Okanagan Similkameen Healthy Living Coalition
A Brief History
- March 2008: The Okanagan Similkameen Health Fair was launched. Originally intended as a one-time Centennial celebration, it was so successful that it was continued as an annual event held in March. In 2009 the name was changed to Healthy Living Fair and the organizers formed the Okanagan Similkameen Healthy Living Society (the Society).
- October 2011 – February 2013: The Society recognized it had unmet potential to make a sustained and measurable impact on the health of the region through the addition of diverse and continuous programming for which the Fair event would continue as a flagship. The Fair was cancelled in 2012 while planning for this new vision was undertaken. Discussions were held with strategic organizations as potential partners in a new entity, the Okanagan Similkameen Healthy Living Coalition (The Coalition).
- March 2013: The OS Healthy Living Fair resumed and was, once again, highly successful.
- June 2012: A Letter of Understanding to create the Coalition was endorsed by core partners: Interior Health, RDOS, City of Penticton, School District 67, Penticton Indian Band and the Society stating the “. . . primary purpose is to collaborate to provide services that will attract, engage and support the people of our community in successful and sustained achievement of healthy lifestyles with a focus on children, youth and high risk populations.” The vision is seen as a 5-year pilot project to develop a model for successful community engagement in healthy lifestyles.
- October – December 2012: Setting the stage for a shared vision: Core partners for the Coalition met to align their vision, identify their mandates for health promotion, their existing health promotion activities, opportunities for collaboration and a framework for program development.
- November 2012: The Okanagan Similkameen Healthy Living Society was granted charitable status by CRA
- January – April 2013: Formative steps: The core group developed a proposed Vision, Mission and Values statement, approved a framework for the development of healthy living programs, adopted a governance model that supports community-driven project development within the framework, and approved a two-step plan to achieve full regional engagement.
- May 2013: Okanagan Similkameen Healthy Living Forum engages representatives from all regional municipalities, Indian bands, school districts and RDOS. The proposed V-M-V and governance model are presented for new member consideration.
- June 2013: At the OSHL Society AGM the Society’s purpose changed to encompass the work of the Coalition. The Healthy Living Fair continues to be operated by the new Okanagan Similkameen Healthy Living Fair Society.
- May – October 2013: Community Foundation of the South Okanagan provided funding to the Coalition to develop community-level work, supported by Coalition leaders, categorizing healthy living assets, engaging non-profit groups with a healthy-living focus, and identifying potential local healthy champions.