In an intertribal-city collaboration, the Eastern Sierra has joined a countrywide healthy living trend intended to promote community wellness for all.
There will be a grand unveiling of the Eastern Sierra’s first outdoor exercise center, located in Bishop City Park, a gift to the entire community from the Board of Directors of the Toiyabe Indian Health Project.
In this unique setting, people can workout while surveying the grandeur of the White and Sierra mountain ranges, the progress of the community garden and of the pink and white spring blossoms at the park’s edge.
The grand opening ceremony for the outdoor exercise center will be held at 2 p.m. this Saturday, April 6 near the corner of Hanby Street and Park Avenue across the street from the Bishop Senior Center. Anticipating good attendance at the event, TIHP Director of Preventive Medicine Dr. Rick Frey said it “should be quite a day at the park since it is the opening of the Little League baseball season. There may be 3,000 people in the park that day.”
Saturday’s event commemorates the completion of a successful collaborative effort.
“Toiyabe Indian Health Project’s Board of Directors, comprised of representatives from Indian communities in both Mono and Inyo counties, approved the expenditures of funds from Toiyabe’s Community Transformation Grant to construct the Bishop City Park outdoor exercise center as a gesture of its friendship with the City of Bishop and as a symbol of its commitment to improve the health of all people who live, work and play in the Eastern Sierra,” said Frey.
Virgil “Dave” Moose, the Big Pine Paiute Tribe’s chairman and vice-chairman of the TIHP Board of Directors, George Gholson, chairman of the Timbisha-Shoshone Tribe of Death Valley, and other tribal representatives are expected to attend the grand opening, TIHP Assistant Director Christie Martindale said. She, Frey, TIHP Executive Director David Lent and other TIHP staff will be present, as will City of Bishop City Administrator Keith Caldwell, Mayor Laura Smith and other City Council members.
TIHP Community Wellness Program Coordinator Kate Morley said the ceremony portion of the event should be “short and sweet.” After introductory remarks by officials, there will be a ribbon cutting but the main focus of the event will be a demonstration/walkthrough of the brand new 20-station outdoor gym. Frey, with the help of Crossfit’s Paul Elia, will show the safe and correct use of each workout station and the muscle groups that each one works, Morley said.
The $60,000 station was scheduled to open in January, however two components from the original shipment were damaged en route from the factory, Frey explained. They were only received late last month. “Now that those components have been replaced, everything is operating as it should.” Instruction stickers have been posted on each station and the shade structure is up again, Martindale added.
TIHP applied for and obtained a Community Transformation Grant from the Centers for Disease Control, Frey said. “Toiyabe and its leadership team made the decision to utilize a portion of last year’s grant funds to partner” with the city. “The decision was approved by the Toiyabe Board of Directors, which is made up of representatives of the tribal communities which it serves.”
TIHP serves seven federally-recognized tribes and two Indian communities, Martindale said, and its board is comprised of representatives from the federally-recognized tribes.
Morley explained that the Community Transformation Grant funds the Community Wellness Program which has three key focus areas: active living and healthy eating, tobacco-free living and improved clinical and preventive services.
The outdoor gym is a part of that active living and healthy eating component and if the outdoor gym “is popular, we hope to consider installing more in other (tribal and city) locations throughout our service area,” Morley said. Although the Community Wellness Program’s top priority is tribal communities,” she said, the gym “is really a neat opportunity for the tribal community, in particular, and the entire community to benefit from this work. We hope that it is the first of many such collaborations.
“It’s exciting that Toiyabe is partnering with the city,” Morley added. “We hope the outdoor exercise center is popular and that a lot of people use, enjoy and benefit from it. It’s a growing trend across the country to install this kind of equipment which people and their families can use in all kinds of weather and on their own schedules.”