by Rana Fayez
Maj. gen. Francis Vavala is the longest serving adj. gen. in the United States and has served under three different governors for the past 16 years. Delaware Business got the chance to sit down with maj. gen. Francis Vavala to get to know the man behind the uniform.
DB: How long have you been with the Delaware National Guard?
MGV: It feels like forever, I was a “guard brat” growing up. My father was a World War II veteran of the U.S. Army. He came back as master sergeant and used the G.I. Bill to go to college, where he received a degree in economics from Wharton School of Business. He continued on to work for the State and joined the Delaware National Guard about the time I was born in 1947. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Delaware National Guard, which began his career and effectively my career as well. As a kid I would follow him around everywhere, he would take me to play at the armories.
I can remember the National Guard in the in the 1950s and beyond, my father introduced me to the organization as it was a rite of passage for me to join. He retired as a colonel. In 1967, I joined and served for three years as an enlisted soldier. In 1969, I went to officer candidate school, graduated and received my commission in June of 1970. My total official service is 48 years. In reality, it probably goes back to almost 60 years.
DB: At what moment did you decide you wanted to be a member of the National Guard?
MGV: That’s difficult to determine because it was ingrained, it was expected. It just happened. It was a rite of passage. Initially, I never thought that my career would span 48 plus years, when I first joined the organization it was a six year term for the enlisted people. I thought I would serve the time I signed up for and leave soon after, but I stayed. It might be my interpretation of the old Army phrase, “be all that you can be” and went to officer candidate school. You catch that fire and desire to exceed expectations and be all that you can be. Be the best platoon leader, be the company commander. You do everything you can. But the real important thing about this is the story shouldn’t focus on me, it’s not about me. It’s larger than life. It’s about service, it’s about the Delaware National Guard. It’s about the young people that sit in these seats right here, these great Americans. They inspired me, they keep the old man going. They tolerate me and that really helps to motivate and continue to drive me.
All of us do all that we can every day to make the Delaware National Guard better. We’ve done a lot to make the Delaware National Guard more visible and valued in the State and in our local communities because our folks willingly get out there and they’re woven into the fabric of our community, they’re visible and people appreciate it. Today’s National Guard unlike the one I remember. Post-WWII up to Desert Storm, the National Guard was a strategic reserve. Even then, it was not as equipped as its strategic counterparts. We used to get a lot of antiquated hand- me-downs and we worked with what we had. In our case, the Army and Navy realized they couldn’t complete Desert Storm without us. We started to get the same type of training and equipment as our counterparts. After 9/11 the country realized that there was no way they can condone this multifaceted asymmetric war that we were involved in without the men and women of our national guard. That became a new-found training and equipment, a new-found respect for our formations. It’s all because the great job our men and women have done since 9/11.
Currently, we have the best equipped, best trained and most veteran force we have ever had in our National Guard. We are the hometown force with the global reach. The fact of the matter, this is what our citizens both at the local and national level, we do it at a fraction of the cost that our counterparts do. We do not operate out of huge facilities with golf courses and bowling alleys. We operate out of a small compact base without a lot of accouterments, we have the ability to serve to meet the nation’s needs. We live and we work in the local community. We’re a part of your church group, your exercise group. You only use us when you need us, so you’re only paying for it on an active basis when the country calls.
We have that two-fold mission to fight the nation’s wars overseas and under a state emergency in Delaware. We report directly to the Governor, he can activate the National Guard for a national emergency.
We are the hometown force with the global reach.
The fact that there’s an opportunity here in the guard to serve your state and nation and to pursue a career in your field in whatever you desire is amazing. Where else can you serve your nation and your state, wear the uniform on the weekends and then go back to the civilian sector? You come out and you’re trained, you bring the great skills you’ve acquired in the civilian sector to benefit you while you’re in uniform. There’s military skill and there’s also ancillary skills that can be combined here and overseas. I’m proud to be a guardsman. Best organization in the world.
DB: What was your most defining moment?
