Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES (Board of Cooperative Educational Services) is dedicated to providing wellness opportunities to people across 25 different school districts in the area. With a variety of programs serving all ages, BOCES has to cover an extremely wide range of needs and interests. Despite the array of specialized activities, BOCES wanted to provide something relaxing, inexpensive and available to anyone. With that in mind, the wellness meetups around Finger Lakes are the perfect opportunity to enjoy a leisurely stroll with family and friends.
The amount of career opportunities and learning programs provided by BOCES is immense. By collaborating with school districts across several counties, PK-16 students have been equipped with tools and technology that not only supplement their learning now but prepare them with future-forward opportunities. BOCES’ reach doesn’t stop there.
They also provide a plethora of career and learning programs for adults. BOCES aims to create a foundation of success for everyone and that includes health and well-being. Wellness coordinators around the districts wanted an event that could bridge the gap between the spectrum of services offered. Something accessible enough to be enjoyed by anyone inclined to join. Jennifer Meehan, a physical education instructor and wellness committee member, says it was a unique challenge to plan wellness activities for how far reaching BOCES is.
“Because we are such a large organization, we wanted to offer an activity we could all do together,” Meehan says.
The solution to their dilemma was rather simple: Monthly wellness meet-ups across different parts of the region. The biggest deterrent to wellness initiatives, Meehan states, were cost and availability. Most of the planned meetups so far have been walking events, which come at no cost to participants. As for widening availability, people are encouraged to bring their families to these meetups. For many, the convenience of including the whole family makes it much easier to commit.
Paula Mencucci, a physical therapist and wellness coordinator in Newark, explaines that these meetups are meant to get people active and bring BOCES members together. With 25 component districts covered by BOCES, Mencucci says this is a unique opportunity to network and socialize with people you don’t get to see on a regular basis.
The other main objective is to get people outside and active. Not only are these wellness meetups an easy way to get exercise, but they allow residents to explore the beautiful trails that make up the Finger Lakes area. With a surplus of lakeside trails to choose from, the BOCES meetups won’t have any shortage of spots to get the blood pumping and take in the beautiful scenery.
With several meetups under their belt, the wellness team has continued to plan a handful of future events. A lot of the ideas are dependent on Mother Nature, but BOCES is committed to keeping their plans flexible. Some future meetups include ice-skating in February, as well as waterfront walks around Geneva and Canandaigua once spring rolls around.
While these meetups have just started to get the ball rolling, the coming months look to be a productive time for the BOCES wellness team. As more and more people get involved, the team can take pride in what they’re offering to the community at large.
“Personally I enjoy seeing the participation increase,” Mencucci says. “I know that the effort we put in is worth it.”
Keep an eye out for updates on the wellness meetups through the BOCES newsletter or from your district’s wellness coordinator.