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141003_EllenDalyDear friends and neighbors, my name is Ellen Daly, and I’m speaking to you today as a member of the Sitka Health Summit Coalition. As Planning Day 2014 approaches, the Summit invites you to consider what community health and wellness means to you.

For just a minute, close your eyes with me and picture a healthy Sitka, a community focused on total wellness. What does that look like? Healthy bodies? Healthy minds? A healthy economy? Healthy schools? Healthy culture? Healthy relationships?

Now, how do we get there? How do we reach that vision?

25 years ago, the Healthy Communities Movement emerged in the U.S, and offered a radical perspective on what it means to be – and to become – a healthy community.

The Healthy Communities movement introduced the concept of community health collaborations, and put people at the heart of the discussion and empowered citizens as agents of change.

For eight years, the Sitka Health Summit’s own mission has drawn inspiration from this larger national movement, but our work has taken the spirit and the process of collaboration one step further.

We believe that achieving the goal of “healthy people living in healthy places” begins with each and every one of us. Whether you work in healthcare or fisheries, whether you’re a doctor or a teacher, a non-profit director or a stay at home parent, a politician or a bus driver or an artist – your voice counts.

So, we started Planning Day. For one day every year, we bring together as many Sitkans as possible to choose community health initiatives for the coming year. You’re probably familiar with many of these projects. Last year, it was Sitka Kitch and the Community Food Hub, and the Sitkans Together against Meth Project. In 2012, it was Downtown Revitalization, the community food assessment, and walk friendly Sitka. The Choose Respect mural? – Planning Day. Fish to schools? – Planning Day. Walk and Bike Friendly Sitka? – Planning Day. And the list goes on.

The Sitka Health Summit believes the best people to go to when you want to transform a community are the people who live there.

And that’s why we would like you to think about how Sitka, and Sitkans, could be healthier. Bring your ideas to Planning Day on Friday, Oct. 3rd. Register online at