MGV: I am three ranks higher than I ever thought I would be. My appointment as the adj. gen. and promotion to maj. gen. is pretty major, that would probably have to be the big meaningful moment. Prior to that was the decision to become an officer and get a commission.
DB: What is your favorite moment in your career so far?
MGV: The real underscoring of my career was rising to the command level, it was one of those things that I really enjoyed being a staff officer. Being a platoon leader and such. The higher up you go, the less interactions you have with your staff. It comes with the job, you try to get out as much as you can, but you’re insulated. Even when you go out, you’re shown what people want you to see, not so much what you need to see. It’s the nature of the position that you become more insulated and detached. The job pulls you elsewhere I guess. Wherever I am, I make sure I’m representing the National Guard in the best way possible.
The National Guard has the responsibility of both the nation and state, we’re more grassroots than our counterparts. We’re more connected and that makes us so much more valuable and successful in emergency situations in the state. We know the first line of emergency responders by name, they know us and have confidence in us. It makes us much more effective to be able to assist the state because of the relationships and networks we build.
DB: If you could give advice to someone who wants to follow your footsteps, what would you say?
MGV: If you seriously want to serve your country and your state and you’re not sure of how you want to do it, you want to pursue a civilian career, it’s the best possible job in America. Any of us in uniform are always glad to talk to anyone about service in uniform. All the benefits that come with military service are available to all the members of the National Guard with Army and Air. Young people don’t always look at retirement, but I can tell you that you decide to make a career out of the military service with the guard, you have healthcare opportunities, you have educational opportunities, there are so many benefits that are associated with our service that just are not as available as they used to be in corporate America. We have the best plans.
Never did I think back in 1967 I’d still be here in 2015 serving the National Guard of Delaware. It ain’t about me; it’s about this great organization.
by Ken Anderson
The Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO) has recently partnered with One Million by One Million (1M/1M), a global, virtual accelerator. Together, DEDO and 1M/1M will provide wider resources and deeper support to Delaware entrepreneurs.
Founded by Silicon Valley-based serial entrepreneur, Sramana Mitra, 1M/1M’s Premium Program offers a comprehensive online curriculum, online mentoring and strategy consulting, virtual introductions to customers and channel partners. If deemed fundable, the business is introduced to investors.
Why this partnership?
First, not all serious entrepreneurs can participate in a physical, brick and mortar, incubator/accelerator. Second, 1M/1M’s totally, virtual, global incubator retains some of the best entrepreneurial education, mentorship and customer development support available, including that found in physical locations. Third, this is a valuable tool for serious entrepreneurs who are working full- and part-time jobs while developing, building and growing their entrepreneurial dreams during off hours.
After researching program for more than a year, DEDO determined that 1M/1M is a viable, highly-credible, global and totally virtual opportunity for Delaware’s entrepreneurs. Offering this unique support and mentorship program allows entrepreneurs to flexibility to continue to bootstrap their businesses while earning a paycheck.
During DEDO’s application process, a selection committee will review applications and select serious entrepreneurial businesses to participate in 1M/1M’s Premium Program. The rolling selection process will continue until 10 entrepreneurs have been selected.
As part of this partnership, DEDO will utilize funds designated for entrepreneurial initiatives to cover the $1,000 premium membership fee for 10 Delaware-based entrepreneurs. The agency will track the participant’s progress quarterly during the one year program.
Interested entrepreneurs are invited to apply online, visit http://de.gov/59e
by Matt Amis
Ernie Dianastasis—perhaps more than ever—is eager to go back to school this fall.
The longtime business leader and education advocate serves as chairman of the Vision Coalition Leadership Team, a cadre of local influencers who work collaboratively and cooperatively to improve Delaware schools.
This month, the coalition releases Student Success 2025. Like its well-known predecessor, Vision 2015, Student Success 2025 is an ambitious 10-year plan designed to boost Delaware’s public education system to world-class status.
