Representatives from organizations all around West Virginia gathered in Buckhannon for the third annual Try This Conference, an event designed to connect advocates around the state with new ways to work on improving public health. The event is hosted at West Virginia Wesleyan College, and includes outdoor activities set around sessions designed to share success stories with attendees.
“Public health is a huge issue in this state. We look at the health care costs of the people who live in this state, and we’re talking about basically overrunning our budget in about five years. So we’re looking to increase public health as a whole, and this is one of the best ways to do it,” said conference organizer Adam Flack.
It’s an issue that is often tackles on a local level. Calhoun County Extension Agent Jamie Mullins was attending the conference for the first time this year, and she said she’s already seen and heard ideas that could make a difference in her county.
“We’re one of those counties that have lots of health issues, and that’s the overall focus of Try This, is in improving health, whether it be through farmers market projects or physical fitness projects, so I think any of these ideas are going to be really valuable,” said Mullins.
But Try This isn’t just about the ideas, it’s also about putting what works into action, and doing so quickly. By the end of the conference, participants will have the chance to make an impact on their home areas by putting their new ideas to work.
“At the end of it, if you see something you like, you get to walk in there, and you get to maybe meet some other people that you want to do something with, and you get to write a grant proposal right then and there. In the first two years, Try This has given out 99 grants,” Flack said.