Each week, our own Zach Brooks speaks with a Leader to get a quick look at why he or she loves working to create healthy environments for kids. Want to take part? Visit Zach’s profile and contact him.
Scott Bricker is the executive director of America Walks, which is working to make America a great place to walk each day. Scott and his team have done great work to increase walkability and Safe Routes to School programs. America Walks is currently accepting comments on the proposed call to action on walking from the Office of the Surgeon General. You can take action at: http://www.everybodywalk.org/takeaction.
Name: Scott Bricker
Title: Executive Director
Organization: America Walks
What inspired you to start working on childhood obesity?
In 1995, I worked as a planning intern for the S/N Light Rail Public Involvement program in Portland, OR. I conducted work on underserved populations and concluded that youth were the most underserved transportation population. I focused my graduate research and graduate assistantship on methods to increasing preadolescent youth mobility. That work grew my passion for empowering children to gain back their independence through bicycling and walking.
How are you helping to reverse childhood obesity?
At America Walks, I work to make America a great place to walk each and every day. We work to increase walking and the walkability of communities throughout the nation. We serve people of all ages and abilities; over the past five years we have run a webinar series in partnership with the National Center for Safe Routes to School. We also have many solutions for increasing youth walking on our www.walksteps.org website.
We currently are accepting comments on the proposed call to action on walking from the Office of the Surgeon General. The deadline to submit public comments is April 30, so there is still time to participate. Please click on the link below to access our campaign site and the Federal Register. Share your ideas and thoughts at http://www.everybodywalk.org/takeaction.
What’s your biggest accomplishment so far in helping reduce childhood obesity?
I worked to begin the Oregon Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program. First I developed the award-winning Bicycle Safety Education Program at the Bicycle Transportation Alliance. We grew the program to the “walk+bike” program and passed state legislation to strengthen the statewide SRTS program and increase traffic fines to protect families and fund education and enforcement programs. In 2009 I served as the conference director for the 2nd Safe Routes to School National Conference (plus we threw a street party with square dancing — Portland style.)
Who is your role model in your work?
[Safe Routes to School National Partnership Founding Director] Deb Hubsmith. As a long-time friend, she is an inspirational and passionate leader. In addition to working to inspire a generation of children to walk and bike, she practices what she preaches both at work and in play.
Editor’s Note: Hubsmith is a PreventObesity.net Leader.
What game or sport did you play growing up?
I grew up playing football on the street, hitting the baseball whenever it was pitched and bricking basketballs off the backboard. I could have played ball all day, every day. My parents supported my love of sports and kicked me out of the house ‘til dinner when I was bored inside. I also walked great distances as I was permitted to roam our neighborhood and beyond with my gang of friends — guys I’m still close to today: Hey, Jon, Marco, Greg, Adam and Rurik!