PartnerSHIP 4 Health is a collaboration of organizations in west-central Minnesota dedicated to improving the health of residents of Becker, Clay, Otter Tail, and Wilkin Counties. Their primary focus is on the two leading causes of preventable chronic disease in Minnesota: obesity, and tobacco use and exposure. We are funded in part by a Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) grant from the Minnesota Department of Health, as well as other grants.
PartnerSHIP 4 Health was a Minnesota GreenCorps host site for two member projects focused on transportation issues:
- Will Mackaman (2014-15)
- Austin Hauf (2015-16)
Patrick Hollister, Active Living Planner for PartnerSHIP 4 Health, had this to say about his experiences as a GreenCorps host site.
Being a GreenCorps host site has been terrific for us! Both Will and Austin have helped us greatly in our work to promote biking and walking as alternatives to driving in our four-county area. I am the only permanent staff member working full-time in "active transportation;" building capacity with Minnesota GreenCorps members helped us extend our reach in ways that would not have been possible without them.
It was also great to have two members in a row both working on the same theme: Austin was able to build upon what Will started!
What are some important elements of a successful member/host-site experience?
- Flexibility in design of projects/activities for the GreenCorps member. PartnerSHIP 4 Health has a few things that we want the GreenCorps member to work on, but we also give that individual a lot of freedom to pursue projects or activities of interest that align with our mission.
- Clear and frequent communication between the Host Site Supervisor and the GreenCorps member.
- Adequate physical space and equipment for the GreenCorps member (cube, phone, computer, etc.)
Advice for host site applicants? When designing activities or projects for the GreenCorps member, find the “sweet spot” between projects that are too easy and projects that are too difficult.
GreenCorps members are looking to learn and try things that will be of use in building a career. Based on our experience with Will and Austin, GreenCorps members are very bright, motivated, and energetic, so they are capable of more than the Host Sites probably realize. It’s important not to overload them, but give them something they can “sink their teeth into.”