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County, YMCA hailed for healthy programs
Kerry Carithers, left, of Forsyth County Family YMCA receives an award from Anderson Flen of District 2 Public Health during the 2014 Celebrate Healthy North Georgia celebration at the Lanier Technical College Forsyth Conference Center. - photo by Crystal Ledford

At a glance

2014 Celebrate Healthy North Georgia award recipients

* Forsyth County government

* Forsyth County Family YMCA

* Gainesville Housing Authority

* Family Life Center, First Baptist Church of Gainesville

* Hamilton Gardens, Hiawassee

* Good News Clinic

* Activate4kids, Hall County Schools

* Royston Housing community garden

* The Redbud Project: A Model for Conservation

* Spout Springs School of Enrichment

* North Georgia Health Systems Wellness Program

* Hart County community garden

* Hall Expanded Food & Nutrition Education Program

* Evans Oglesby Foundation education and wellness programs

* White County Schools 21stCentury Learning Center

* North Hall Middle School

* Farm-to-School pilot program, Hilliard A. Wilbanks Middle School

* City of Clayton community garden

* Glory Seeds Farm

* Emmanuel College

* Lumpkin County Parks and Recreation Department


Source: District 2 Public Health

Forsyth County government and the Forsyth County Family YMCA were among 21 northeast Georgia organizations honored Thursday for encouraging healthy behaviors.

Representatives from the groups each received awards during the 2014 Celebrate Healthy North Georgia celebration at the Lanier Technical College Forsyth Conference Center.

The local government was honored for its environmental policies regarding parks, sidewalks and green spaces that contribute to a healthier community.

“The county is growing and changing so rapidly, yet the leadership and administration continue to do a great job making healthier places to work, live and play for all their residents,” said Dave Palmer, public information officer for District 2 Public Health.

He added that the local YMCA was selected “because it is one of the leading organizations in Forsyth County that meets the physical activity needs of every demographic age group in the community.”

Begun last year, the program is a part of District 2 Public Health’s Celebrate Healthy North Georgia initiative. The effort aims to get the 13-county region to focus on healthy behaviors such as better nutrition, more exercise, reducing stress and getting regular medical check-ups.

Besides the Forsyth organizations, some of the other honorees included community gardens, low-cost health clinics, food programs and parks and recreation departments.

The gathering brought the award recipients and other health-focused agencies throughout the region together to share ideas and take part in seminars.

Anderson Flen with District 2 Public Health said this year’s format was altered slightly to allow more networking and educational experiences.

“Last year we only offered seminars in the morning, but this year we decided to change things up and provide seminars in the morning and the afternoon,” Flen said. “We had a lot of people saying after last year’s event that they would have enjoyed being able to attend more of the seminars.”

Among the seminar topics were worksite wellness, impacting communities with gardens, tools to manage chronic disease and investing in education to improve quality of life.

Kathy Echols and Logan Thomas, both with Forsyth County government, said they enjoyed the expanded format because it allowed them to visit with more people.

“We got a lot of great information from the workshops that we can take back to the rest of Forsyth County wellness committee,” said Thomas, adding that the group helps keep county workers up to date on health information.

Added Echols: “It’s great to get to spend some time with members of the other agencies throughout the region and share different ideas.”