Did you know that the nationally recognized Soda Free Summer campaign was born right here in Alameda County back in 2007? That’s right. It was Alameda County Public Health Department, Nutrition Services that first conceived of the innovative 10 week campaign to motivate and educate residents to make healthier beverage choices. We must have been on to something as the number of allies we have in the fight against soda and other sugar sweetened beverages continues to grow!
Scroll through the highlights below to see how the Soda Free Summer campaign has gotten bigger and better every year.
We also hope that you and your friends, family and coworkers are ready to Rethink your Drink and have a Soda Free Summer!
We’re more committed than ever to spreading the sugar savvy message and helping bring about organizational and local policy changes. For example, one of our partner organizations, East Oakland Boxing Association, recently implemented a “no junk food” and healthy beverage policy, while another partner, Lotus Bloom - a child and family resource center - has their new policy in the works. We’re also doing community transformation work with generous funding provided by the Public Health Institute through The California Endowment! These youth serving organizations are promoting healthful environments through the implementation of youth developed food and beverage policies of their own! Last but not least, we launched a new media campaign featuring artwork used with permission from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s Choose Health LA initiative.
2012 found us continuing to educate individuals, and promote organizational and environmental change by combining forces with our public health allies. We were inspired to attend and participate in the inaugural National Soda Summit held in Washington D.C. In fact, we were blown away by all of the great work being done to combat sugary drink consumption in the United States. The tide is definitely turning away from sugary drinks and towards water!
In 2011 we held the Second Annual YouTube Video Contest and BANPAC created a children’s book called Potter the Otter, featuring an adorable otter who teaches his animal friends about drinking water. In addition, BANPAC focused on helping organizations pass institutional policies in support of healthy beverages and the California Department of Public Health decided to launch the Rethink Your Drink campaign state-wide.
In 2009, the campaign added preschool and dental partners, targeting children under five and their parents. The popular “Drink Water, Said the Otter” activity books were unveiled to the delight of youngsters everywhere. In addition, we continued to provide timely information and spread the campaign far and wide through social media channels, garnering over 500 facebook fans in the process.
Alameda County took the excitement and interest to new levels in 2009 with an incredible Soda Free Summer campaign kick off. We partnered with Oakland Parks and Recreation (OPR) and KBLX-FM, one of the Bay Area’s top radio stations, to kick-off the summer campaign during OPR’s annual Play Day in the Plaza in downtown Oakland. Young and old caught the Soda Free Summer spirit. But the kick-off was just the beginning. Our many partners kept the interest going – and growing – through educational workshops, an informative public service and radio advertising campaign, not to mention outdoor advertising placed on billboards and bus tails, a new presence on social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter, and a series of targeted promotions with KBLX throughout the summer. A You Tube Video Contest inspired home filmmakers who submitted creative and fun videos about being soda free – check out the finalists.
In 2008, the campaign gained momentum with five additional Bay Area counties—Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara—joining our efforts thanks to additional funding from Kaiser Permanente, Health Trust of Silicon Valley, Shape Up San Francisco, The California Endowment and the Alameda County Public Health Department. Now the Soda Free Summer message was reaching youth and adults across the entire region. The Bay Area expansion was coordinated by the Bay Area Nutrition and Physical Activity Collaborative (BANPAC), a regional collaborative of public and private organizations involved in nutrition and physical activity promotion, especially targeting low-income communities in the Bay Area. In addition, the California Nutrition Network regions developed companion Rethink Your Drink materials.
In 2007, Alameda County Public Health Department - Nutrition Services launched the Soda Free Summer campaign thanks to a generous grant from Kaiser Permanente. The innovative 10-week Soda Free Summer campaign created a lot of excitement throughout the county. The campaign’s goal was an easy one for most young people and adults to embrace – reduce or eliminate products full of sugar/high fructose corn syrup – beginning with soda. It was that simple. In order to motivate and educate Alameda County residents to make healthier choices, we provided tracking logs, information on healthy alternatives to drinking soda and fun incentives including colorful wrist bands, stickers and temporary tattoos. So,,,did it work, you ask? Of the people receiving the tracking log, 85 percent found it useful and 65 percent agreed that it helped them to either eliminate or reduce soda consumption!