Organising 21 schools and 2370 students to walk or ride to school is no mean feat, but Wangaratta's success in doing so has won an Australian Fitness Award.
The 'Walk to School' program coordinated by the Wangaratta Indoor Sports and Aquatic Centre was named winner of the community activation award in a virtual awards ceremony.
Wangaratta YMCA community development specialist Trish Storer said the four-week initiative resulted in 100 per cent participation.
"For about the last five years, YMCA has co-ordinated it on behalf of the council, with Gateway Health, Northeast Health Wangaratta and some other organisations involved as well," she said.
"YMCA nominated us for the award, and that's come from some of the things we've done to enhance the VicHealth program, like group fitness classes and swimming lesson vouchers.
"In 2015 there were eight schools out of 21, and 2018 was the first time we got 100 per cent involvement.
"We found ways to help schools that found it hard to implement the program, as they had a lot of bus travellers, and we wanted to encourage behaviour change.
"We had a lot of families talking about how they have generally become more active in their day and encouraged their kids to keep walking, riding or scooting to school.
"All our schools are so enthusiastic and easy to work with; it's been through their willingness to get involved that makes the program happen."
Ms Storer, who has worked with YMCA for 15 years, has spent even more time out in the community during COVID-19.
The closure of the indoor sports and aquatic centre due to the virus has enabled work to ramp up on Wangaratta Council's $16.88 million redevelopment of the facility.
"That's going along well - they're talking about being open in November," Ms Storer said.
"It will be fantastic for the town; it will enable the city to attract bigger events like swim carnivals.
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"There will be a new outdoor pool and a hydrotherapy pool, and we see a great need for that - our current program pool is in use all the time."
Ms Storer was confident YMCA's work in the community would continue once Wangaratta Council takes over operation of the centre in November.
"It's going to be a big change, but I'm sure it will be a positive change for the community in many ways," she said.
"A lot of our staff will get picked up again in the centre, I think.
"The community really values our community work, like Walk to School."