In April 2012, partners from the Marathon County Alcohol & Other Drug Partnership Council, Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Coalition, Early Years Coalition and the Hunger Coalition in Marathon County came together to create a community-wide campaign called The Real Happy Hour. Within months, this new community collaboration adopted an official logo and mission, “Promoting quality family time together for a healthier community.”
To truly make this effort a community-owned project, the collaborating coalitions wanted to produce a brand that can be used by an indeterminate number of invested individuals and organizations. The Real Happy Hour (RHH) will not only promote the mission and goals of each collaborating partner, it will primarily focus on the protective factors that link the impact of family mealtime and family playtime on childhood obesity, alcohol and substance abuse in adolescents, and early childhood development.
The driving force behind The Real Happy Hour is a core group of community leaders and organizations that have abandoned their individual agendas in favor of a collective approach to support families spending quality time together in Marathon County. This group, The Real Happy Hour Task Force, has accepted a shared vision for change and common agenda to support The Real Happy Hour’s mission.
The Real Happy Hour campaign is designed to flourish from the coordination of differing activities and opportunities created by the network of organizations involved. The Real Happy Hour is not trying to create new educational programs, services, or events for families in Marathon County. Instead, it is determined to connect families to the resources that are already available in the community in which they live.
The Real Happy Hour is focusing the entire community on a single set of goals that promote and support opportunities for families to spend quality time together engaging in healthy behaviors. This focus requires a systemic approach that focuses on networking between organizations and progress toward shared objectives. This approach ensures that all organizations, agencies, and community stakeholders involved with The Real Happy Hour recognize and understand the true power that collective impact can have on our community.
The Real Happy Hour campaign has two simple goals. The first is to identify how families in Marathon County spend quality time together and to “brand” these moments as a The Real Happy Hour. Whether it’s cooking and eating a meal together at home, going on a walk or bike ride to the park, or reading together before bedtime, these moments that families spend together are quality examples to The Real Happy Hour’s mission.
The second goal is to move families from identifying “what are” some examples of The Real Happy Hour, to answer the question, “How can we do that and where do we start?” This campaign will not only create a network of stories and catalog of ideas, it will also provide links to local resources, free or low cost activities, and family-friendly events in the community which is meant to educate and empower families to create their own Real Happy Hour in Marathon County.
The RHH Task Force has developed a website (www.therealhappyhour.org), social media pages on Facebook and Twitter, and various other marketing and promotional items for our partners and neighbors to use to bring attention to this one simple step we can all take to work toward a healthier community.