Documenting Participants’ Experiences

Joining a walking group may be a catalyst for change in your participants’ lives. Keeping track of changes will help participants recognize their growth and feel proud of what they accomplish, which in turn will keep them motivated to continue their efforts. In addition, personal accounts are often very valuable tools in convincing others to join your group, or demonstrating the effectiveness of your group, be it to other staff members of your organization, management, other organizations in your community, or potential funders.

Pay close attention to what your participants say about their experience in the group, and write this information down using the provided Leader’s Tracking form (see “Mood Walks Evaluation Tools”). Direct quotes often provide a wealth of rich information about how your participants have benefited by participating in the group. Here are a few questions you could ask after a walk, to get some feedback:

  • What is the first word that comes to mind?
  • What was the best thing about the walk today for you?
  • What would have made today’s walk better for you?

Some participants may be journaling or blogging about their experiences. If participants keep such records, they may be comfortable sharing a quote or two. Let participants know you are always looking for feedback about their experiences, and they may surprise you by sharing. Posting such feedback on your group bulletin board (checking with participants before using any identifying information) may provide some incentive for others to contribute.

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