Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Steps for Schools walking challenge kicks off

| February 3, 2024 1:00 AM

Nearly 70 percent of Idaho legislators are participating in the annual Steps for Schools walking challenge, a program of the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health that promotes the importance of being physically active.

All District 1 legislators are taking part in the annual challenge. The trio — Sen. Scott Herndon, Rep. Sage Dixon, and Rep. Mark Sauter — are among the roughly 70 percent of the state’s legislators who are taking part in Steps for School.

Sauter said his reasons for signing up to take part in Steps for School are simple — to help students in his district.

“I signed up so a donation would be made to our schools,” Sauter said. “Plain and simple.”

Dixon has been involved in the program throughout his legislative career. For the first nine years, the funds he raised went to Farmin-Stidwell Elementary toward construction of the school’s playground. With the project now complete, his efforts will go toward projects at Kootenai Elementary.

“This has been a great program to participate in and has shown real benefits for students in District 1,” Dixon said.

In addition to members of the Idaho Legislature, the state controller, state treasurer and secretary of state are taking part in the annual challenge. As part of Steps for Schools, the legislators and state officials will try to reach a daily step during the month of February to earn money for the public school, public school district or public charter school of their choice. The schools can use those funds to purchase equipment or sponsor programming that encourages children to be active, foundation officials said.

“We appreciate the 75 legislators and constitutional officers who are making a commitment to walk for the benefit of Idaho schools,” said Kendra Witt-Doyle, executive director of Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health. “Walking is one of the best things that people can do for their health. These participants have incredibly busy schedules, so this challenge reminds them and provides another good reason to be active. The Idaho schools are grateful for the support of the officials walking in Steps for Schools.”

Participants have two options in Steps for Schools. They can walk an average of 5,000 steps a day during February to earn $500 for the school or district. Or they can walk an average of 10,000 steps a day during February to earn $1,000 for the school or district of their choice.

Senators and representatives from 34 of Idaho’s 35 legislative districts are registered, making Steps for Schools a challenge that will positively impact nearly all of Idaho. The list of participants is on the next page.

Steps for Schools delivered $48,000 to Idaho schools in 2023. Since the program began in 2015, more than $269,000 has been awarded to Idaho schools on behalf of participating legislators.