Community center promotes Great Arkansas Walk-About
By Haley Schichtl
The Berryville Community Center has been encouraging everyone to keep exercising, even if it isn’t actually at the center. The “Great Arkansas Walk-About” challenges people to go for walks while educating them about Arkansas’s 52 state parks.
Program and financial director Renée Allison said the program started Saturday, Aug. 15, and there are currently about 12 people participating so far through the community center.
“Arkansas Tourism has been very helpful in providing materials along the way,” she said.
Participants will receive information on the history and attractions of each park as they virtually walk to them, as well as other incentives including stickers and a key ring.
The first stop is Withrow Springs Park, which is a 33.6-mile walk, and the final stop is Bull Shoals State Park before the 75.6 miles back to the community center.
“You put your FitBit on, or choose some way of keeping track of the distance you walked that day, and keep a log of that,” Allison said. “We have a big map on display in our main hallway, and you get a pushpin with your sticker on it. Nobody knows who you are, but you can tell what your distance is.”
Once participants report to her how many miles they walked each day, Allison moves their pushpin along the map. Allison said that the farthest a participant has walked so far is about 260 miles. When someone completes the map, they will have walked 2,161.2 miles total.
“Really, this is something that’s not a race; it’s something people can join any time,” she said. “It’s a personal challenge for you. We just want people to have some motivation and hopefully collect some great information along the way.”
Allison said that walking is not only a great exercise, but a good thing for people to do if they want to get out of the house while maintaining social distancing.
“It’s a great way to keep your body moving,” she said. “It’s so easy to feel like you’re stuck in your house and can’t do anything, but you can always go out and walk down your road. We have wonderful sidewalks and the weather has been really nice.”
Participants also can create a team so they can push each other to walk, and the community center will track the team’s progress as well as each individuals’.
The community center reopened on Sept. 8 after being closed for six months, and some classes are scheduled to resume this week.
“We are taking precautions, so we feel like it’s safe to come in and walk around our indoor walking track,” Allison said. “Everything gets disinfected throughout the day. We ask that people wear a mask when they’re not actively exercising.”
She said she feels as if the community has been cautious, and the building hasn’t been too full to keep anyone from maintaining a good distance from others.
“We have picked up this week and are busier,” Allison said. “We feel like people have been cautious and taken things slowly, but now they’re getting more comfortable and back into a routine.”
If anyone has questions about the Walk-About or would like to sign up, they can email Allison at email@example.com.