Fit to Fly'

Wawa launches wellness initiative

Greg Lindenberg, Editor, CSP

WAWA, Pa. -- Wawa Inc. has launched the "Fit to Fly Wellness Journey," an employee health initiative, the retailer's CEO, Howard Stoeckel, said in his "Bird's Eye View" blog. The program was rolled out last Wednesday with a barbeque at the Wawa Beverage Center where hundreds of associates and their families joined company executives "to celebrate [their] commitment to health and wellness."

Wawa's new wellness manager, Ralph Lardieri, told CSP Daily News, "What does Fit to Fly mean at Wawa? It means soaring to new heightsnot only physically and mentallybut through [image-nocss] knowledge of finances and balancing work and life."

He said the program's goal is "to bring wellness to directly to [Wawa's] associates and family members to improve their quality of lifeby making it easier to access programs and tools to be aware of their good health."

Under the new wellness initiative, the company has started to launch and implement a series of programs and resources designed to help associates embrace a healthy lifestyle. In July, it featured something every day at its Wawa, Pa., corporate offices to promote wellnessfrom daily menu specials to exercise programs to chair massages.

The Fit to Fly in July program culminated in the barbecue and health/wellness fair that made information from health providers available to associates.
In addition, it has started to roll out a program called Cardio-Kinetics, a series of biometric measures that help benefit-eligible associates know the state of their health and learn of potential problems. "Our goal is to extend this program to every region in our company, and we're more than half way there," said Lardieri. "The program includes a health risk assessment, and screenings (blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, BMI) to encourage associates to 'know their numbers' and be aware of the state of their health."

Fitness center reimbursements and discounts on gym and exercise equipment are also part of the initiative, he added.

"There was truly something for everyone's tastes and fancy, and we invited each and every associate and their family members to sample tasty and healthy snacks from our barbeque and visit more than 20 health and personal wealth stations to learn about everything from diet and nutrition to financial management and tobacco cessation," Stoeckel said. "Associates relaxed with chair massages, and kids exerted endless energy in our moon bounce, slide and gamesall of which focused on promoting physical activity."

A healthy cupcake contest was held to recognize the best recipes for cupcakes using healthy ingredients.

Stoeckel even climbed into a dunk tank to benefit the company's internal Associates in Need Fund.

"I'm thrilled that everyone left our Fit to Fly barbeque rejuvenated and excited about leading a healthier future. At Wawa, we are renewing our commitment to wellness by helping our associates form healthier lifestyles by embracing both wellness and fitness. This commitment is rooted in our Wawa valuesparticularly our commitment to value people. Our brand new Fit to Fly Wellness Journey enables us to focus on our associates in a way that no other program or initiative can. We're taking a more holistic approach that enables us to focus on every part of what keeps our associates mentally and physically healthy, from their diet to financial wealth."

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Wawa operates 573 convenience stores in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia.