Operation Fit started in 2014 as a small initiative at two schools with big aspirations. Since then, it has been established as a Battle Creek Family YMCA Program that is generously funded by CHP, and has grown into something truly spectacular.
A Powerful Collaboration
The Operation Fit program was developed as a collaboration between Bronson Battle Creek, Battle Creek Family YMCA, Battle Creek Community Foundation, and Population Health Alliance, along with community agencies, organizations, and philanthropic community members. Although it only began in two buildings—Valley View and Fremont Elementary Schools within Battle Creek Public Schools—it has grown astronomically over the years.
The program’s goal is to decrease the rate of childhood obesity in Calhoun County through hands-on activities, access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and policy changes in the schools to support healthy lifestyles—all while having fun and setting students up for success throughout their lives.
The School Wellness Award
Even in 2020, a year of unimaginable challenges associated with COVID-19, the teachers, students, staff, families, and community partners of Operation Fit managed to rally together for a healthier future. These incredible efforts did not go unnoticed.
The School Wellness Award (SWA) recognizes schools that are making significant policy and environmental improvements in their environment related to healthy eating, physical activity, and tobacco-free lifestyles.
The SWA is sponsored by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, in partnership with the Michigan Department of Education, United Dairy Industry of Michigan, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. These partners want to honor schools that are working hard to create healthier school environments.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services recognized 28 schools throughout the state with the School Wellness Award (SWA) for supporting healthy lifestyle choices among students during the 2020–2021 school year.
Among those awardees, all eight Operation Fit schools earned recognition for their efforts to improve their wellness environments. Gold Level status schools included:
- Dudley STEM
- Fremont International Academy
- LaMora Park
- Pennfield North
- Post Franklin
- Pennfield Purdy
- Valley View
Ann J. Kellogg School earned a Silver Level award.
A History of Success
The Operation Fit program is hardly new to success. In 2019, Operation Fit, amongst other community health initiatives, helped Battle Creek become recognized as an All-America City Winner. In 2018, Operation Fit partnered with FireKeepers Casino Hotel and The Fire Hub restaurant and local food pantry, with the common goal of wanting to help the community and improve the lives of kids. They did just that and more. Together, they provided a whopping 50,000 pounds of produce and 2,300 cases of snacks to seven schools and daycares during the 2018–2019 school year alone.
Population Health Alliance is honored to work with the students, staff, and families of these eight schools who work hard to educate students about the importance of living healthy lifestyles.
We thank everyone involved for the hard work and commitment that allowed this recognition to happen, especially in such challenging times. We look forward to many more school years of success and wellness for all!