awareness. I can’t tell you how many moms and dads have come up to us and said, ‘I had no idea that a Patrick could be employed.’ It’s inspiring for families of people living with a disability to see the incredible potential in every individual.”

 


Rebecca Copans has worked extensively in government affairs, public relations and communications. As a society, our greatest potential lies with our children. With this basic tenant firmly in mind, Rebecca worked most recently with the Permanent Fund for Vermont’s Children and now with Lamoille County Mental Health to secure a stronger foundation for all Vermont families. 

A graduate of the University of Vermont and Dartmouth College, Rebecca holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in globalization. Her thesis concentration was the history and societal use of language and its effect on early cognitive development. She lives in Montpelier with her husband and three children.

 

The Acorn Philosophy

By: Leah Hollenberger

A small dish of acorns sits on my kitchen windowsill. They are a symbol of hope and perseverance for me. Within each little acorn is a strong oak tree. For me, small step to improve healthacorns also represent a kernel of an idea that can grow into something meaningful; a kernel of truth that can bring about greater understanding.

“Self-care” is a big buzzword now, often used to promote pampering oneself or splurging on something. The acorn reminds me that self-care is necessary and basic: sunshine, water and the right soil is all the acorn needs to become a mighty oak. Self-care is getting enough sleep (7-8 hours a night), healthy eating (lots of vegetables, cooking at home, less processed food), exercising (preferably outside to get fresh air and sunshine), and spending time with people that make you happy.  Doing these things on a daily basis is the foundation of self-care. Just as the acorn needs sunshine, water, and nutrients in the soil to grow – self-care – so do we. Human beings do better when we take care of our basic needs first.

This acorn philosophy works on a bigger scale as well. It is why this blog exists. Why community members are helping others get the nutritious food they need, receive the preventative and emergent healthcare they need, why a grassroots church effort to run a warming shelter has evolved into the Lamoille Community House.  All of these initiatives were a small acorn, a kernel that grew into a community-wide effort to help meet people’s basic needs. Collectively these efforts can always use more help for the need is great, but not insurmountable.

I have a pair of acorn earrings and a necklace that were given to me by dear ones. I like to wear them because they make me happy. I also wear them when I am feeling down or facing what I think may be a difficult day or trying to shape an idea. They serve as a little talisman of hope and belief, as well as a reminder to nurture that soon-to-be oak tree, to nurture me, to nurture our community.


Leah Hollenberger is the Vice President of Marketing, Development, and Community Relations for Copley Hospital. A former award-winning TV and Radio producer, she is the mother of two and lives in Morrisville. Her free time is spent volunteering, cooking, playing outdoors, and producing textile arts. Leah writes about community events, preventive care, and assorted ideas to help one make healthy choices.

2018 Community Health Needs Assessment Posted

Results and Implementation Plan are Now Available for Community Review

 

Copley Hospital has completed its 2018 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) and posted the results and implementation plan on its website, copleyvt.org. Through the CHNA process, Copley has determined the top health needs of the community are: Preventative Care, Mental Health, Chronic Health Conditions, and Substance Use/Abuse. The Hospital has developed, in conjunction with recommendations from local health care and social service organizations, an implementation plan. This plan will help address these needs and includes services/programs the hospital already offers, new services/programs the hospital may add, other organizations the hospital may partner with and metrics the hospital will use to track progress.

“We had a tremendous response to our survey and are grateful to the staff of area social service organizations and agencies and community leaders that helped with the assessment and shaping our Implementation Plan,” said Art Mathisen, Copley Hospital CEO.  “We view this as a plan for how we, along with other area organizations and agencies, can collaborate to bring the best each has to offer to support change and to address the most pressing identified needs.”

A CHNA is a federal requirement of all non-profit hospitals to prove the hospital is providing community benefit and meeting the needs of local residents. The CHNA process follows federal guidelines including gathering statistical data from reputable sources, surveying “Local Experts” who meet specific criteria and developing an implementation plan for addressing the Significant Health Needs in the area.