Delaware Business caught up with Dianastasis—who, when he’s not leading his CAI (Computer Aid, Inc.) global IT firm, also leads the Delaware Business Roundtable Education Committee—to talk about the plan and the vision for the future of Delaware schools.
Tell us about a little about Student Success 2025.
This is a 10-year vision for public education in Delaware. We started back in 2014 by asking a question: What are the skills and attributes that an educated Delawarean needs to have by the year 2025?—and worked backward from there to develop the strategies to achieve that vision. And we’re not just jumping straight to 2025—these are issues we can begin working on today.
The plan itself deals primarily with six core areas: quality early learning, personalized learning, postsecondary and career attainment, educator support, school funding, and governance. The thinking is, by aligning those six areas better, Delaware can build a more modern and seamless education system, and our kids can take advantage of that in numerous ways.
So whose vision is this, exactly?
The ideas in this report don’t come from me. They don’t come from the Department of Education. Over the last few years, our group talked and collaborated with more than 4,000 Delawareans—including 1,300 students. They reached out online, in surveys, at community meetings, cups of coffee—you name it. The people of Delaware told us where they think we need to go as a state. They told us their hopes for providing more social and emotional support for kids, and for more collaboration between families and schools. And the kids themselves said they wanted more real-life career experiences and flexibility in their school experience. We took the student input very seriously. They’re at the center of this whole thing.
We also called upon leading experts in Delaware, across the country, and around the world—to help inform our thinking.
This is a follow-up to Vision 2015. Did that plan work? Is this the sequel?
Vision 2015 came out in 2006, and since its release around 75 percent of its recommendations have been acted upon in Delaware. That includes higher academic standards overall, new investments in teacher prep programs, and huge increases in the number of children enrolled in high-quality early learning environments. We have more kids than ever taking and passing AP courses, taking foreign language immersion classes, applying to college, and participating in career pathways.
So, I’d say it has worked, but to be candid some things simply haven’t—like improvements to our funding system, and big shifts that we didn’t anticipate a decade ago, like the explosion of technology in our daily lives. When the community sees Student Success 2025, they will see that we looked to address those gaps and build on the foundation we started. There’s still so much more we can do to support our schools and our kids. We also need to remember that transforming a multi-century old system does not happen overnight. It is a multi-year journey with many phases. There is no finish line where we declare victory. Rather, it is a life-long commitment to excellence that we must all embrace.
What happens next? How do you transition the plan into action?
Well, we’ll officially release the report on September 16 at a special event at the Del Tech Dover campus, and from there, we’ll follow up with our Annual Conference on October 28, where we’ll try to reenergize Delawareans around these issues and keep the momentum going. From there, we’ll establish some dedicated implementation teams to dig in on putting these recommendations into practice. Some will be easier than others, and some of them are already underway. That said, at the end of the day, this is about results, so we are going to hold ourselves accountable by producing a report card on the progress we make every fall. We hope the Chamber and the community as a whole keeps the pressure on to make sure we collectively deliver on what we’ve promised. We all need to own this.
We haven’t seen a whole lot of harmony when it comes to education policy in Delaware lately. What makes this any different?
I think it goes back to the collaborative nature of the plan. At the end of the day, of course we will need political and legislative action to enact some of these recommendations. And we know the state is facing some major revenue issues. But the truth is, we aren’t all going to agree on everything. As a group, the coalition is committed to working on the 80 percent or more that we all agree on, and keep the work moving forward. We accept that there will be real disagreements on the margins, but we can’t let that slow us down.
And in fact, everyone in Delaware can play a part. You already have members of the business community energized around career pathways for students; you have all these wonderful family and community organizations providing support; you have school districts collaborating on things like personalized learning. There are already so many great things happening in pockets throughout Delaware, so our biggest challenge right now is connecting them all together across the state, and doing more of what works. Let’s focus on the things we already agree on, and work toward this vision for the future. It’s closer than we think.
