July 29, 2005
Four staff members, two faculty members and four students of the University of Maine at Fort Kent campus are among the top participants in a statewide team weight loss and get fit wellness program competition.
The Olympic-style sports festival known as "Lighten ME" is sponsored by Maine Games, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing opportunities for all Mainers regardless of age, ability or gender.
The goal of "Lighten ME" is to impact individual behavior and the culture of work sites and communities. It offers team-based competition that provides a support system for achieving success.
Caro Williams, assistant director of residential life and wellness, heard about the program and thought it would be a good idea to introduce the wellness activity on the UMFK campus.
Two University teams completed the program working toward success at adhering to individual goals of increased physical activity and better nutritional choices.
One of the groups, self-named the Itty Bitty team and led by UMFK student Jason Gayne, came in first place in the statewide "Lighten Me" competition.
The team lost an amazing 250 pounds, or just over 17% of their total team starting weight.
"This is good enough for first place overall," said Jeff Scully, executive director of Maine Games.
Members of the team included Ray Phinney, assistant director of residential life and diversity programming and Beth Fluet, Cherie Crosby, Krista Brown and Tim Foster, all UMFK students.
For four to five months, each team member recorded and reported their weight loss and /or activity mileage to their team captain or on-line.
A second team from the UMFK campus, the Northern Lights, came in 13th place in the distance category with an average of 450 miles walked per person.
Linda Deprey, UMFK administrative assistant for special events and gifts, was captain of this team. Members included Lisa Roy, administrative assistant in student services; Benita Ouellette, personal assistant for human resources; Gil and Penny Albert, both assistant professors of Education and Megan Corriveau, UMFK student.
"This year's 'Lighten ME' initiative was amazing in so many ways. We had great participation from the Fort Kent area, in fact, other than the greater Portland area, no other Maine community had so many participants," said Scully.
For more information about the 2006 "Lighten ME" statewide team weight loss and get fit competition, log on to http:// www.lightenme.org or contact Williams at 207-834-8751.