The complete report can be found here: https://www.copleyvt.org/about-us/community-health-needs-assessment/. Community members can also go to Copley’s Community Relations office and request a paper copy to review.

3-4-50 Recognition

By: Valerie Valcour

Lamoille Valley communities value what our natural resources have to offer. We value recreation, locally-grown foods, fresh air, clean waterways, rural traditions, the arts, culture, and historical preservation. These attributes are cherished and promoted throughout local communities and with visitors.

These attributes help to explain why Vermont has been identified as the number one best state to live in according to CNBC and why for several years, Vermont has been one of the top three healthiest states according to the Nation’s Health Ranking.

Vermonters have much to be proud of and there is still work to be done to assure that everyone in our state has an equitable chance to reach their optimum health. In Lamoille Valley, the Vermont Department of Health local office has been, one-by-one, meeting with local businesses, town selectboards, school administrators, child care directors, and faith communities to introduce the 3-4-50 campaign.

Lamoille Valley_Community Health_Chronic Disease

3-4-50 is a simple but powerful way to understand and communicate the overwhelming impact of chronic disease in Vermont. 3-4-50 represents 3 behaviors – lack of physical activity, poor nutrition and tobacco use – that lead to 4 chronic diseases – cancer, heart disease/stroke, type 2 diabetes, and lung disease – resulting in more than 50 percent of all deaths in Vermont.

The 3-4-50 campaign includes tips and strategies to assist our communities or organizations to create meaningful change. We need commitment from all corners of Vermont to embrace these health-promoting strategies. The 3-4-50 campaign can inspire action at all levels, building a foundation for longer and healthier lives for Vermonters, and reduce the escalating costs to treat preventable diseases. The 3-4-50 campaign has developed a “Sign-On” process for any community or organization to meet wellness recommendations.

In Lamoille Valley, nine organizations have signed on as 3-4-50 Partners. The Morrisville District Office of the Vermont Department of Health is proud to report that Copley Hospital, Green Mountain Support Services, Helen Day Art Center, Lamoille County Mental Health, Lamoille County Planning Commission, Lamoille Home Health and Hospice, Little Moose Crossing Childcare, North Central Vermont Recovery Center and Riverbend Market are all 3-4-50 Partners.

You too can sign on as a 3-4-50 Partner and the Vermont Department of Health, Morrisville Office is here to help you achieve your wellness goals. Together we can reduce the burden of chronic disease and close the gap in health inequities. Please contact Valerie Valcour RN at 888-1351 or email Valerie.valcour@vermont.gov for more information.


Valerie Valcour is a Public Health Nurse and specializes in chronic disease prevention and emergency preparedness at the community level for the Department of Health in Morrisville. Valerie has lived in Lamoille County most of her life. She graduated from People’s Academy in 1983 and worked as a nurse at Copley Hospital for several years. Recently Valerie has volunteered as a board member of both Community Health Services of Lamoille Valley and the Lamoille County Planning Commission.

How to Get Started Mountain Biking

By: Bonnie Strong, Copley Hospital Authorization Coordinator

Mountain bikes are a great way to exercise and get out into the woods. Compared to road bikes, they have bigger tires with rugged tread and suspension to absorb shock. Trails vary from smooth and flowy to technical single track.

After you figure out what kind of riding you want to do (trail, x-country, enduro, downhill) head to your local bike shop and they will fit you to the appropriate type of bike. There are different types of riding and bikes to match. Trail bikes are good for all purposes and most riders around here have these. Cross-country bikes are lightweight and good for smoother trails (they have no rear suspension); enduro bikes are ok for uphill and good for downhill, while downhill bikes are specific for lift assisted mountains and bike parks.

Ride some demo bikes or rent them and check out some bike swaps. Ask your bike friends what they’re into; it’s a great way to socialize. Grab some biking shorts, gloves, and a helmet. There are plenty of clinics at mountain bike centers (often free!) that will get you started and they’ll rent you a bike. Learn the basics and you’ll be on your way.

