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A Field of Dreams

by Jennifer Carson ASEBP | April 7 2016 | 1 Comment

I’ve always enjoyed the sentiment in the film Field of Dreams. Ray Kinsella’s timeless mantra “If you build it, they will come” was burnished into the minds of a generation of moviegoers. As poor Ray was chastised for, building something and doing nothing more than hoping for traction is a foolhardy pursuit (unless of course you live in Hollywood). But dreams are, most often, what form the foundation of successful ventures. Ray had his baseball field, and we have our Sandbox.

It’s been a mere six months since we realized the dream and launched this website. I can say with confidence that since the inception of the dream (that grain of sand), we’re now reaping the benefits of a fully functional, collaborative space for wellness that is The Sandbox.

If You Build It

At the outset, we’d hoped for 300 registered users after 12 months of promotion, blogging and sharing stories—but that’s not what we’ve ended up with. What we got was much, much more! After only six months we’ve had a total of 455 individuals register in The Sandbox, representing more than 75 different workplaces, with more signing on each week. That’s 455 wellness champions from within the school jurisdictions or directly impacting them that have found value in this little shared space for healthy school workplaces.

Most of you have also signed on to receive The Sandbox E-News—to stay on top of the proverbial wellness sandcastle. I’d love to hear if and how you’re using the newsletter and what you’d like to see there in the future!

The Dream Team

Why do I think our ‘baseball field’ has been successful thus far? There are too many reasons to list here, but I think one of the most important has been our ability to tap into the passion and expertise of our wellness champions, our internal team and our outstanding partners. The work of these three groups ensured we stayed on track and delivered a product that would not only compliment, support and align with the wellness work we knew existed, but also that the collaborative spaces would work to highlight and spark new ideas and dialogue around school employee wellness.

I’ve always thought that the value of a meaningful partnership shouldn’t be overestimated. Watch for a Sandblog coming soon around how to successfully partner with other organizations and make the most out of your wellness initiatives.

What’s Next?

While we’ve seen great initial successes in The Sandbox (I’m over the moon when I get my monthly updates!), it’s certainly not time to rest on our laurels. We’ll be looking to set some baseline targets to ensure the site remains useful and engaging to our school employee wellness champions well into the future.

When I start using the words “useful” and “engaging” it’s time for me to bring things back around to you! How do you use The Sandbox? What pieces do you find most useful in your wellness work? Is there something you’d like to see moving forward?

The Sandbox was our wellness dream. What’s yours?

Jennifer Carson

As former CEO of the Alberta School Employee Benefit Plan and the inspired driver behind The Sandbox, Jennifer truly grasps the many benefits of school employee health promotion in the workplace. Her talents are far-reaching and include writing her name legibly backwards while using her left hand and being terrified of bats.

Megan H. ASEBP | April 12 2016 9:41 AM

Jennifer, you have captured the journey of the Sandbox thus far perfectly!  It certainly feels like a grand beginning to a big adventure in connecting wellness minded school employees across this great province of ours.  I’ve really enjoyed the weekly blogs, the nuggets of wisdom from various disciplines and backgrounds in education and health have left me pondering many important aspects of wellness in the school as a workplace and even here at ASEBP.