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A Message from SparkGuy: Announcing the Launch of SparkAmerica

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Monday, August 02, 2010

Hello SparkPeople Members!

I'm excited to share with you the launch of an exciting new program and website called SparkAmerica! Here is the official announcement page, but I wanted to share some thoughts with you here as well.

SparkAmerica is a new campaign that has many fun and exciting aspects.

First, SparkAmerica is a great way to motivate YOU to stay on track to reach your goals. It emphasizes taking consistent, small actions that make a big difference, such as doing 10 minutes of daily fitness and earning SparkPoints on the site. We have seen these types of activities change so many lives over the years. Several years ago, we created an online program in our hometown called SparkCincinnati that was similar to this. It was a hit around the city and we have always wanted to take this program national (and eventually global). Now is the time for SparkAmerica!

Second, SparkAmerica is a great new way to Spread the Spark to everyone you know. Our number one source of new members is current members who spread the spark. But we know that many members feel uncomfortable talking about weight loss with their friends. SparkAmerica changes all of this since it is a new site that is geared toward everyone—not just people who might be interested in losing weight. So, it’s a great way for you to help your friends, family and co-workers reach their goals.

Third, SparkAmerica is an opportunity for all of us to work together to make a major impact on the lives of Americans—and eventually people around the world! It's a great example of what we see on the site every day: members reaching their own goals, supporting and motivating each other, and then Spreading the Spark to more people. Imagine if we're able to do this on an even larger scale!

SparkAmerica will be integrated into your current SparkPeople experience. We're rolling this out slowly and will add more references to SparkAmerica on the SparkPeople website (like on the Fitness Tracking page, for example). You can also visit and share it with your friends.

Since SparkAmerica is such an exciting program, several major partners have already signed on to help participate in this campaign. YOUR participation and enthusiasm will make it even easier for us to continue to partner with even more great organizations. This could even turn into a great way for us to feature SparkPeople members in major media stories about SparkAmerica and SparkPeople. Who knows, eventually we could even have a TV show or special that grows out of this concept! I know all of this is possible because of the excitement I see on the site every day.

Please let me know your thoughts below.

Thanks for your support. I appreciate it. SparkCheers!

Chris "SparkGuy" Downie

P.S. For our members outside the United States, our goal is to eventually add this program for more countries as well. The more members and tracking we get from other countries, the easier it will be to work with possible partners in those countries to turn this into a big program for our international members.

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
ALICOTTER 8/7/2010 10:05AM

    Sadly Spark seems to becoming more and more an American site with little or no concern for those outside of the United Stats. That added to the addition of Corporte teams which are just another form of ads. make me wonder how long before Sparkpeople is a subscription site which has the sole goal of profit.

Miss the old Spark. emoticon

Comment edited on: 8/7/2010 10:05:16 AM

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DREMARGRL 8/7/2010 8:26AM

    emoticon for all that you do! I try my best to spread the word of Spark in my own little part of the world. Hope that is okay because I can only devote so much time. Balance is very important at this stage of my life and I will certainly do what I can. I reiterate.....YOU ARE THE emoticon !!!!!!!!!!! Thank you so very much!
XO MaryAnn emoticon

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BEAR_GURL 8/7/2010 1:35AM


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NELLIEBLUE 8/7/2010 12:37AM

    Great deal as all your progress is. Thanks for always thinking of ways to improve the site.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MNTNSUNSHINE 8/6/2010 9:18PM

    Thanks to Sparkpeople for the site........It is very much appreciated. There will always be complainers and people that are never happy. Guess we just have to ignore them and hopefully continue with this fantastic site of SparkAmerica.

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GETFIT2LIVE 8/6/2010 2:40PM

    Chris and all of the wonderful people who work so hard to keep this site and others going, THANK YOU for all you are doing. I think the SparkAmerica idea is great; I'm happy with SparkPeople, but I can see value in what you're doing with that as well. Bravo!

I'm sorry some people feel they have to criticize and complain about something that is FREELY given; constructive criticism is useful, but unfortunately that's not how it is always shared here. Are you doing everything perfectly? Probably not; there is no way to please all the people all the time. I think you're doing a great job, however, and I applaud you all.

I don't think I can begin to express what SparkPeople has done for me over the last several months. I've lost weight before; I know how to do that. What I didn't know how to do was make a lasting lifestyle change that would enable me to keep it off. SparkPeople has given that to me--GIVEN, at no cost--and for that I will be forever grateful. For the first time in my life, I believe I can not only lose all the weight that I need to, but I will be able to keep it off AND achieve a level of fitness that I've never had before. I'm running (me! an absolute die-hard couch potato non-athlete!), working out on a regular basis, and consider a day without a little sweat in it to be incomplete. Never would have happened if I hadn't gotten the support, encouragement, and resources that I've found here.