Most towns with mountain biking trails have a club that does a weekly group ride. If you’re not riding with others yet, it’s a great way to learn where the trails are, improve your riding and meet other riders. The rides are divided into different levels and you won’t be left behind. Meet up with the riders at your level on other days or head out on your own and keep learning and improving. Go to other bike shops in other towns for maps and ideas, and ride everywhere. Soon, you’ll be hooked!


Bonnie Strong is Authorization Coordinator at Copley Hospital and volunteers with Stowe Trails Partnership. When not biking, you can find her doing trail work and leading group rides.

The Scarlet Letter of Addiction

By: Megan Dorsey, Pathway Guide, North Central Vermont Recovery Center

People in recovery from substance use face many challenges and have to make many changes in their lives to have success in recovery. For starters: Everything.

If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand (or more) times: “No one chooses a life of addiction.” Some are born into it through a gene pool, not of their choosing. Some have been prescribed medication to take away pain after a serious injury. Some simply had a bad day and took something or had a drink to ease the pain, and their introduction to addiction spiraled out of control from that point.

Unfortunately, this group of people is still looked down upon by many. They are called a burden on society, a menace, thieves, and worthless. Though their behavior while under the influence of a particular mind-altering substance may have been less than savory, that was the disease within the human working, not the human themselves.

Working in the world of recovery, I get to see the human instead of the disease. The people I work with are strong, determined, honest, and compassionate towards others. They have had to uproot themselves from everything, everyone, and every place they knew as home, and start over completely.  That takes serious grit. While sometimes they struggle, and sometimes they briefly slip back into old ways, they keep trying. And all along the way, while picking themselves back up, they are lifting others. They are the ones helping, volunteering, holding doors, mentoring, and supporting others who are new to the journey they’ve walked with courage and pride.

I have heard many people in long-term recovery say they are now grateful for the disease of addiction they have within them. Without it, they wouldn’t have become the amazing people they are today and wouldn’t be working diligently every day to maintain a new way of life they can be proud of.

So, the next time you see someone struggling in the throes of their addiction and behaving poorly due to their angst and constant struggle, I encourage you to be compassionate. Remember the person they are about to become with the right help and support.

They are about to become someone who helps so many others find their way.

Electric Bikes- The Wave of the Future

By: Caleb Magoon 

It seems like electric bikes have been coming for a loooong time. Although I can’t say for certain that they have arrived, they are as close as they’ve ever been. I won’t claim that they are the perfect fitness and transportation product for everyone, but the cost continues to come down and they are an excellent option for folks looking to get a good, safe workout. Yes, you heard me correctly. While you might think that an electric motor on a bike makes it just an electric vehicle, they remain excellent for fitness as well. Yet this fitness vehicle is much safer for many folks who can’t take some of the risks associated with traditional biking.

Many older people and those recovering from injury fear getting far away from help on a bike. Fear of an accident, injury or other issue limiting the rider’s abilities is legitimate. It’s true, compared to being at a gym or other controlled environment, a bike offers a hair more danger. That said, bikes are also transportation, freedom, fun, and fitness.

E-bikes level the playing field for those who fear the dangers of cycling. Most E-bikes offer both pedal assist and throttle-only options. Pedal assist is simply riding the bike with the motor giving you a little boost, making hills much easier and flats a little faster. But should the worst happen, the rider has the ability to use the throttle (not pedaling at all if necessary) to get back to home, help, or safety depending on the urgency of the issue. Thus, they offer a safe option for many riders who have concerns about their physical ability to ride.

That said, these bikes are just as good for an enthusiast, too. Many think that they don’t need an electric motor and that may indeed be the case. I can ride many miles comfortably in a day. Yet all that a motor does is expand your potential mileage. Most motor systems allow you to input how much help you want from the motor. You can add a little help or a lot. Most experienced riders add a small amount of help and ride faster than their average and for many more miles. Plus, if you ever get tired, there is always more help at the push of a button.

