People can expect to find more help on their road to a better lifestyle at the 2013 Healthy Living Fair.
According to Gerry Karr, president of the Okanagan-Similkameen Healthy Living Society, it's time to offer more than an annual event as in previous years.
"While we will still produce a fair, we're going to be more than a fair," said Karr. "We're really taking ourselves from being simply the owners of an event called the Healthy Living Fair to the creators of a program which is going to offer far more than the fair."
The new model will provide more ways to engage people into adopting a healthy lifestyle through active communications using the Internet, as well as providing mechanisms that will allow individuals to receive assistance once they've committed to improving their health.
"Up until now what we had done with our fairs is we did have coaches that would help them develop an action plan but then we dropped it there. We didn't offer them any help after that," he said.
"Now what we will be doing is working on establishing, using existing resources in the community to provide counselling and support for people who do develop and action plan and also monitoring their progress, with their consent of course."
As the information is collected it will be used to test ideas and to explore new methods for offering people support.
"We as a society we have this vision but we don't have the resources ourselves to do all that work," said Karr. "That's why we want to form a coalition. We want to form a formal structured partnership with other agencies that do have the resources."
The society has been in discussions with Interior Health, the City of Penticton, School District No. 67 and the Penticton Indian Band to develop a letter of understanding outlining its goals.
The job of community partners would be to help the society in providing access to health-related services to people in the area.
"We will be able to draw the resources from these sources, put them all together and develop innovations so it'll be more than just the good work that they're already doing . . . they will collaborate and develop new and exciting methods of supporting healthy living."
Next year's fair will cater to all age groups, but will have a greater focus on the family unit, to help ensure that young people remain active throughout their childhood and into their teenage years.
The fair will also specialize with the high risk sectors of the population which includes the First Nations and Indo-Canadian populations.
The society applied for charitable status in January and Karr said he's hopeful it will be granted soon. Once the society becomes a registered charity it will be able to apply for the grants needed to secure funding for the programs it wants to operate in conjunction with its community partners.