For more info on Student Success 2025, visit www.visioncoalitionde.org
Submitted by Donna R. Johnson, Delaware State Board of Education
We believe that all Delaware students deserve an education that prepares them to lead full and productive lives in the 21st century. Their success in a competitive world depends on it. That was one of the reasons why we adopted new standards in English Language Arts and Math in the summer of 2010. In recent years, Delaware has been a national leader in raising the academic standards for our schools and students, but we know that we still have work to do. Using higher standards and rigorous expectations for students, teachers, and leaders helps prepare all Delaware students to achieve a level of college, career, and civic readiness upon graduation. This will not happen in isolation, we must work together to help all students be more prepared for college and careers, so they are ready for the real world.
In the 2014-15 school year Delaware public schools began administering new state tests for English and math subjects in grades 3 to 8 and 11, called Smarter Balanced assessments. The new tests are based upon the very same standards that our students’ classroom lessons are based upon and more closely align with the type of teaching and learning they do each day. When results were released statewide in September it showed that statewide we exceeded the projected proficiency rates from the national field test. This was due in large part to the work of our teachers, leaders, and community partners in implementing CCSS standards, aligning curriculum, and supporting student learning through these shifts – but we are not done yet. As our discussions with local boards, surveys of students and educators in our state, as well as the district reviews of curriculum alignment – this work is still underway and we need to continue to support these efforts.
These results of school performance cannot be viewed in a vacuum – student performance is a result of the total package of inputs and supports in the educational program. Our direction must be to stay the course with the work we are doing and continue to improve upon it further. The data shows we still have quite a bit of work to do to prepare our students for their future success, but it also shows that we have a strong foundation to build upon.
As these new score reports are sent home to parents, utilized to inform instructional decisions in schools, and reviewed by our business leaders and community members we wanted to help by sharing available resources for explanation, further information, and suggestions of where to find additional assistance. We have provided this page with several resources, including informational videos, downloadable overview documents, and websites that are customized to assist with learning specific academic skills. Our hope is that you can use these resources to learn more information about the new tests and the standards they are based upon.
Check out the VIDEO below which will walk you through and explain the Smarter Balanced Test Score Reports
by Rustyn Stoops
Delaware Technical Community College, The Delaware Manufacturing Extension Partnership (DEMEP) and the Delaware Manufacturing Association (DMA) joined together in response to Governor Jack Markell’s proclamation of Delaware Manufacturing Week (Sept. 28-Oct 2), which coincides with National Manufacturing Day, October 2. The weeklong celebration of manufacturing in Delaware was created to recognize that manufacturing has a powerful and positive impact on Delaware’s economy.
Delaware Tech’s President, Dr. Mark Brainard, is an advocate for the manufacturing community and is proud of the College’s efforts to work with the DMA and other partners to educate the next generation of modern manufacturing workers in Delaware – from high school students to adult learners.
DEMEP and DMA worked together to organize tours during manufacturing week for high school and college students at several manufacturers throughout the state. Those tours will show the variety of career paths available to Delaware graduates and the value of a technical education. Participating companies include Eagle Group, ILC, PPG, Edgewell Personal Products, DENTSPLY/Caulk, Beracah Homes, Fujifilm and Bloom Energy. Along with showcasing their products these companies are proud to show their modern, high-tech workspaces and value they bring to the Delaware economy and local communities.
To learn more or to get involved in a tour next year, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contributed by Scott Malfitano and Michael Houghton
The Pete du Pont Freedom Award is named after one of Delaware’s most distinguished leaders. As Governor of Delaware, Presidential candidate, founder of GOPAC, scholar at the Hudson Institute and the Council for National Policy and as a spokesman and writer, Pete du Pont has been a national leader in the cause of preserving and enhancing individual freedoms.
As Governor, Pete du Pont led the effort to dramatically reduce tax rates because he trusted individuals, rather than the government, to do a better job of spending their own money. He led the effort to de-regulate the financial services industry in Delaware, because he trusted free markets – more than governmental controls – to bring more opportunity, more jobs and a higher standard of living to all citizens. With the lower tax rates and government de-regulation during Pete du Pont’s tenure as Governor, Delaware shot to the forefront among states in economic growth.
