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Health and wellness summit set for Feb. 20: BSU's Bensen to deliver keynote, 'Planning from the Furture'

The Third Annual Becker County Energize Community Health & Wellness Summit will be held next Tuesday, Feb. 20 from 7:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. at First Lutheran Church in Detroit Lakes. Keynote speaker Jim Bensen, president emeritus at Bemidji State University, will share his visionary and innovative methods of "Planning from the Future" — and no, that's not a typo, says Karen Crabtree, Becker County Energize facilitator and manager of community health and social services at Essentia Health St. Mary's in Detroit Lakes.

"One of his favorite themes is that if you're planning for tomorrow, you're already behind," Crabtree continued, noting that Bensen is an inspiring presenter and innovative, visionary thinker who "will energize us to move our communities forward."

"He's nationally, and even internationally known for his work on community development in Bemidji," she said.

Morning sessions will also take a look at Becker County-specific data regarding child safety, household income and economics, and how the three relate to each other, as well as issues like mental health, lack of affordable housing, obesity and more, "to give a holistic picture of where our community is at," Crabtree said.

"We'll also be celebrating some initiatives that have been successful," she added.

Following a free lunch for all participants, afternoon breakout sessions will focus on existing opportunities to support community health and wellness.

"Volunteerism is one of our biggest needs," Crabtree said. "There are so many opportunities and things you can do, from working on policies and curriculum to planning educational events and activities."

Though participants are welcome to stay for the entire day, "people can also come and go as they choose," she added. "It's all free, and there is no registration required."

Donations to support local community needs will be accepted, however: Participants are asked to consider bringing along items like small laundry baskets, 4-packs of toilet paper rolls, small-size dish soap dispensers and cooking pots, laundry detergent or facial tissues.

Becker County Energize is a grassroots community health movement led by Essentia Health that brings people together to collaborate and invest in environmental, system and policy changes for the greater good of our community. The vision of Becker County Energize is that people in the community are healthy, active, safe, supported and engaged. For more information, please visit their page on Facebook.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 17 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454