So THANK YOU; from the bottom of my heart (which is so much healthier now!), thank you. Keep doing what you're doing; it's making a difference for so many of us.

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GABIRUSZCZAK 8/6/2010 2:37PM

    Terrific! Now if they would only lift the 120 miuinute per day maximum I would be in heaven! Gabi

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SISTEROFPAIN 8/6/2010 12:43PM

    Thank you for all that you do.
I appreciate you and probably will have put some extra life onto mine because of your tools and compassion.
I really need your site and I am telling everyone!
God Bless you all!

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FATROCKSTAR 8/6/2010 12:05PM

    Awesome idea-I am all over it! Normandy

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    I echo everything AHEALTHIERME9 said 100%. And yes, I am Canadian and may not to be able to take full advantage of the SparkAmerica website. Please, let's not lose sight of the beautiful and selfless things that Chris and his team are doing for all of us. As it is a free site, we are entitled to NOTHING ... what we are getting is an amazing gift, and we should be grateful for it.

EDIT: And to Chris -- THANK YOU for SparkPeople :)

Comment edited on: 8/6/2010 11:45:13 AM

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AHEALTHIERME9 8/6/2010 10:52AM

    Wow. There are no words.

Actually, there are...

I can't express enough how heartbroken and disappointed I am with some of the comments posted in reaction to SparkGuy's announcement of the new SparkAmerica site.

What happened to our gratitude for SparkPeople and its affiliated websites?

Should I remind you all that this groundbreaking revolution has helped us all improve our lives in some way or other? Should I remind you all that this is a blessing and a gift to us all, one which you all log in daily to be a part of? Should I remind you all that the SparkStaff continues to work towards expanding these sites and tailoring them to suit the differing needs amongst us?

This site is free. This site is a labor of love. This site has reminded us of one simple truth, and that is that we are powerful beyond measure, that we can pick ourselves up when we are at our lowest point, and that we really can realize those long-lost and given-up-on dreams.

So while I think it's great for all of us to offer our CONSTRUCTIVE feedback and views, I think that some of the thankless, overly critical, and downright rude comments that have been posted are honestly uncalled for.

Chris and his team are trying to bring something amazing not just to North America, but to the world. And it's a process. It takes, I'm sure, countless of hours of brainstorming and coming up with innovative ideas, of recruiting qualified writers and experts and staff, of ensuring that they have up-to-date technical equipment and servers, etcetera, of keeping up with current news, topics, forms of exercise, recipes, and keeping us informed and inspired all at the same time.

All we get to see is the end product and witness the awesome results we are having in our lives as well as the awesome friendships that are forming through the click of a mouse and the typing of our words.

I am sure that as SP continues to grow and become better known, it and its affiliated websites will become fully available everywhere across the world. That's why spreading the spark is so important.

If you're happy with SparkPeople and don't see the need to explore SparkAmerica, well, that's fine. You may not need to. But there are those out there who may benefit more from a simplified version of SP where they don't have the need to track every detail of their nutritional intake and where they can include tracking freggies and water intake for their kids as well.

In order for greatness to be the end result, much contracting, expanding, and changing must occur... I mean, after all, if that's what it takes to be greater and more effective in our own lives, then wouldn't it stand to reason that the same concept applies to SparkPeople?

Think about that...

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LIZZIEB122 8/6/2010 9:30AM

    I think it is a good Idea, too bad it does say "SparkNorthAmerica" there are many of us Canadians that love Sparkpeople and we love spreading the Spark as well.

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NORASPAT 8/6/2010 9:29AM

    So sorry the way people offer their criticisms instead of their suggestions.

Wake up Sparkers, this is a fantastic site and still growing.

Spark Friends, please lets be kinder with suggestions not complaints, I think Spark is really changing lives for the
better. I know mine has. You are doing a great job and so are the coaches.
Stay positive and maintain the great work done here.
Thanks Spark! Pat in Maine.. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BUCKHOLDT 8/6/2010 8:03AM

    I was wondering why Cincinnati was doing so much. I don't know that I will talk to any one about fitness any more then weight. I still connect the two - fitness is a major path to weight loss for me.

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SASSISPRING 8/6/2010 4:49AM

    As I wrote on Facebook I'm really disappointed. International members were included as a "ps". That was very tacky and unprofessional. International members are a huge part of SP, we deserved the respect of being mentioned in the body of the article and not as an after-thought. There feels to me a strong undertone of USA Corporate style approach and it no longer feels like the welcoming open diverse SP that I joined years back.

Comment edited on: 8/6/2010 4:54:22 AM

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CAROLYN1ALASKA 8/6/2010 2:37AM

    Looks like a great idea! I can't wait to see all the implementations...

