We Can!® City: Carson City, Nevada

Nevada State Health Division, Ron Wood Family Resource Center

"As Nevada's first We Can! City, Carson City has embraced the We Can! program and we are finding that every year there is more and more awareness."
—Joyce Buckingham, Executive Director of the Ron Wood Family Resource Center

The capital of Nevada has always been on the cutting edge, all the way back to 1858 when it first became a frontier town. And that can-do, Carson City pioneer spirit lives on, with the community coming together to implement the We Can! program, rushing forward to become a We Can! City, and subsequently hosting a regional training that drew more than 100 attendees, all in a mere six months.

And the program keeps coming up golden in the former mining town. Read more about how Carson City has been using the We Can! program since May 2007 to teach its citizens about ways to help everyone stay a healthy weight, below. Nearly 3,000 people have been reached already through materials distribution, and many more have benefited from other forms of community outreach.

Click on the links below to jump to certain sections.

Key Successes

Activities continuing into 2009 at the Ron Wood Family Resource Center—We Can!’s primary lead in Carson City—have been supported by a Comprehensive Cancer Grant from the Fund for Healthy Nevada for $54,000. The grant, awarded to the Center in July 2008, is given to outlets that promote dietary guidelines recommending physical activity and eating five or more servings of fruit and vegetables per day.

The center won the grant based on its activities for the We Can! program, including its activities as a We Can! City and hosting the We Can! training.

Carson City Training

In the programming section that follows, there’s a closer look at how Carson City’s efforts have brought We Can! to the attention of nearly 3,000 people through materials distribution, and many more through other forms of community outreach.

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Since June 2008, the city held 13 We Can! courses in a single year.

Classes are held in three different locations: at the Fremont Elementary School; the Boys and Girls Club of Western Nevada; and the Carson City Juvenile Probation Center. These locations also hold four We Can!-based nutrition classes each, annually.

Dancing girl

Their nutrition classes are a great example of how the We Can! curricula can dovetail with other nutrition and physical activity programs—Carson City chose to wed We Can! to the Junior Master Gardener series by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service.

The result is that youth attending We Can! nutrition classes in Carson City all have Nutrition in the Garden projects. Nutrition in the Garden is a program through which master gardeners and nutrition educators teach youth how to prepare soil, plant vegetables, harvest them, and then prepare nutritious recipes from their harvest. All of these activities support the healthy eating lessons the students learn through We Can!

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Without its partners, Carson City’s We Can!-based programs wouldn’t have the same depth or breadth. Some of the city’s diverse partners include:

  • Boys and Girls Club—Western Nevada
  • Carson City Juvenile Probation
  • Carson City Park and Recreation Department
  • Fremont School
  • Jenny Craig
  • Muscle Powered
  • Nevada Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Education Program
  • Parks For Paws
  • Washoe Tribal Health Center

Carson City becomes a We Can! City

In October 2008, the Park and Recreation Department and the Washoe Tribal Health Center helped host an extremely successful regional training which not only drew 109 attendees, it also served as the backbone for a city-wide celebration of Carson City’s entry into fold of We Can! cities. One of the most memorable events on that day were students from Bordewich-Bray Elementary School and the Washoe Tribe Head Start singing and dancing at the Nevada Children's Museum as Nevada's first lady, Dawn Gibbons, and Carson City Mayor Marv Teixeira prepared to make the official announcement.

Public elementary school classes all over the city also took a simultaneous 10-minute activity break to promote We Can!

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Outreach & Events

Carson City’s pioneer spirit has shined in year-round events and successes:

Spring & Fall

  • Carson City Bike Rodeo: In May and September 2008, children learned about bicycle safety, participated in a bicycle riding course with typical hazards that they may encounter when riding their bicycles, and their parents sometimes participated, too. At the September 2008 rodeo, We Can! stickers and brochures were distributed to 79 participants to encourage them to keep up their physical activity.
Carson City Bike Rodeo


  • A Parks for Paws Physical Agility and Costume Contest—where families and their dogs participated in physical activity challenges, received We Can! materials, and enjoyed healthy snacks—also took place in October 2008.


  • We Can! Family Night Out Events: In July and August 2008 the city provided families with light, nutritious dinners and fun physical activities at a local park.


  • We Can! materials were also distributed at a number of other community events featuring healthy nutrition and physical activity in 2008, including Salsa y Salsa, a Snap-on-Tool Health Fair, a Carson Chamber of Commerce Leadership Forum, a Harley-Davidson Health Fair, and a campaign for Holiday Food Baskets for the Needy.
  • Partner Muscle Powered hosted a We Can!-Muscle Power Community Walk every month in 2008.

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Contact Information

For more information on Carson City’s We Can! platform, please send a letter to:

Joyce Buckingham
Executive Director
Ron Wood Family Resource Center
212 East Winnie Lane
Carson City, NV 89706

For additional contact information, send an email to nhlbiinfo@nhlbi.nih.gov.

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Last Updated: February 13, 2013