Promoting Physical Fitness in Our CUs & Communities

As executives, we have a responsibility to ourselves to keep fit. As role models, we can help promote healthy lifestyles for our staff, and communities. One way is to get involved in the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run.




After a visit to my doctor late in 2007, I had to face the reality that is common to many busy executives: special dinners, business lunches, and the pressures of running a company had led to a few too many extra pounds.  I needed to do something to get in shape, and jogging was a good candidate for an exercise program for several reasons—it can be accomplished early in the morning before work, it is done outside in the fresh air, and it’s something you can get in to without buying a lot of expensive equipment. 

As with any physical training program, it’s best if you have a goal to motivate you—such as a high profile event or competition.  That is when I became aware of the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run that benefits Children’s Miracle Network’s affiliated children’s hospitals. I decided that preparing to compete in that event would be my motivation for training. 

At the same time, I set out to get other credit unions in California interested in training for and participating in the run.  After discussing this with the California and Nevada League, we realized that getting participants from more credit unions would hinge on not only getting other senior management officials to participate, but front line and back office credit union staff as well. The costs to send a few employees to DC can add up fast, especially for smaller credit unions.

Our goal is to procure sponsorships from our business partners to offset travel and lodging costs for qualified credit union staff participants. The program is being “beta tested” in California, and we have come up with some basic parameters:

Applicants must demonstrate a commitment to their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital by completing 10 volunteer hours in the 12 months preceding the event.  Applicants must also demonstrate the ability to run 10 miles in the time frame allotted for the race, which is two hours and 20 minutes maximum.  This will be verified by submitting an appropriate finishing time from a USATF certified 10K or half marathon in the 12 months prior to the event.

It is my hope that the scholarship program to participate in the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run will be seen as a unique opportunity with several benefits, such as:

  • Increased credit union involvement in the local community
  • A vehicle for credit unions to promote and encourage a healthy, active lifestyle for employees
  • A chance to support a worthy cause and strengthen the credit union affinity with CMN
  • A great way to increase visibility in front of our lawmakers, signifying that this is truly a national event
  • Local CMN affiliated hospitals in California and Nevada would receive even more money, as a result of participation from our credit unions
  • Those organizations providing sponsorships would heighten their industry profile and it would allow them to strengthen their brand awareness to credit unions of all sizes.

As executives, we have a responsibility to ourselves to keep fit.  As role models, we can help promote healthy lifestyles for our staff, and communities.  One way is to get involved in the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run.  Health spreads, the awareness of credit unions grows, and children get the essential medical care they need.

Author John Pamer, President/CEO of Diablo Valley FCU, California, will be running in the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run

The Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run -- the “runner’s rite of spring” -- is held each year during the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC. Since 2002 when credit unions became the title sponsors, over $2.6 million has been donated back to credit unions’ local Children’s  Miracle Network hospital   Furthermore,  the credit union advantage is spotlighted before our Members of Congress.  It is a national event with local impact.  Get involved today, go to





Jan. 26, 2009


  • John - I applaud your enthusiasm, commitment and the brilliant "scholarship" concept to send runners to Washington, D.C. Here's to your health!
    Valerie Passwaiter
  • John, thank you for your support. This event is a wonderful vehicle for credit unions to do something great for sick children at the local level and get some fantastic recognition on a national level. Also, such a wonderful suggestion to get staff who are working to help the needs of those less fortunate a chance to participate in this event. I guarantee you that once you see the event you will participate evern year.
    Bill Brooks
  • Great article!
  • Wonderful article, I hope this starts a trend... Our CU did something similar on the local level and fielded a cycling team consisting of members and staff to participate in the 150 Mile Bike to Finish MS in SoCal. It was a great experience and we will definitely be looking for more events to participate in.
    Chuck Baldwin
  • Fantastic! all of it - the dedication, the contribution, the involvement and let's not minimize the role model affect either. Participating in online communities has confirmed that people (even little people) watch and they remember. Keep up the great work - enthusiasm and discipline are contagious.
  • PS......I hope you'll come out early and attend our kick off event held April 3rd, at the Children's National Medical Center, and the Sponsor Gala that night.
    Jan Roche
  • John, THanks so much for your support of the event. It's great to see the interest reaching across the country, coast to coast. With help from our lead partner, PSCU, we were able to donate money to all hospitals in CMN's system last year. With more enthusiastic participants like you, we'll be able to give back even more.
    Jan Roche, Treasurer, CUMD, Inc.
  • John: On behalf of Children's Miracle Network and the 17 million kids served by our affilaited children's hospitals, thanks for your leadership and commitment...With our hospitals severly stressed with the turndown in the economy, the support of the credit union community is more critical now than ever...See you in DC. Best, Joe Dearborn Children's Miracle Network Managing Director, Credit Unions for Kids
    Joe Dearborn
  • Great article. Another approach that you could take is to have employees raise money for the Children's Miracle Network. You can set a minimum that they need to reach and part of their funds can be used to cover their traveling expenses to DC to participate in the race. A number of organizations, such as AIDS Marathon, Team in Training, etc. already have programs like this in place.