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Wellmark Foundation grant funds health and fitness efforts for South Dakota Girl Scouts

Grant, chosen from 150 requests, will foster health, leadership skills in young women

January 24, 2011

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(Des Moines, Iowa) – Girl Scouts – Dakota Horizons has received a one-year, $20,000 grant from The Wellmark Foundation to develop a childhood obesity prevention program targeting health and fitness for girls.

The Wellmark Foundation is a non-profit foundation that seeks to improve the health of Iowans, South Dakotans, and their communities. The Foundation provides support to non-profit and public entities to help local communities establish or expand health initiatives. Through its 2010 Healthy Communities Grant Program, the Foundation received nearly 150 grant requests. This grant award to Girl Scouts – Dakota Horizons represents one of the 17 grants competitively awarded to support projects throughout Iowa and South Dakota. Cumulatively, The Wellmark Foundation is proud to award $1,334,817 to these 17 grants to serve as catalyst funding for local health projects.

“The Wellmark Foundation is proud to select the Health and Fitness Challenge,” says Matt McGarvey, the Foundation’s director. “This innovative program empowers young people throughout South Dakota to both develop leadership skills and improve their health.”

The Health and Fitness Challenge will help improve the health of 250 participating Girl Scouts and their families across South Dakota. Participating girls will learn ways to improve their health and prevent childhood obesity, and to access health and fitness resources in their community. In addition, the project will offer girls and their families the tools needed to make realistic changes to set individual and family goals for a healthy lifestyle.

The project has two key components. The first piece is establishment of a seven-member Health and Fitness Youth Task Force comprised of middle school and high school girls. The task force will give girls a voice in the decision-making process of establishing health and fitness activities for the Girl Scout community in South Dakota.

The project will also feature Health and Fitness Challenge events held in conjunction with the council’s camp in seven locations across the state. Challenge sites will be established in Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Aberdeen, Huron, Yankton, Pine Ridge and Rosebud. At risk, underserved girls and their families will be targeted to participate in Challenge events, which will bring Girl Scouts and their families together to participate in hands-on learning activities focusing on nutrition, wellness and physical fitness.

The project will be implemented with the support of numerous community collaborators. Learning materials, activities and project results will be shared on the Girl Scouts - Dakota Horizon’s website and through social media to Girl Scout members and their families so the project may be replicated across the state.

About Girl Scouts – Dakota Horizons
Girl Scouts—Dakota Horizons is a non-profit organization chartered by Girl Scouts of the USA, the largest girl leadership organization in the world. Girl Scouting is meant for every girl, everywhere to experience. The Dakota Horizons' council covers more than 164,000 squares miles and has more than 1,666 Girl Scout troops. 12,340 girls, 2,418 leaders and 1,997 adult and lifetime members make up Girl Scouts—Dakota Horizons. Girl Scout programs are offered on 13 Indian Reservations, 3 Air Force Bases and cover 134 counties across Dakota Horizons.

For more information on Girl Scouts – Dakota Horizons, contact Bette Poppen, (605) 854-3117 / For more information regarding the Wellmark Foundation and its grant programs, visit



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