Mayor Blair Milo Discusses Fitness Fridays at Ped Pedal & Paddle Committee Meeting

By: Caitlin Vanlaningham Last Updated: August 24, 2012

A positive energy could be felt throughout the boardroom of the NIRPC building. There was a special guest that day as La Porte Mayor Blair Milo was in attendance and discussing Fitness Fridays, an initiative created to promote health and wellness.

NIRPC is a regional council of local governments that serve La Porte, Lake and Porter counties. The acronym stands for Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission. The Ped, Pedal & Paddle Committee, which has its meetings conducted in the NIRPC building, is dedicated to the betterment of non motorized transportation environments and policies. The meeting was started off by Tim Morgan, Superintendant of La Porte County Parks and Vice Chair for the committee. He quickly got down to business and introduced Mayor Milo. She was all smiles as she confidently stood up to speak.

Mayor Milo explained what Fitness Fridays was and what progress had been made so far. Fitness Fridays is a weekly event that happens every Friday afternoon at the La Porte YMCA. People come and take part in a non competitive 5k walk/run on a route laid out within the city.

“People don’t have to go the full distance,” Mayor Milo explained. “We don’t want anyone to feel intimidated. We’re trying to promote an environment of inclusion. It’s a pretty neat program and I’ve enjoyed it. We’ve had such a good response. It’s bigger that I thought, and it’s neat to see people that challenge themselves. [Fitness Friday] creates a positive tone for the weekend and we want to keep a routine so it becomes ingrained in people’s lifestyles.”

Mayor Milo along with Cindy Berchem, CEO and Executive Director of the La Porte County YMCA, and G. Thor Thordarson, President and CEO of IU Health La Porte Hospital and other individuals got together create Fitness Fridays. The event began March 30, 2012 and runs through September 28, 2012. Its popularity has grown so much that each Friday about 200 to 250 people show up to participate. Mayor Milo hopes to keep the initiative going and expanding.

“I’d like to continue into the winter with the same route until it gets too cold,” she said. “And we don’t want to limit it to only running. The most feedback that I’ve gotten is from people who want to know about the bike piece. There are lots of cyclists in the community.”

Mayor Milo went on to say that she’d like to start up another event next year called The Festival of the Lakes. It will be an event full of activities such as paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, water skiing, as well as other fun things to do.

After the mayor was finished with her presentation, the meeting continued and other items were discussed like Regional Priority Corridors Map Amendments, an update on the NWI Paddling Association, miscellaneous issues and other concerns and announcements.

I was able to catch up to Mayor Milo after the meeting and she happily spoke with me about what she hopes to achieve with Fitness Fridays.

“We want to promote positive lifestyle choices, encourage positive activities, and create a network that provides support for positive mental and physical health,” Mayor Milo said. “I’m thrilled to be here at Ped Pedal & Paddle. The meeting was great. They are an easy crowd and fun to work with!”

At this point, everyone is thrilled because of the positive impact that Fitness Fridays has had on the community. Hopefully, the numbers continue to grow and keep Fitness Fridays a regular event that positively impacts the community for many years to come.

To find out more about NIRPC and the Ped Pedal & Paddle Committee click here!

For more about Fitness Fridays and Mayor Blair Milo check out her Facebook page by clicking here!

{laporte}Click here to see more great photos from the meeting!!{/laporte}

{portage}Click here to see more great photos from the meeting!!{/portage}