To the editor,

I did not participate in an Orange Frog workshop and have no comment from personal experience, but I have kept up with the articles on the topic in the local newspapers. The Feb. 16 editions reported on the February 7 meeting of the Isanti County Commissioners and gave insight as to why the Orange Frog Happiness Advantage program was considered costly and subsequently canceled. These costs seem to have resulted in a large part from how the delivery of the program was structured:

The facilitators from the International Thought Leader Network conducted the workshops personally and incurred expenses for airline travel from their east coast headquarters , lodging and meals while here

Supplies for the workshops were shipped here individually for each session

Salaries for their time spent conducting the workshops were incurred

And possibly ancillary expenses.

According to the inside cover of the 2022 Orange Frog Happiness calendar, the Orange Frog workshops were the means to implement a wellness initiative targeted at offsetting the mental health effects of Covid-19. (The calendar was available to the public at the April 2022 Senior Fair). That goal is admirable and Commissioner Berg’s comment in the Star indicated that he heard from people who appreciated the program and got positive encouragement from it. He further indicated that one of the issues in our community is isolation.

To Commissioner Berg’s point, I saw an interview in January with Robert Waldinger MD of Harvard on PBS’s Amanpour and Company discussing the book “The Good Life: Lessons from the World’s Longest Scientific Study on Happiness.” It’s a study that began in 1938 comparing two groups: Harvard undergraduates and at risk youth from Boston neighborhoods. Dr. Waldinger stated that “life is hard and can hit you head on but being engaged with people that you care about and that care for you acts as a safety net to help us get through the challenges in our life.” He further commented that “relationships are more important to our health than one’s cholesterol level and that being more engaged in community life helps us deal with aging and loneliness.” He added that the growth of technology in our lives has taken time away from other activities: volunteering, club memberships and church attendance among others. Covid has made the situation worse.

Perhaps a follow-up survey of participating workshop groups would be helpful in measuring whether the program was successful in meeting its stated mission. The atmosphere surrounding the program is still too heated so time will need to pass for objective responses. 

Eileen Stitz


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