Every year Nutrition Month
brings together students, interns, dietitians, workplaces and communities. March is a key month to profile dietitians as leaders in supporting Canadians to eat and enjoy healthy food. It is always inspiring to see the volunteer work that is done by dietitians across Canada.
Karen Simon and Vanessa Yurchesyn have been the New Brunswick Nutrition Month co-chairs for three years. Prior to that, Karen was leading Nutrition Month in New Brunswick, for a total of six years in this role!
Vanessa’s excitement for Nutrition Month started when she was a student at Mount Saint Vincent University where she would coordinate many events for students, dietitians and the community.
Karen and Vanessa feel that their job is easy with the leadership of Francy Pillo-Blocka, the Nutrition Month Manager at Dietitians of Canada. Members who assist with resource development, or support Nutrition Month in any other way, also make leading Nutrition Month activities easy and fun!
After some reflection on their work with Nutrition Month, Karen and Vanessa have a few tips to share with you!
Top five tips for a successful Nutrition Month:
Work as a team
Forming a team with representation from across each province is important for a successful Nutrition Month. In New Brunswick, a dietitian from each region acts as a representative on the provincial committee.
Schedule provincial teleconferences in January and February to share ideas and plans for March. If possible, form a team that consists of dietitians from various practice settings to ensure that multiple areas of practice are represented.
Use the three E’s – energy, enthusiasm and engagement
Nutrition Month would not be what it is in New Brunswick without these three E’s. As Co-Chairs, Karen and Vanessa focus on getting their committee energized and enthusiastic to plan activities for March.
The provincial committee members engage students, interns and dietitians in their areas. This high engagement results in a large number of activities happening across the province.
Think outside the box and get creative
Presentations are great, but they can
be boring! People want to attend something that is fun, educational and valuable! In the past, typical Nutrition Month activities in New Brunswick included presentations at local libraries, but the attendance was never great.
Karen and Vanessa have learned that sometimes you have to go to where the people in your community gather. In New Brunswick, there is always a great turn out at local markets and at sports games. Karen and Vanessa decided that it would be more worthwhile to attend these events to spread Nutrition Month messages. Resources, snacks and cookbook prizes are always popular at these events and they are great conversation starters!
Spread Nutrition Month messages effectively
Connect with your Dietitians of Canada Nutrition Month Spokesperson
early so that you are aware of any scheduled media interviews. Vanessa has been the media spokesperson in New Brunswick for the past two years.
Local media coverage is just as important as higher profile coverage. For example, Vanessa did television segments with the Bell Aliant Community One channel and Rogers TV, in addition to work with CTV and CBC radio. It is important to get a good variety of print, radio and television media – something that Karen and Vanessa’s team make a priority.
In an effort to have an even greater reach, their team uses social media. They have a Facebook page and a Twitter account that they use regularly throughout the month of March and all year round.
To spread the message further, proclamations were made in many regions of New Brunswick! When Karen and Vanessa’s team were brainstorming ways to have Nutrition Month messages all over the city, a few committee members volunteered to work with Saint John City Transit to display Nutrition Month posters on city buses. This was a wonderful way to increase Nutrition Month awareness.
Be inspired by colleagues in other provinces
The DC Canada Activity Map
is a great place to start. The variety of activities that happen across the country are truly amazing. This year, the map highlighted almost 300 Nutrition Month and Dietitian Day activities!
Karen and Vanessa encourage dietitians to connect with representatives in other provinces to share challenges, successes, and opportunities for future years – we are stronger together!
If you would like to become involved in Nutrition Month activities in your community or if you have any questions, feel free to connect with Karen or Vanessa any time!
Editor’s note: Thank you to each and every dietitian who participates in Nutrition Month! Every contribution, from a simple tweet to a community event, makes each year’s campaign a success!
Get in on the fun and start making plans in your region for Nutrition Month 2016 by contacting Francy Pillo-Blocka, Nutrition Month Manager.
Do you have a Nutrition Month story to share? Or, questions/comments for Karen and Vanessa? Please share below, we would love to hear from you!