What do you get when you take a healthy eating, active living conference to the Pee Dee? You get the largest gathering of public health and community coalition partners ever!
With more than 219 people in attendance, Florence and the Pee Dee were the hosts of the 2019 Leadership Summit for Healthy Communities, and it did not disappoint! More than half of those in attendance (56%) were there for the first time, and the Pee Dee accounted for 31 percent of the audience with organizations having a statewide presence coming in at the top at 33 percent.
“A few of our goals in having the Summit in Florence was to reach communities in the Pee Dee, spotlight their work through some of the breakout sessions, and to broaden our reach across the state,” said Meg Stanley, executive director at Eat Smart Move More South Carolina. “We are very pleased to have met our goals, and we look forward to partnering with not just those in the Pee Dee, but with all of our new and existing partners to reduce obesity and chronic disease rates in South Carolina.”
Out of the 15 breakout sessions offered, four sessions focused on healthy eating and active living initiatives happening in the Pee Dee region. All other breakout sessions addressed strategies that can be duplicated in any area of the state – whether partially or completely. One of the most popular breakout sessions came from Growing COB (Calhoun, Orangeburg, Bamberg), a community coalition that has successfully built and sustained community gardens in the rural, underserved tri-county area through partnerships and leveraging resources.
One attendee said, “Excellent work. The information shared and photos provided makes it evident that Growing COB is an effective program. This presentation has indeed sparked great interest for me to advocate for community garden opportunities! I was truly blessed as well as inspired by such a worthwhile and much needed opportunity for communities to thrive!!!”
Evaluation is a key component in any project and event of this magnitude. Along with the Leadership Summit Planning Committee, ESMMSC will use the collected data to plan future Summits, ensure event content aligns with the needs of the community, and better communicate with our partners and community coalitions. The information will also be used to plan webinars and other opportunities throughout the year.
What topics can you look forward to seeing during a webinar, workshop, or future Leadership Summit? Those surveyed said Funding and Leveraging Resources, Youth Engagement, and Capacity Building. The 2020 Leadership Summit for Healthy Communities date and location will be announced soon. Keep your eyes open and be ready to mark your calendar!