Get Fit Iredell planning a year of fun, fitness activities

Posted at 8:08 AM on Sep 20, 2017


From left: Jerry Campbell (Partners Behavioral Health), Elizabeth Browning (Lowes YMCA), Richard Griggs (Statesville Parks and Recreation), Janie Stikeleather (Davis Regional Hospital), Kim Stikeleather (Girl Scouts), Megan Redford (Iredell County Health Department), Mitzi McCurdy (Lake Norman Regional Hospital), Sara Lewis (United Way of Iredell County), Jeff Taylor (Piedmont HealthCare), Gina Williams (Statesville YMCA), Brett Eckerman (United Way of Iredell County), Michelle Hepler (Iredell County Parks and Recreation Department), Amy Spear (Girls on the Run of the Piedmont), Missy Jablonski (Iredell County Partnership for Young Children), and Emily Watson (Troutman Parks and Recreation).


Three years ago while conducting a community-needs assessment, Iredell County Health Department and United Way representatives looked at the county’s mortality data.

What they discovered was alarming: The seven leading causes of death in the county were from chronic, preventable diseases caused by poor fitness and diet choices.

“We targeted in on this as a leverage point,” said Brett Eckerman, executive director of United Way of Iredell County. “We were trying to find places where we could get a big bang for the buck, where a little bit of extra effort can move the needle.

“If we could get more people active and engaged in healthy activities, we’re really going to change a whole lot of negative outcomes in the county,” added Eckerman. “We focused in on fitness along with several key partners and said let’s try to improve the percentage of adults who are involved in regular physical activity in Iredell County."

From that research and early discussions, Get Fit Iredell was created.

“The hope is that people will get out, get active, try something new and then incorporate it in their lives,” said Eckerman. “The kickball event was something fun and a one-time deal, but our hope is that families and individuals will say, ‘I enjoyed doing that with my work buddies, my neighbors, or my church group’ and will go out and start mirroring that more often in their daily lives.”

The group is also working on some structural projects throughout the county to encourage outdoor activity. They recently helped with efforts to install sunshades at the playground at Troutman’s ESC Park and to make improvements on the Statesville Greenway, eventually including some Fit Stations along the route.


The representatives from various Iredell County agencies and organizations met at Troutman Town Hall last Thursday to work on plans for this year’s Get Fit Iredell events, which include fun and fitness for the whole family.

The group is distributing postcards and signing up folks at events like Friday After Five to increase participation and awareness of the group’s events and efforts.

The kickoff event for this year was a kickball tournament. Statesville Recreation and Parks program director Richard Griggs reported that the six teams had a great time competing while indulging in some friendly trash talk.

Suggestions to increase participation next year included more publicity, including social media challenges to other groups to field teams, and having separate kids’ activities, such as a Kids Zone or drop-in kickball game. Connecting the event to a food drive or other charitable venture was another idea.

Several members suggested adding the Get Fit Iredell logo to their individual organization’s events to increase Get Fit Iredell’s name recognition for marketing purposes. Unofficial events sponsored by the partners’ organizations and agencies should also be sent in to the Get Fit Iredell website and shared to the Facebook page to promote participation in physical fitness activities.

Keeping its Facebook page and website frequently updated with Get Fit Iredell activities as well as additional county partners’ fitness events is a work in progress, according to Eckerman. The group’s partners hope its internet presence will eventually become the easy access sites for the all county’s recreational activities and help increase the numbers of folks involved in fun, enjoyable events.

The group also wants to set up tables at community festivals and events to further promote Get Fit Iredell.


The next official Get Fit Iredell event is a free yoga class at both Davis and Lake Norman Regional Medical Centers on November 8. From 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., a chair exercise class will be offered, followed by yoga fundamentals from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Participants who have yoga mats are asked to bring them, but mats will be available for those who need them.

A dodgeball tourney is planned for late January or early February, followed by an Arbor Day dance event on April 21 and a Family Frenzy event in May.


Iredell County Parks and Recreation Director Michelle Hepler is seeking volunteers to help with its events at the Carolina Jubliee on September 29-30 at the Van Hoy Farms in Harmony. The festival, featuring 18 bands and other activities, benefits the Carolina Farm Trust, which works to protect farmland, help small farmers, and foster an ecosystem of sustainable farming.

ICRD needs volunteers to help run its kids’ zone, including a corn pit, corn hole, milking stations, and hay bale maze, on Friday and Saturday, and for the 5K and 10K races on Saturday morning. Contact Hepler at or call 704-878-3103 to volunteer.


Last year United Way of Iredell County, Iredell Health System, Kewaunee Scientific Corporation, Piedmont Healthcare, Iredell County Health Department and Frutel helped sponsor the organization. The group is currently seeking to gain new sponsors for this coming year.

Iredell County, Statesville and Troutman’s recreation departments, Statesville and Lowes YMCAs, Lowes YMCA, Lake Norman and Davis Regional Medical Centers, the Boy and Girl Scouts, Girls on the Run, the Town of Mooresville, Faithful Steps, Partners Behavioral Health, and the Iredell County Partnership for Young Children also collaborate and contribute to support this partnership.


Visit or check out the Facebook page at


The next Get Fit Iredell meeting is on Thursday, October 12, at 10:30 a.m. at Troutman Town Hall. Groups interested in supporting the coalition are invited to get involved. Contact Vice Chair Emily Watson at for more information.

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