Also as Governor, Pete du Pont was an effective bi-partisan leader in the State house in Dover. After significant disagreements and budget battles with his democratic colleagues in the first year of his first term, he and they learned how to work collaboratively for the benefit of all Delawareans. It was this bi-partisan effectiveness, in addition to the aforementioned reduced taxes and de-regulation that prepared the State for the arrival of the Financial Services Development Act of 1981.
As a Presidential candidate, Pete du Pont was a leader before his time preaching the gospel of individual freedom. He boldly – and at considerable political cost – espoused the causes of education vouchers giving parents rather than government the ultimate control over the education of their children; private alternatives to the Social Security system; and free market alternatives to our national healthcare system.
Following his political career, Pete du Pont continued to work, speak and write on many causes for individual freedom; lower taxes, de-regulation, education reform and individual healthcare and retirement accounts – just to name a few. In his own words:
“Democratic capitalism is strengthened by encouraging individual as opposed to collective choice. America has not prospered over 225 years through collective action; it has prospered because people have been allowed to seize their own opportunities.”
The Pete du Pont Freedom Award Reception takes place on Thursday, October 1, 2015 at 6 p.m. at the Hotel du Pont. This year’s award recipient and keynote speaker is Ellen Kullman.
Register online today.
DELAWARE BUSINESS ROUNDTABLE RELEASES STATE FINANCES STUDY; PLANS TO HELP DEVELOP “GROWTH AGENDA” FOR DELAWARE
By Bob Perkins
The State of Delaware faces a structural budget challenge with multiple dimensions – a revenue portfolio that is not responsive to the economy, unsustainable expenditure growth and the need for more robust economic growth, according to an independent study released today by the Delaware Business Roundtable. The study projects that, absent policy changes, annual operating budget deficits will expand to over $600 million, or 11 percent of expenditures, by 2025.
Commissioned by the Roundtable, the study was conducted by Michael C. Genest and Brad D. Williams of Capitol Matrix Consulting, a leading economic consulting firm whose work focuses on a wide range of fiscal, economic and policy issues, particularly related to state government.
The study reviews the work of the DEFAC Advisory Council on Revenues, created by Governor Markell, noting that it provides a potential framework to construct a portfolio of revenues that will demonstrate better economic responsiveness and lower volatility than Delaware’s current portfolio. Successful implementation of pro-growth economic policies are an important way to improve state revenue growth by boosting income and consumer spending.
“Notwithstanding the strong headwinds of the recession, Delaware has begun to make economic progress, as a number of recent reports and data suggest,” said Mark Turner, President and CEO of WSFS and Chairman of the Delaware Business Roundtable. “However, there is much more that needs to be done, and it is essential that the business community play a significant role in helping to meet this challenge, particularly with regard to the creation of a growth agenda for Delaware.”
The study points out that because more robust economic growth is an important factor necessary to resolve Delaware’s structural budget challenge, a high priority should be given to policies that will boost, rather than hinder, economic growth and job creation. Given its relatively small size, talented workforce and solid higher education system, the state is uniquely positioned to identify and act on opportunities to build strategic alliances with the private sector and remove regulatory and workforce barriers to potential growth.
As a result, the Roundtable plans to collaborate with state, business and community leaders to assist in developing a growth agenda to increase capital investment and job creation statewide. The Roundtable has contracted with TIP Strategies, a leading strategic planning firm whose planning model combines rigorous data analysis with the latest thinking in economic development, workforce training and community-based principles.
With regard to state spending, the study by Capitol Matrix Consulting indicates that Delaware spends 23 percent of its economy on state and local government services, ranking it 7th highest in the nation, according to the U.S. Bureau of the Census. The state can make significant progress toward resolving future budget shortfalls by restraining spending growth over time in key areas of the budget, according to the study.
