Children and families can explore local parks and trails in Lebanon County this summer
WellSpan Health and Lebanon County Libraries are sponsoring the activity and reading program, which has the theme “GO and Build a Better World!” The 2017 theme teaches about different organizations that keep people healthy and safe, teach about the past and educate about the future, provide services and help people to enjoy life.
The GO program teaches about these organizations through the hobby of letterboxing, in which participants follow written clues to locate hidden items. “Landmarks” – wooden marker posts with a unique etching attached – have been hidden in 15 parks in Lebanon County.
A program guide, called a “blueprint” and available free at any Lebanon County library, contains the clues a family needs to locate each landmark. A separate etching sheet is used to collect a picture of each landmark, by making a rubbing with a crayon or pencil.
The program runs from June 5 to Aug. 14. Participants who locate all 15 posts will end up walking more than 17 miles.
“This is a fun way to encourage families to take a walk and enjoy the outdoors together,” said Melanie Wells, community wellness coordinator for WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital. “We are happy to partner with Lebanon County Libraries to bring this program to local residents.”
Kids who turn in their etching sheets with at least three completed etchings will receive a prize and those who complete four etchings will be eligible for a chance to win one of three grand prizes, including a bicycle and helmet, passes to Hersheypark and a young builder’s set. The program also has a Facebook page, where participants can post photos of their hunts for the posts and offer tips to others to help them find them.
“All six of our public libraries are thrilled to participate in the second year of GO Lebanon!” said Stephanie Williams, district consultant for Lebanon County Libraries. “GO Lebanon! is a great opportunity to become reconnected to the hidden gems in our communities – parks and libraries. I can’t think of a better complement to our libraries’ summer reading programs.”
The Get Outdoors, or GO!, summer activity program was introduced in York in 2008 as a brainchild of the Healthy York County Coalition’s Healthy Lifestyles Task Force. The task force was looking for a way to battle the 35 percent child obesity rate in Pennsylvania. Letterboxing seemed like a fun way to get children moving.
This will be its second year of operation in Lebanon County. In its first year, almost 285 children participated in the program, walking more than 2,600 miles.
More information about the Get Outdoors program may be found online at www.golebcounty.org. The website features recommended library books that correspond with the different landmarks, directions to each park, schedules of summer library programs and a link to the program’s Facebook page.
About WellSpan Health
WellSpan Health is an integrated health system that serves the communities of central Pennsylvania and northern Maryland. The organization is comprised of a multispecialty medical group of more than 1,200 physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a home care organization, six respected hospitals, more than 15,000 employees, and more than 130 patient care locations. WellSpan is a charitable, mission-driven organization, committed to exceptional care for all, lifelong wellness and healthy communities.