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Walking for a Cause in Council Bluffs: Wellness and Toys for Tots

Wellness Rewards provides year round active and fun campaigns to encourage good health habits, managed by the onsite Wellness team. At Caesars Entertainment, we care about our team members’ health and wellbeing and the community they live in. Our Council Bluffs property HR team and onsite

Wellness team saw an opportunity to combine our volunteer initiative, HERO, and our health and wellbeing initiative, Wellness Rewards, by creating an exciting wellness campaign to increase physical activity on property, earn Wellness Rewards credit, and provide support for a local non-profit organization. With this in mind, the Walk to the North Pole campaign was created.

The campaign was designed as a walking challenge to encourage summer and fall fitness and create imagination while doing it. If that challenge was met, property would donate to a local charity, Toys for Tots. The challenge: as a team, Walk to the North Pole in miles, roughly 2,500 miles, if achieved the property would donate $500 to the Toys for Tots charity. If they walked the roundtrip challenge, to the North Pole and back, the donation doubled to $1,000.

“We had no idea the response would be so great! Over 300 people registered” said Michelle Meeder, onsite WellNurse. “People were very excited to do something for Toys for Tots and receive Wellness Rewards credit. They told us this was an awesome opportunity, which explains the high turnout”.

The campaign ran from July 25 through November 30, 2016. Participants from both Harrah’s and Horseshoe Council Bluffs properties competed in teams and individuals tracking weekly mileage to reach their goal: Walk to the North Pole to donate to charity. Both teams and individuals used various tracking devices, such as Fitbits, pedometers, and apps on their smart phones. Participants submitted their totals weekly to their WellNurse or onsite Clinic, which were recorded on the North Pole wall tracker. As the race began, miles started accumulating; excitement amongst the participants grew strong. Regular encouragement and updates from the new property Penguin mascot generated a friendly competition amongst the teams and individuals to help reach their goal.

“Several participant success stories emerged over the 12 weeks as the campaign encouraged more consistent activity, and provided accountability. The charitable component gave meaning to participate, resulting in removing hurdles that typically kept participants from engaging in onsite campaigns.”

As the miles added up, the team began to exceed the original goal of 2,500 miles. As that milestone came so did another, the team quickly exceeded their stretch goal of 5,000 miles. Because the miles walked were so much higher than planned, tracking switched from just miles walked, to show how many times they went to the North Pole and back. By the end of the challenge, the properties combined reached over 55,000 miles, that’s just about 10 trips to and from the North Pole!

“The campaign was a wonderful way for Caesars team members to find success in their health journey by setting a goal, fostering engagement with other team members by encouraging each other, take the steps to form a new exercise habit by walking every day, and to help others by being part of a charitable event. These combined not only helped them achieve the lofty goal, but exceed it 10 times over!” Shannon Miller, onsite Clinic NP. “We’ve had so many team members give us suggestions and ideas of variations of our original idea; we can’t wait to roll out what transformations will occur in 2017!”

The Penguin mascot was so popular throughout this competition that he now serves to communicate Wellness Rewards information.