Nenana Wellness Coalition
October 22, 2013
The Nenana Wellness Coalition is an alliance of representatives from various organizations, government agencies, community groups and individuals that meets weekly to discuss, evaluate, coordinate, consolidate, celebrate and help implement plans for improving the wellness and quality of life in Nenana Alaska.
We had 19 participants today, including: Greg Crowe, Kat McElroy, Maryellen Robinson, Jennifer Wooley, Danielle Moser, Chuck Hugney, Bill Troxel, Brian and Elliot Blair, Mary Alexander, Virginia Young, Tim Horn, Bonnie Reed, Steve, Damita and Nick Duplantis and Evelyn, William and Ephraim Verhagen. We enjoyed pork stew, mixed green salad, king salmon spread, sliced cheese and raisins and walnuts for lunch.
WELCOME by this week’s chairperson, Tim Horn, followed by the READING OF MISSION STATEMENT:
PRAYER was led by Virginia Young followed by the PLEDGE OF ALLEGIENCE.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Minutes were submitted electronically to the WIN e-list as generated last week.
APPROVAL OF THE AGENDA: There were no additions to the agenda today.
INTRODUCTION OF GUESTS: Danielle is the new Healy staff person for Railbelt; Maryellen also introduced Jennifer who is program manager for the new Railbelt tobacco grant, visiting today.
Finding Unity in Community: Steve Duplantis began his remarks by stating that he and his wife initially came to Alaska when she was stationed in the Air Force at Eielson. After that, they returned to the Lower 48 where Steve attended Bible College, after which they felt called to come back to Alaska. He said that he preached once here in Nenana and felt immediately that this is where he needed to be. So in November 2012 they began the process that lead to his being brought to the Nenana Assembly of God church.
Steve feels a calling to help build unity among the other church bodies in Nenana. “It is in my heart to do this. All Christians have Christ in common,” he said, “That is what we can build upon.” He framed his thoughts about community by defining that word and exploring the root words.
He asked what motivates us. He posited that in those things, we may find commonality. We all have different roles in our community, he said. But as long as we let our differences separate us, we are divided and unable to work effectively together. He used as examples the ideas WIN members volunteered when asked What Motivates Us? Everyone can agree: we want healthy families. We want our kids to be safe. That, he suggested, is what unity looks like, finding what we can all value in common.
He also put forth that disagreement is important; it is all right to have differing ideas. We need to be able to respect each other regardless of our differences. Acceptance of people’s differences, being able to respectfully disagree, he believes, is essential for creating authentic unity. One of the first things he noticed about Nenana was that it reminded him of the community of New Orleans, where he grew up, with great diversity of cultures. He stated that he wants to be part of building on that.
“I am here to be an ambassador for Christ,” Steve said, “If you cannot see the gospel in how I live, than I am doing something wrong.”
Discussion ensued regarding ways that Nenana has strong community and examples of where our differences get in the way of that happening. Various people remarked upon some of the changes they have witnessed in Nenana over the years, the dynamics driving these changes, what was gained, what has been lost. There was a sense that we have a respect for the outliers,that being different doesn’t necessarily need to mean you are going to be rejected. But there is a sense that our community experiences a disconnect from one another, based in the pace of modern life as much as anything else. Ideas were put forth for building a stronger sense of community.
Chuck: Passed out fliers. The Friends General Council is hosting a Couple’s Enrichment weekend, November 8-10, in Fairbanks, open to any couple wanting to develop a stronger relationship. He said that he and Carry have participated in this and attend regular monthly meetings for the last five or six years and he would encourage any couple wishing to enhance their communication to give it a try. There is a cost but there are scholarships available. If enough people were interested, they would be willing to do a Couples Enrichment weekend here in Nenana.
He agreed to do a full presentation for WIN; he will schedule a date for this with Tim.
On another note, their 12 year old “puppy” died. Sadness.
Brian: They are getting ready for winter at KIAM, attending to equipment and some deferred maintenance.
They are willing to broadcast local basketball games but they need a play by oplay announcer.
Soccer field update: the gravel and dirt have been spread; now they need to grade it and seed it, which will probably not happen until spring.
Kat: It is still all about hay; David is attending to all the time critical End of Season tasks. They need to adopt a Ukrainian farm family of five to get it all done. Their chickens are on strike, egg production has dropped to nil.
Evelyn: Went to Wasilla last weekend to spend time with her family. They had a Halloween celebration.
Greg: Just glad to be here, thanks.
Bonnie: The RV Park is being closed down for the season, so if you need propane, you better get it by Monday.
Mary: The Meda Lord Center units are all full. Wes got his moose. Her sauerkraut turned out well. Life is good.
Virginia: They are having a baby shower for her oldest daughter down in Anchorage.
Jennifer. Enjoyed the meeting. Thanks.
Maryellen: Passed out copies of the Resolution of Support; she is collecting signatures of people, business, organizations willing to go on record as supporting a desire to see formal legislation for a Smoke Free Alaska
PINK had their meeting Sunday. They want to do the Bully Project in Nenana. Maryellen would like WIN members to view this anti-bullying video first so that the adults can be support for youth when they see the video. We will do this November 19th; Maryellen will be gone so Kat will help facilitate.
PINK is having a tobacco education PSA video contest; open to 7-12 graders. They have first prizes of up to five Samsung Galaxy 2’s for the winning group. The PSA’s should be a couple of minutes long such as can be uploaded to YouTube and used to be broadcast locally. Maryellen has four video cameras people can borrow for the project; PSA’s must be submitted by November 6. There was a poster contest for the younger students.
Damita: Darcia at the city library is inviting all interested parties to a monthly support group for homeschoolers. Also, Damita is still organizing meals for the O’Brien family; Matt is being treated for cancer. They are feeding a family of 8-10 people.
Steve: The Truth Project continues to meet each Wednesday night, 7 PM.
Jeannie: The next Freecycle is scheduled for Friday, October 25th, at the Civic Center, to start at 6:00 PM. Mexican food is on the menu; the church is supplying tacos. People are welcome to bring a side dish to share.
Monday, October 28th, 7-8:30 PM, Line Dancing class at the Civic Center, donations accepted, everyone welcome.
Tim: Believes there is a jr, high basketball game today at 5:00.
The Juniors and Seniors are touring UAF tomorrow.
Thursday 11 AM, the Prevention Coalition will have their monthly meeting, in Eric’s office at the school.
Volleyball game Thursday night 6 PM, with a tournament starting Friday at 4 PM and Saturday at 9 AM.
Parent/Teacher conferences will be held at NCPS Wednesday and Thursday.
October 31st, there will be a family friendly Harvest Festival at the old court house 3-6 PM and a Hallowe’en Carnival at the school gym from 6-7:30.
ADJOURNMENT: Meeting was adjourned at 2:00 PM.