“The results of this independent review and the difficulty our elected officials faced in preparing a budget for this fiscal year clearly indicate that the structural budget challenge we face will require creative solutions and political courage,” said Robert W. Perkins, Roundtable Executive Director.
Specifically, the study identifies a number of areas where state expenditures are inconsistent with neighboring states or national averages and where policymakers should spend time further analyzing potential spending reductions. For example:
Corrections: The study notes that expenditures for corrections are significantly higher than the national average and that over the last two decades expenditures in this area have taken a growing share of Delaware’s operating budget. Delaware spends substantially more on a per-prisoner basis than the national average, and for this reason, the study suggests policymakers conduct a more detailed analysis of corrections expenditures to identify opportunities to reduce costs without jeopardizing public safety.
Public Welfare/Social Programs: The study suggests there may be opportunities to improve on Delaware’s federal shares in the Medicaid program and recommends a thorough analysis be conducted.
Education: From 2008 through 2014, while other states were cutting K-12 per-pupil funding by 4 percent, Delaware was increasing funding by 12 percent. Slowing the growth of spending over time would bring costs in line with the average of neighboring states. The study notes that while maintaining and expanding such spending is laudable, the budget impact is problematic.
Personnel Costs: The study recommends that Delaware consider reducing the size of its state and local government workforce over time, either through hiring freezes and attrition or by targeting specific programs for reduction or elimination. Delaware also could reduce spending by changing premium cost sharing ratios for healthcare coverage for state employees and retirees.
In 2009, the Delaware Business Roundtable worked with the Markell Administration to assist in developing the Government Performance Review (GPR) plan by offering loaned executives trained in Six Sigma and Total Quality Management (TQM) to work with cabinet secretaries and their staffs. A number of recommendations from the GPR plan were implemented, but there may be opportunities to review that report and identify additional budget savings. In addition, at the request of the General Assembly, the Pew Foundation is conducting a study to identify potential state spending reductions.
It also has been reported that the Governor’s Office is planning to create an expenditure committee to review state spending. The Roundtable looks forward to contributing ideas and resources to that committee if requested.
“Historically, the Roundtable has worked in partnership with state government, and we would like to continue that partnership in a meaningful way at this pivotal point in the state’s economic history,” Mr. Turner said.
By Doug Rainey
Two Delaware employers are the first recipients of an award from Chambers of Commerce for support of the Guard and Reserve.
Phoenix Restoration, Newport and large employer Christiana Care Health System received the Delaware Warrior Friendly Business Award for their ongoing support of the men and women who serve the state and nation.
This awards were sponsored by the State, New Castle County and Central Delaware Chambers of Commerce and awarded through their Joint Military Affairs committees.
The employers were honored last month at the Delaware Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (DE ESGR) Annual Awards Recognition Banquet at the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington.
“This was a special night bringing together Delaware businesses and our military to honor their workplace leadership, successes and support for those who selflessly serve our country, said Gary Stockbridge,” state chair for DE ESGR. “We look forward to continuing this tradition for years to come.”
The 2015 ESGR Award winners included the following Delaware employers and individuals:
Jason Caparelli of the Apple Store in Newark
Steve Walker of Savage Rail Services of Delaware City
ABOVE & BEYOND
Elwyn of Delaware
Waste Masters Solutions
Saint Francis Healthcare
New Castle County Government
Appoquinimink School District
Delaware Department of Transportation
Elwyn of Delaware
Waste Masters Solutions
Saint Francis Healthcare
New Castle County Government
Appoquinimink School District
Delaware Department of Transportation
FREEDOM AWARD NOMINEES
Delaware Department of Correction
Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill
JP Morgan Chase
Pat’s Family Restaurant
Saint Francis Healthcare
Town of Bridgeville
Woodbridge School District
FREEDOM AWARD – SEMI FINALIST
B.D. Abel Engineering, A Pennoni Company
Wilmington Police Dept
EXTRAORDINARY EMPLOYER AWARD
State of Delaware
For more information on this, volunteering with DE ESGR, or to schedule a free employer education seminar at your work site, contact Nicole Ortiz, at the Delaware ESGR office, at (302) 561-8415.
