While I’ve never taken a karate chop to the head, I’m pretty sure it feels exactly like waking up at 5:00 a.m. If you’re a morning person, I salute you, but I have to question your sanity. With that in mind, on this day, I had good reason to wake up in the midst of darkness. I was one of the 37 brave (aka insane) PacificSource employees that vowed to “spring” out of bed, go for a hike, and plant rewards for early morning exercisers.
Let me back up a bit. At PacificSource, we want the world to understand that the best way to improve the healthcare system is to simply live a healthier lifestyle. If we eat better, exercise more, stress less, and quit smoking, we can significantly decrease the burden on the entire system. It sounds simple, but it’s a difficult message to broadcast. So to make it happen, we needed to get a little creative.
We decided to reward people for taking part in healthy activities with thank you cards with a little bit of cash (5 big ones). The way we see it, by taking part in a healthy activity, you’re saving all of us healthcare dollars in the long run, so we wanted to give a small piece of those savings back to you. We also offered to donate an additional $5 to a program called Veggie U if our finders sent us a picture of their hike. Here’s a look at the thank you card we created:
But how would we find these healthy people? That was the fun part.
Back to my 5:00 a.m. wake up. We picked 10 popular hiking spots in Oregon, Idaho, and Helena, and our employees teamed up to plant “golden tickets” along those hiking spots. But since we picked a work day to pull it off, we needed to start our hikes at 6:00 a.m. so we could all make it back to work on time. Luckily, I had a hiking squad to keep me accountable for showing up on time, or the old “snooze button” would have gotten a work-out.
6:00 a.m: Let the hiking begin
At the exact same time, all of our hiking teams attacked trails in Eugene, Bend, Portland, Boise, and Helena. Like little elves, we carried our mysterious flags up hills, along rivers, and through wooded trails in search of the perfect place to plant our “golden tickets.” We looked for places that could only be accessed if you exercised to get there. What that meant for us; we needed to invest some sweat to plant these suckers!
7:00 a.m: Operation “stealth flag plant”commences
Since stumbling across a mysterious note is way more fun than watching somebody leave flag, we wanted to secretly plant them. In my team’s case, I had the honor of planting our flag on the top of Mt. Pisgah in Eugene. I creeped up the hill, darted from tree to tree, and lurched in the grass to avoid being seen. Turns out, nobody else was up there, so all of these antics were strictly for my own amusement (How often do you get to pretend you’re a spy? Can you blame me?). Mission was accomplished. Once again, at all of our hike locations, our teams planted their flags at the same time.
8:00 a.m: Back to Work
What made this such a blast was the fact that so many of us took part, and we all made it back to the office like it was business as usual. When we got back to work, we all felt pretty darn energized by the experience (however, we all felt like slipping into a coma a few hours later). While our goal was to reward a few lucky hikers, our crew probably received the biggest benefit. Whether we were hiking Oregon, Montana, or Idaho, it’s pretty hard to be a morning sunrise after pounding the trails. Not to mention, we felt like a hybrid of a secret and the Easter bunny as we planted the flags. All told, it was a great morning.
Keep your eyes peeled
We aren’t finished thanking people for helping healthcare. So next time you’re on a hike, jog, walk, or bike ride, keep your eyes peeled. We’ll have thank you cards all over the Northwest.
Huge thanks to all my hiking pals! Had a blast, can’t wait to do it again. To see all of us in action, here are some snapshots from all three states: