They call their new program Ditch the Doritos.
The group meets Tuesdays at 6:45 p.m. on the Granite Falls Middle School track to work out together. Dressed in black workout shorts and bright “Heroes of the Heart” church camp T-shirts, they start walking in a row, then break into pairs or groups of three.
Conversations and laughter carry across the track. They talk about church, faith, family, friends, work and summer vacations. Among the walkers are a teacher, a pastor, a school bus driver and several moms.
Marcy Todd, who heads up the group, said the idea came from staff at The Father's House. Church leaders urge people to get together outside of Sunday services and support each other spiritually, emotionally and, in this case, physically.
“Some of us wanted to get healthy or continue being healthy, so we decided to get together and encourage each other,” Todd said.
Up to 10 people come to walk and talk on Tuesdays, though the number varies with summer vacations, Todd said. The group would welcome more members. Some moms bring their children, who play on the football field while the women claim a lane and start walking.
“It's definitely flexible,” said Robynn Barth, rounding the curve of the track on a sunny Tuesday evening. “People come when they can and leave when they have to.”
The walking is only one part of Ditch the Doritos. Facebook plays a big role for the group, Todd said. When they're not together in person, they encourage each other with upbeat messages, healthy food recipes or offers to meet up for a game of tennis or an hour at the gym.
“I wanted to get in shape and I wanted to do it with people who would keep me accountable and were my friends,” said Brandy Golston, who joined the group shortly after it started in June. “This group is awesome because there's no judgment. We're kind of all at our different levels.”
Though the current members are all from The Father's House, the group is open to others, Golston said. People can bring friends.
“A lot of times I look for something in the summer,” said Janis Downs, a school bus driver and Ditch the Doritos member. “You've got to keep yourself occupied. And the exercise helps, too.”
They plan to continue weekly walks at the track through the summer. They might switch things up in the fall and walk around town or at another location, Todd said.
It's meant to be a relaxed, casual group of people who support each other's faith and fitness goals, she said.
She came up with Ditch the Doritos as the group's name, hoping for something that would capture the fun, friendly atmosphere.
“But Doritos are fine,” she said. “We've all had our share of Doritos.”
Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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