By Nick Lambrow, Delaware Regional President, M&T Bank
Much is expected of our teachers in 2015. Schools have changed from the simple brick buildings many of us knew as kids. Teachers are encouraged to challenge and develop students’ abilities, build creativity, and develop independent, lifelong learners, all while ensuring STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) is a significant priority.
Primary and secondary education might not sound like a topic high on the list of priorities for a banker; however, I see the economic prosperity of our state closely tied to the success of the classroom in the 380 schools across Delaware. The 11,000 teachers who nurture and develop skills are creating this all-important next generation of innovators, business leaders, and customers. Help from volunteers is often welcome, and business people can and should lead the way.
Community businesses and volunteers can be instrumental in introducing young people to our economic system, how to run a business, calculated risk-taking, financial literacy, and much more, through organizations like the Delaware Adolescent Program (DAPI), and Junior Achievement (JA), both of which M&T Bank is proud to support.
DAPI offers academic instruction, health care and more to pregnant students and families so they may continue their education and consider healthy decisions for their future. JA, offers a robust menu of 21st Century K-12 learning experiences and the afterschool JA Company Program, where students actually create and run their own company under the guidance of experienced business professionals.
In banking, we’re continually looking for ways to bring about opportunity through business innovation. However, those lessons need to be learned early. Our teachers are doing great things but business leaders are often the crystallizing link in engaging students by sharing real world experience and igniting curiosity that leads to the great innovations of tomorrow.
By: Heather Gries
There’s an outbreak of fitness fever popping up in our communities and Delaware is not immune to the cause. There’s an ongoing, innovative campaign called “Motivate the First State” that launched on June 1.
Governor Markell is challenging Delawareans to achieve one million miles of physical activity between June 1st and December 31st. “Join me on the trails, sidewalks and bike paths.” he said. “Together, we can log one million miles of physical activity and make each step, each pedal stroke count for Delaware charities that help our kids, our families and our citizens with special needs.”
The statewide campaign is aimed to encourage Delawareans to participate in regular physical activity and will reward participants with contributions to three Delaware charitable organizations – Special Olympics Delaware, Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware, and The YMCA of Delaware.
All Delaware residents are invited to participate in the campaign. Track your movement through the easy to use online community powered by Plus3.com, the campaigns technology platform. Logging your activities on the website can be done manually, by hand (using the honor system), uploaded from compatible trackers like Garmin and Fitbit, or with the Plus3 app, available for Apple and Android devices. The website gives option to share your postings on other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
Contributions can be made by completing activities such as walking, cycling, by choosing water over soda and eating fruits and vegetables. Each healthy choice earns a specified amount of kudos determined by Plus3, one “kudos” will earn you one penny. Don’t worry if you forget to log something that day because you can log your activity completed up to one week previous.
The online community allows you to connect with other participants, add “Friends” and share your activity. Motivate the First State is the Plus3 designed Clubhouse and within the clubhouse Delawareans can log, publicly or privately, as individuals, or participate as a team. Additionally, participants can join an ongoing team and incorporate their contributions.
Jason Danner, Regional Vice President, Market Leader, Kelly Benefit Strategies Group, says this campaign is a “win, win, win” for all parties involved “Make every time your active count for charity”. Jason, who serves as a representative for Motivate the First State says the goal is to have 5,000 people logging their efforts consistently. This will serve as a baseline for the coming 2016 year.
Motivate the First State is hosted by the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Kelly Benefit Strategies Group, Inc. Other partnerships for the campaign include Delaware Division of Public Health, Sussex County Government, Sussex Outdoors, Healthier Sussex County, Sussex County Health Promotion Coalition, Bike Delaware, Kent Kids, and Races2Run.
(You can sign up for FREE at www.motivatethefirststate.com to join the campaign.)