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MERRYJO1 8/6/2010 12:47AM

  Best wishes for success for all your dreams! You have helped so many of us make our dreams a reality. Thank you! God bless you! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 8/6/2010 12:49:01 AM

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MERRYJO1 8/6/2010 12:44AM

  Best wishes for future success for your dreams. You have helped make ours a reality! God bless you. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NCOX25 8/6/2010 12:26AM

    I guess...

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RASCALSMOMMA 8/5/2010 10:49PM

    Looks like you have many different views on this Chris. Hope its successful.

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CRAZYGAGRANNY 8/5/2010 10:16PM

    It sounds like a great idea, but for members like myself we don't have a City Team in our area. I am a Member and Leader of our Official Georgia State Team. Why are the State Teams not listed?

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ARMYOFLIONS 8/5/2010 9:58PM

    As a Canadian, I would much rather there be a focus on more inclusive features (how about our common store brands and food chains making their way into nutrition searches on a broader scale???). Isn't this just more of the same US-centric?

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MCGS62 8/5/2010 9:28PM

    I hope your new fitness page can at least get the time tracking right. My stopwatch reads in min:sec not min and tenths of minutes and people who are into fitness for more than exercise are not going to tolerate being told that 3 miles in 30min and 30 sec is 11 min mile pace it is 10:10/mile

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.DUSTY. 8/5/2010 9:16PM

    I'm not sure I see a lot of difference (yet) between sites myself.

Comment edited on: 8/5/2010 9:19:23 PM

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MARIANANA 8/5/2010 9:05PM

    I'm also confused and a little concerned. Will this be in replacement of sparkpeople???

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    nice idea, but worthless for those of us outside of the us - looking forwards to the addition of such a site for non-Americans.

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ECHOBLUE1 8/5/2010 8:55PM

    The idea sounds a little confusing to me as my old foggy brain is still learning my way around SparkPeople. I'm rather new and still getting in the groove. But, whatever you add a little at a time may be fairly easy to slide into.

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RICH_IN_NFPA_2 8/5/2010 8:10PM

    I don't understand how SparkAmerica is different from SparkPeople. Why would I need another site to track things on?

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    I don't understand!

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MYMARMEE 8/5/2010 6:54PM

    It will be interesting to see how it is different from current SP. I have a healthy amount of skepticism but will remain open. Thanks.

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KAYYVAUGHN 8/5/2010 6:45PM

    It sounds good to me. I want be a part of it.

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IAMCHANGE 8/5/2010 6:33PM

    Thank you!

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CHRIS3215 8/5/2010 6:00PM

    Thanks I joined & I love this site it's my life line to a better me..
Thanks so much!! emoticon emoticon

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NEED2DROP50 8/5/2010 5:59PM

    Thank you!

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    The best site on the Internet, and it keeps getting better and better.

Unlike some of the more bare-bones sites that charge money, sometimes BIG money, it's still free.

Spark Guy, you get a total emoticon from this member.

I spend so much fun time on the site, my DW claims I'm addicted.

Well, maybe she's right - a little bit.

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CAROL3SAN 8/5/2010 5:42PM

    Thanks for getting the word out

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MZLADY77 8/5/2010 5:40PM

    Thanks for sharing!

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DEE107 8/5/2010 5:33PM


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_MAOMAO_ 8/5/2010 4:54PM

So cool! After all, goals are not just about weight loss. Hey, weight loss is never just about weight loss. Thanks, Spark Guy et al!

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RIPPEDPAUL1 8/5/2010 4:49PM

    I will check it out!

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NEXTYEAR 8/5/2010 4:15PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MARIE4POCHE003 8/5/2010 4:03PM

    Hey, I thought Canada was part of America

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GEOPENGUIN 8/5/2010 3:40PM

    I'm not sure I like this...just one more thing to log into and what's with the additional fitness minute tracking?
I don't get it...

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LIVINLIFE4ME1 8/5/2010 3:35PM

  emoticon emoticon

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SPALM01 8/5/2010 3:34PM


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MARYMAC45 8/5/2010 3:27PM

    emoticon emoticon THANKS!!!

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MERAINA 8/5/2010 3:24PM


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2BHLTHY4LIFE 8/5/2010 3:02PM

    emoticon Chris for this emoticon information on this fantastic addition,you rock and I am proud to be a member of Spark People! emoticon Diana emoticon

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EVER-HOPEFUL 8/5/2010 2:56PM

    thanks for the information,i am one of your members who live outside america so will be good when you add other countries.let us know when germany is added at the moment i use you spark earth.

Comment edited on: 8/5/2010 2:57:19 PM

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REBECKY44 8/5/2010 2:49PM

    Thank you for all you do for us.

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Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.