Since November 2023, Health Foundation of La Porte (HFL) has been partnering with Playon to increase awareness of community activities that support active living in La Porte County. Founded by La Porte natives Sam Maule and Marc Oestreich, Playon (www.playonapp.com) is a digital platform that houses all of La Porte County’s active living resources. Residents can easily search and filter through every venue, park, activity, and organization in the area, from walking trails to yoga classes and everything in between.
Soon to be released as a mobile app, Playon empowers residents to search and discover new ways to be active. This includes finding and registering for sports, clubs, groups, and classes they love as well as trying new experiences like ice skating, snowshoeing, mountain biking, dance, and more. By centralizing information on community activities, Playon removes the barriers that stand between a community and a more active lifestyle, translating into more physical activity for La Porte County residents.
The partnership with Playon supports HFL’s focus on Healthy Living and its emerging Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Initiative. HFL and Playon are working together on an initial social media campaign, Activate La Porte County, using ads on Facebook and Instagram to spread awareness of active living resources in the community and make it easier for people to find activities that match their interests, schedules, and location, among other factors.
"Our alliance with the Health Foundation isn't just a partnership; it's the heart of Playon's dream: to make communities more active. With a modest initial effort, we can already see a spark in our community - daily interactions, comments, and a more active life unfolding with each click. These are just our first steps, but they're important and impactful right here in the place we call home,” shared Marc Oestreich, Playon co-founder.
Now, three months into the initial social media campaign, successes are being celebrated and adjustments are being made, based on what has been learned, to continue working toward a more active La Porte.
Playon Awareness Campaign “Wins” and Lessons
To begin, Playon conducted an initial survey, gathering feedback from more than 150 La Porte County residents, to identify attitudes and behaviors around active living and resources within the community. The Playon team then developed a variety of social media ads, connecting people with the activities and parks that likely interest them. Playon has been running the social media ads since November 2023 and campaign activities are set to ramp up as the spring weather brings classes, camps, and team offerings accepting registration.
"We envision Playon as a formidable tool, aimed at enhancing the quality of life for La Porte County residents,” said Sam Maule, Playon co-founder. “Our dream is a future where the abundant natural treasures of the county, including lakes, parks, and trails, along with the extensive network of rural roads, become vibrant hubs of activity. We aspire to see people embracing an active lifestyle, positioning La Porte as the statewide standard for health outcomes."
While the campaign is still in its early stages, the Playon partnership has already begun to generate learnings that can be used to inform future decisions and programming in La Porte County. Among those findings: La Porte residents seek an active living community and desire to be active, but barriers to active life remain.
“We are quite pleased with the initial results of the Playon Activate La Porte County campaign,” said Maria Fruth, HFL President and CEO, “and we are increasing our efforts to spread awareness of the multitude of active living resources in our community. We hope the platform and forthcoming app will encourage our residents to take advantage of these resources, try new things, and live healthier, more active lives.”