Kodiak to Discuss Community Issues and Goals at Planning Day this Winter

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

An event this winter will bring Kodiak community members together to collaborate and brainstorm on issues it would like to solve and improve upon within the community.

Kodiak Strong Planning Day is organized through Healthy Tomorrows, a grant-funded group governed by a steering committee with members from organizations around town. Its Community Wellness Coordinator, Merissa Koller-Williams, says this is the first time Kodiak will host a planning day like this one and it’s meant to be organic for those involved.

“They share their ideas about what sort of citizen driven healthy initiatives can help improve the community and then their ideas are split into different categories, so nutrition, physical activity, protective factors, and then there’s kinda like a group of random ideas, and those groups break out and they talk about their ideas. And then the large group comes back together and everyone has 30 or 40 seconds to pitch the idea to the group.”

She says the large group will have a facilitator, and she’s scouting for facilitators for the individual groups too. She says they will serve as guides and will need to be neutral.
“To not put your own spin or your own initiatives or the plan. Keep things moving and keep things positive is a really strong trait in a facilitator that’s probably gonna be necessary here. They don’t get to vote, they don’t get to provide any explanations, they are just literally there to help people make a plan that can be completed in the next 365 days.”

Koller-Williams says the facilitator for the large group, Doug Osborne, comes from the initiative Kodiak Strong Planning Day is modeled after: the Sitka Health Summit’s Planning Day. She says she and a member of the Healthy Tomorrows steering committee visited Sitka to attend its Planning Day about two weeks ago.

“It was one of the most positive community experiences I’ve ever been a part of, and Doug does a really great job of not only keeping things moving, but really keeping things positive and reminding people we’re here to improve them, improve us, improve quality of life in Sitka, and I’m hoping that we’re able to bring that to this event.”

She says it will be called Kodiak Strong Planning Day in part to distinguish it from its Sitka-based inspiration.
“The Sitka Health Summit is actually the organization that puts on their community planning day, so somehow it got sort of translated here that we were gonna have our own health summit, but it’s technically a planning day as put on by Healthy Tomorrow. So, we wanted to give the event a name that explained it, but also gave it an inspirational undertone.”

Koller-Williams says the Planning Day also went through a date change.

“Originally the event was going to be November 12, but after visiting the Sitka Health Summit, we found that the college would be the best venue. It offers a large room where the whole group can gather and it has all the audio-visual components that we’ll need, and it also offers break-up space for smaller groups.”    

She says it was not available on the desired date, and they were reluctant to schedule the Planning Day for November 11 since it’s Veteran’s Day, so they settled on Wednesday, December 2 as the next date that worked for those involved.
Koller-Williams says the event will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Kodiak College and they’re capping the event at 50 people, so she says those interested should pre-register.

Go to the Healthy Tomorrows Facebook page for more information.

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