Everyone can stand to be more active and a new community effort aims to help people achieve that goal.

The New Richmond Area Centre, Westfields Hospital and New Richmond Clinic are partnering to promote the "Be Active" challenge over the coming year. The effort is part of New Richmond's ongoing "Vitality Initiative" and is free for all to take part in.

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Tucked inside this week's New Richmond News is a "Be Active" card. On the card are 16 simple tasks that people can do over the next two months (July 1-Aug. 31), including such things as walking on the New Richmond trail system, getting eight hours of sleep for three nights and drinking an eight-ounce glass of water before two meals. Some challenges can be completed at home, but other challenges will require individuals or families to get out into the community.

Participants in the challenge are encouraged to complete all 16 tasks. Those who accomplish that goal, and then hand in their completed card, will be entered into a drawing for a new bike, a free park rental, New Richmond Area Chamber of Commerce gift card or one of several other prizes. Everyone who finishes their card also will receive a free pedometer, which helps people keep track of the number of steps they take in a day.

Everyone who doesn't complete all 16 challenges but complete at least four challenges can still hand in their card. They will be entered into a prize drawing as well.

Families that need more cards so that everyone can participate in the challenge can pick up additional sheets at The Centre, Westfields, New Richmond Clinic or New Richmond News.

Centre Child Development Director Kristen Cooan said the idea for the "Be Active" card was the result of The Centre's goal to help New Richmond become the "healthiest community in America."

"This is just one step toward reaching that goal," she said. "We want people to participate in some challenges that are fun and active, and fit a wide range of ages."

Health Enhancement Director Tate Wheeler said The Centre staff and board members brainstormed to come up with the list of activities included on the "Be Active" card. He said a new card will be issued every quarter, and participants will have two months to complete each one throughout the year. A special drawing and incentives will be offered at the conclusion of each "Be Active" period.

"We're are excited about the possibility of people getting more active," Wheeler said. "We're hoping that people will be excited about this and complete it by themselves or do it together as a family."

None of the 16 challenges are so difficult that people won't be able to finish them. The challenges range from exercise to healthy eating to improving social connections with neighbors.

"We want to improve the overall wellbeing of people," Wheeler explained. "That includes the social aspect of growing and connecting with others."

Cooan said the "Be Active" partnership with Westfields and New Richmond Clinic will come in handy as challenge participants sign up and provide their email addresses. Those who provide an email address will receive a weekly health tip from the organizers of the effort, including suggestions from doctors and staff members of the hospital and clinic.

Cooan said some tips might include a recipe for a heart-healthy meal, while other tips might offer suggestions about how to safely and gradually become more active.

For more information on the "Be Active" challenge, call The Centre at 715-243-0843 or email vitality@nra centre.com.