One important thing to note here is that you are still getting a workout. At a low level of help, you’re still pedaling hard (if that is what you want). Biking has always been a great workout because of the low impact and great variability in doing “what you can handle”. E-bikes simply expand the possibilities.

As I said, price remains a challenge and obstacle for some. E-bike setups do start over $1,000 and many still remain over $2,000. That said, they all started above $2,000 not that long ago and most have come down. Used E-bikes are also becoming available. My suspicion is that the price will continue to come down and financial assistance will become available for those who can most benefit from an E-bike. Vermont State Employees Credit Union does offer loans for bikes at this time.

One note of caution- buyers should beware of the many options available on the market. Because these bikes are a burgeoning market there are many companies now jumping in; some are making quality products and some are not. There are big differences between the brand-name bike shop versions, the conversion kits, and off-brand electric bikes. Talk with your local bike shop or someone whom you know is riding an E-Bike (many people are already enthusiasts).

The benefit of a crowded market is that there is an option for everyone. Between conversion kits for most bikes to purpose build E-bikes, with the right advice, you can get on the road or trails you want. Plus, these bikes make much better commuters and long ride bikes. So look into an E-bike today! They are the wave of the…present!


Caleb Magoon is a Hyde Park native who grew up hiking, hunting, biking and exploring Vermont’s Green Mountains. His passions for sports and recreation have fueled his career as the owner of Power Play Sports and Waterbury Sports. Caleb encourages outdoor activity and believes it is an essential element to a healthy lifestyle and the Vermont way of life. Caleb serves the Lamoille Valley by volunteering on numerous community boards such as the Lamoille County Planning Commission, The Morrisville Alliance for Commerce and Culture, Mellow Velo, and the state chapter of The Main Street Alliance. He lives, plays and works in Hyde Park with his wife Kerrie.

An Invitation to Participate

By: Jessica Bickford

Everyone reading this post has at least one thing in common: We are all part of a community. We can choose our level of interaction, but that does not change the fact that we are still members of a community. Living in a community provides us with opportunities to participate in making that community better. This occurs at several levels:

Individually … We can be our best self. What can you do to take care of you today?

In our homes … We look out for those with whom we live and work together to create a safe and loving home environment. Did you know that spending just one hour a day with our kids can have major positive impacts on their overall well-being? (These don’t have to be big things… think meal-times – preparing, eating, and cleaning up together… playing a game, reading a book, folding laundry together, taking a walk.)

In our neighborhood… We can choose to be good neighbors, watching out for others and being helpful, considerate, and caring for those around us. When was the last time you checked in on a neighbor?

In our towns… We can volunteer on a community board, coach a youth sports team, show up to vote, obey the laws, etc. How might you get involved in your town?

In general, we can be active community members by learning about our community and doing what we can to make it a better place to live, work, and play.  We can choose to make a positive difference.

Healthy Lamoille Valley, our community substance prevention coalition, invites you to come on Tuesday, September 25th to learn more about what the middle and high school students in our region are experiencing. We will look at the bi-annual Youth Risk Behavior Data for our region and some of the work that is currently happening to reduce risk factors. Once we take a look at the data, we will talk about where risks are for youth are in our community and find ways, in our own circles of influence, to support youth. Visit https://healthylamoillevalley-coalition2018.eventbrite.com to see more information about the event and preregister.

Hope to see you there!


Jessica Bickford has worked as Coordinator of Healthy Lamoille Valley for a little over two years, where she has enjoyed writing for their blog. Writing for Copley’s community blog is a natural extension of this experience! Healthy Lamoille Valley focuses on making healthy choices easy choices, realizing that when we have access to healthy options we are less likely to choose behaviors that are harmful. Prevention is really a lifestyle of wise choices that enable us to live life to the fullest.