A familiar name is leading a charge to get the Oak Creek community fit and losing weight.
Oak Creek Mayor Steve Scaffidi is driving the Mayor's Weight Loss Challenge, which officially kicks off in November but has already created a buzz with many businesses, organizations and residents jumping on board.
Scaffidi is never shy about putting himself out there, and the same applies to this. The mayor has personally pledged to lose 20 pounds and will update his weight regularly on the Weight Loss Challenge Facebook page.
"I used to be lighter," he said. "As you get older, the weight creeps up.
"My progress is front and center. I look at it as, I have to lose the weight. If I don't I set a horrible example. It's going to be me losing the weight and hopefully some people will come along with me."
Scaffidi is trying to enlist as many people as possible — Oak Creek residents or otherwise. A kick-off event is scheduled for Nov. 10 at Oak Creek High School. There, people will register and hear from nutrition experts, health and medical practitioners, see fitness demonstrations and get information from organizations involved.
The challenge lasts until Feb. 10. It's a simple process where people can register, at no cost, and try to lose as much weight as they can, Scaffidi said. Organizers will keep track of the total weight loss of all participants; each person's individual weight will be kept private.
Prizes will be awarded to people who lose the most weight, while everyone will be entered into random drawings.
The challenge will feature "flash fitness" events, Scaffidi said. An event will be posted on the Facebook page one day beforehand — it could be a 3-mile walk on Thanksgiving or a 5k on New Year's Day, for example.
The initiative is being funded through donations. No tax dollars are involved.
- Updates: Stay up-to-date through the Mayor's Weight Loss Challenge Facebook page.
Several Oak Creek fitness centers eagerly signed on to the initiative.
"Basically we just want to let people know that there's a lot of ways to get fit, if it's training at a gym, kickboxing, zumba, all that kind of stuff," said Drew Stauffaucher of 9Round, one of the businesses participating. "And the fact that ... there is all that stuff in Oak Creek."
Maggie McNeive, a co-owner of CrossFit Oak Creek, said the challenge fit the business' goals of promoting a healthy community.
"One of the big things when we came together and decided to open up CrossFit was building a fit community," she said. "So this was like a dream come true."
The challenge isn't only about exercise. It's also about eating right and generally living a healthy lifestyle.
That has many other businesses and organizations into the act. Di Carlo, for example, is offering a special 500-calorie menu item for the mayor's challenge, Scaffidi said.
The challenge hasn't officially started, but the word has already gotten out.
"I've even had patients ask me about it," said Jennifer Scheeler, one of the doctors at Wheaton Franciscan's new Oak Creek clinic.
Wheaton is one of the primary sponsors and will be holding seminars in conjunction with the challenge.
For Scaffidi, the attempt to get fit and lose weight is also already well under way.
He's doing four successive months at four fitness facilities — Oak Creek Fitness, 9Round, CrossFit Oak Creek and his home club, Experience Fitness. He said he's already lost about six pounds, which will make it tougher on himself to lose 20 pounds between Nov. 10 and Feb. 10.
"I thrive on the challenge," he said. "I want to be pressured and pushed to do it and I will do it."