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ST6: Champions

Framework Component

Readiness & Capacity - Organizational Motivators

Indicator Description

This indicator is intended to identify people who provide sustained and often charismatic leadership that successfully advocates for, creates appeal of, or improves access to nutrition and physical activity in various organizations or environmental settings. SNAP-Ed champions are community members, participants, partners, and organizational leaders who extend their influence beyond direct delivery sites of SNAP-Ed interventions. In many SNAP-Ed programs, there are award and recognition programs to thank and celebrate efforts of people whose contributions went above and beyond the normal course of collaborative action.

Background and Context

Research has consistently shown that successful social change movements need leaders who "champion" the cause over a long period as it develops and grows over time. In SNAP-Ed, such leaders can emerge naturally at any stage of intervention, from planning an innovation through to its diffusion on a larger scale. It does not have to be demonstrated that the SNAP-Ed program was responsible for developing or "creating" the champion. But there should be a description of how the SNAP-Ed program interacted with the champion and benefited from the champion's activities, or alternatively, how the efforts and accomplishments of the champion benefited from the activities of the SNAP-Ed program. ST6 defines the added value that such champions contributed to help achieve SNAP-Ed outcomes, primarily in Environmental Settings, but also in multiple Sectors of Influence, to help population results (R1-11).

For a champion's activities to be considered a SNAP-Ed outcome, there must be a connection between the champion's work and the presence of the SNAP-Ed program such that the SNAP-Ed objectives are supported and benefits accrue to SNAP-Ed eligible people, sites, and communities. For example, the champion's efforts might directly augment the SNAP-Ed program activities, or the champion might be identified through interactions with SNAP-Ed staff to work for change in the broader SNAP-Ed eligible site, organization, or community-at-large. The achievement would not have occurred without them.

Some examples of champions and their activities follow: 

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Outcome Measures

What to Measure

Numerical counts and qualitative descriptions. Reporting is done only when there are examples of champions who achieved significant results during the period assessed. The documentation for this indicator includes brief descriptions of selected champions' activities, accomplishments, and benefits to the site, organization, or community. Their activities may involve the following areas of activity:

  • Providing leadership
  • Promoting collaborations (e.g., establishing or strengthening partnerships, coalitions, committees)
  • Producing innovations (e.g., initiating creative strategies to achieve nutrition and physical activity goals or to overcome barriers)
  • Engaging in advocacy (working with community leaders and decision-makers to advance policies and institute best practices)

For aggregation purposes, the instances of champion activities may be assigned a level within the following categories. (If a champion has multiple roles, such as parent and community leader, the designated role can be the one that is most closely tied to that individual's champion activity.)

  • Domain: Eat, learn, live, play, shop, and work
  • Role: Youth, parent/caregiver, community member, staff/service provider, community leader/decision maker, local celebrity.

Population

Champions may be specific to different environmental settings or organizations, or to multiple sectors of influence.

Surveys and Data Collection Tools

Often champions will bubble up naturally because of the unusual contributions or close working relationships with SNAP-Ed staff and partners. In other cases, it may be necessary to use qualitative approaches, identifying key informants and using individual or focus group interview approaches in the local setting. The key informants might represent organizations, agencies, stakeholder groups, individuals in the community, etc. For example, interviews with key informants can be used to identify who the champions in a community are. Individual interviews with the champion can be used to find out about the details of the champion's activity.

CDC. Data collection methods for program evaluation: Interviews. 2009. Evaluation brief #17. https://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/evaluation/pdf/brief17.pdf

CDC. Data collection methods for program evaluation: Focus groups. 2008. Evaluation brief #13. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/evaluation/pdf/brief13.pdf

Key Glossary Terms

Champions

Additional Resources or Supporting Citations

Resources that discuss champions: These Web sites will differ in their direct relevance to SNAP-Ed, but they all provide helpful perspective for understanding the general concept of champions more deeply, and how champions can impact a community.

Resource on analyzing data from interviews:

Publication describing factors found to influence successful social movements:

  • Economos C, Brownson R, DeAngelis M, Foerster S, Foreman CT, Kumanyika S, Pate R, Gregson J. What lessons have been learned from other attempts to guide social change? Nutrition Reviews. 2001: (II) S40-S56.