PUBLISHED: 3:24 PM on Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Eagles vs. Ravens
SEARHC sponsors fitness challenge
The heat is on to be fit and have fun as the Eagles vs. Ravens Challenge approaches.

The SouthEast Alaska Regional Consortium event was last held in 2003 as a series of annual walking competitions pitting the Eagle Moiety vs. the Raven Moiety, with additional competitions for individuals and small teams.

On July 2, the challenge will return to Juneau and has been revamped with a more holistic approach to improve health and wellness of the Alaska Native community.

The event is open to all Juneau residents, regardless of age and whether they are Native or non-Native. Participants earn points for walking and other physical activity, as well as improving diets, quitting smoking, reducing stress, getting check-ups and attending or volunteering in community and cultural events.

"The idea of the competition is to be an educational and fun way to focus on health," said Aaron Hozid, a health educator for SEARHC.

Eagles vs. Ravens began as a walking contest in 1998 in Klukwan.

While the event is still held there, it has been introduced throughout Southeast Alaska, Hozid said.

"We've expanded that notion to a wellness contest, really," he said. "The event looks at nutrition, stress management - elements for a healthy lifestyle."

The large presence of the Eagle and Raven moieties was the initial cause for the naming of the challenge, but does not limit the event to Native people.

"The major competition is teams, and those consist of two to eight people. There are individual achievements, as well," Hozid said.

The community of Kake is in its fifth week of the challenge, which has been held there for four years. Community wellness advocate Georgie Reese said there are more than 20 people participating in the challenge.

"The Ravens are ahead right now," Reese said. "In the beginning there were more Ravens than Eagles signed up and a group of ladies were trying to recruit more Eagles and were joking. It's a friendly rival."

Reese said the challenge implements the weekly community walks held each Saturday as a way to earn points for the event. She said the walk is different each week with a variety of music from Patsy Cline to the Beatles and a dedication, such as walking for the sake of graduating seniors or veterans.

Warm summer weather makes the Eagles vs. Ravens challenge an event to get people outdoors.

"We have whole families signed up," Reese said. "It's a contest the community enjoys every year, and it's a good way to get out and get exercise as a family or an individual."

To register for the Juneau event, call Christa Lott at 364-4460 or send an e-mail to