The Oneida Indian Nation’s Blue4U program wrapped up its third year on Wednesday, May 23, with a celebratory luncheon at the Nation’s Cookhouse on Territory Road. The innovative program provides Government Programs and Services employees with an expansive guide to healthy living through wellness education, telephone health coaching, fun team challenges that test the mind and body, and optional before and after blood screenings complete with a comprehensive report that offers suggestions for improvement.

Starting back in September, participants began monitoring their wellness progress with a point-tracker to encourage consistent involvement throughout the year. The incentive-based program enables participants to tally up those points, which are earned for completing several wellness activities, and those that finished with 50 points or more by May 18 received a certificate of completion at the luncheon. At two points during the year, participants were also entered in a drawing for Turning Stone Resort Casino gift cards after they completed specific activities outlined on their point sheet.

Pat Catalano, the Nation’s GP&S Programs Coordinator, says the program is a great way for employees to stay active at home and at work throughout the year.

“We had 49 employees that participated this year, which was great to see,” she said before the start of the lunch. “There are a lot of benefits for those that participate, and at the end of the program, the medical reports show you where and how you can improve, from lowering your cholesterol to improving your diet.”

Recreation Supervisor Cole Perkins coordinated all of the team building challenges and each of the GP&S departments won a challenge. Nation Member Maureen Ray (Turtle Clan), who works in the Housing department, says the program is a great way to stay accountable.

“It’s an awesome program to develop healthy eating habits,” she said. “The calorie counter was an eye-opener because what you think might be the healthiest option might not have the lowest calories. And the worksheets are a great way to keep you invested.”

Dana Sovocool, Vice President of Human Resources, also spoke at the luncheon to congratulate the award recipients and to thank the many people involved with managing the program. Pat gave out the awards after the buffet-style healthy lunch.

Blue4U is a voluntary program through Excellus BlueCross BlueShield and powered by Interactive Health Solutions, Inc. to help participants learn more about their current health and how to make improvements moving forward. The pilot program is being considered for employees throughout Nation Enterprises.