Inspiring Active Communities in Northern Michigan: Norte Expanding to Kalkaska

While organized sports have their place, a northern Michigan organization believes that embedding walking and biking into daily life are critical to health and can empower young people and families to embrace a physically active lifestyle.

Norte’s programming has been embraced in Traverse City, Elk Rapids and Northport and thanks to support from the Northern Michigan Community Health Innovation Region, the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, it will soon spread to Kalkaska.

Norte executive director Ty Schmidt said the Kalkaska Strong Project will bring the same successful blueprint the organization has used in other schools and communities to encourage local champions of walkability in Kalkaska. Through engaging, impactful and fun programs, Schmidt said kids can learn that physical activity can and should be part of everyday life. That change in mindset can then inspire the adults around them to get on board.

“We’re excited to bring it to Kalkaska,” Schmidt said.

“Norte is making such an impact in northern Michigan communities,” said Suzanne Miller Allen, director of Community Responsibility at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “Ty and his team are showing the next generation to include activity in their daily lives.”

Programs offered by Norte include:

  • Safe Routes to School:Encouragement and educational programs empowering students to actively get themselves to school.
  • Pro Walk/Pro Bike Advocacy:Building stronger, better connected and more walk/bike friendly communities.
  • Youth mountain bike team:Developing confidence, independence and grit by way of pedal-powered adventures in northern Michigan forests.
  • Youth leadership councilAssisting self-directed young people to speak up, stand up, get involved and do good in their community.

If you’re interested in learning more or helping Norte expand to Kalkaska, there’s more information and a sign-up at their website.

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Photo credit: Nadezhda 1906

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