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The Stay Active and Independent for Life (SAIL) Program in the North Fork Valley

Strength and balance training for older adults has proven to help reduce the risk of falls. With over 3 million treated in emergency departments each year for fall injuries, fitness classes for adults 65+ are extremely valuable to communities. In the North Fork Valley, over 20% of 9-1-1 calls are for people who are not taken to the hospital, but need help getting up after a fall. Doing regular strength, balance and flexibility exercises is a great way to relieve stress, sleep better, grow stronger, and maintain a healthy, independent life.

North Fork EMS is excited to offer the Stay Active and Independent for Life (SAIL) program to the North Fork Valley. SAIL is an evidence-based falls prevention program designed for older adults. In 2007, a foundational research study for the SAIL program was published in the Journal of Gerontology. In September 2012, SAIL was recognized as a Title IIID – Evidence-Based Program by the Administration on Aging, meeting the highest level of criteria for an evidence-based program.

The SAIL program is able to accommodate people with a mild level of mobility difficulty (e.g. people who are occasional cane users), and may be done sitting or standing. The class consists of the following components: warm up, aerobics, balance exercises, strength exercises, stretching and education.

The one-hour class is held in Hotchkiss, Crawford and Paonia, two times a week in each community. Classes are led by Samantha Thompson, Anne Strellman, Elise Wages and Medeina Ryan. All classes are offered for free! See the class schedule below for details on times and locations. If you have any questions, please contact Katie at 970-201-3423 or

SAIL Class Schedule


Monday & Thursday •  9:30 – 10:30am • Hotchkiss Memorial Hall


Tuesday & Friday  •  8:45 – 9:45am  &  10:00 – 11:00am  • Paonia Senior Center


Monday & Wednesday  •  10:00 – 11:00am  •  Crawford Community Room

Tuesday & Thursday  •  5:30 – 6:30pm • Crawford Community Room

*Note: The Tuesday/Thursday Crawford class is an advanced level class.

The Second Annual 2024 North Fork Health & Wellness Expo Returned to Hotchkiss

The Second Annual 2024 North Fork Health &Wellness Expo was a great success! The event included notable speakers in health-related fields, 30+ local businesses & organizations, classes & demos, food trucks, giveaways and more!

The goal of the expo is to provide education, access to local health information and connect residents to resources they need. Vendors will include providers in the medical field, holistic health, nutrition, physical therapy, outdoor education, transportation, senior care, agriculture, recreation, and beyond. The North Fork Valley has a diverse array of organizations and opportunities available for the community, and we hope by bringing them together in one space we can help further enrich lives. And to sweeten the pot, the first 300 attendees received a fantastic (and functional!) cotton tote bag filled with goodies from vendors!

Thank you so much to our sponsors, vendors, crew members, speakers, and community members for making this an informative, enriching event for the North Fork Valley!

American Heart Association CPR Certification Classes

North Fork EMS hosts AHA CPR Certification Classes! The cost is $55 and includes an American Heart Association CPR certification card and book. The certification is good for 2 years. We require a minimum of 4 participants per class. For larger groups, we can certify employees in your business or organization for a discounted rate. For more information, please contact Katie at or 970-201-3423.

Safe Sitter Babysitting Course

We’ve wrapped up our 2023 season of Safe Sitter classes! We hosted four classes this year and feel proud of the fantastic students who participated. The course is designed to prepare students to be safe when they’re home alone, watching younger siblings or providing babysitting services. The Safe Sitter Instructor-led class includes games and role-playing exercises, guided discussion, skills practice and CPR/choking rescue.

This class is recommended for 6-8th grade students, but there may be exceptions. It’s extremely valuable for teenagers and young adults to learn first aid and rescue skills, alongside good business practices. Learning these types of life skills at an early age is a great way to show kids how to take on responsibility, and may be building blocks for future jobs.

The class teaches four main categories: safety, child care skills, first aid & rescue, and life & business skills. In the safety portion, students learn how to avoid unsafe situations and what to do in the event of something like a power failure or weather emergency. With child care skills, instructors offer tips to manage behavior that will help them stay in control of themselves and the children in their care. Students also learn the ages and stages of child development, and a lesson on diapering. The first aid section includes CPR and choking rescue from a certified CPR instructor, as well as how to assess and respond to injuries and illnesses. Instructors talk about how to screen jobs, discuss fees and greet employers in the life & business lesson. Students practice these skills through various role plays.

Keep an eye out for classes coming to the North Fork Valley in 2024! We believe this is a wonderful opportunity for pre-teens and teens in our communities!