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‘Get Outdoors’ summer reading, activity program returns to Lebanon County

Monday, June 18, 2018

Children and families can hike, read and have fun outdoors in Lebanon County this summer, through the Get Outdoors (GO)Lebanon! program.

WellSpan Health and Lebanon County Libraries sponsor the annual activity and reading program, which is now in its third year. This year’s theme is “GO and Make Music!” and focuses on musical instruments.

The GO program promotes reading and physical activity through the hobby of letterboxing, in which participants follow written clues to locate hidden items. Instruments – wooden marker posts with a unique etching attached – have been hidden in 15 parks in Lebanon County.

The event gives children a chance to win prizes at the completion of the program.

A program guide, called a “musical score” this year, is available free at all Lebanon County Libraries in Annville, Fredericksburg, Lebanon, Myerstown, Palmyra and Richland.  It contains the clues a family needs to locate each instrument. A separate etching sheet is used to collect a picture of each instrument, by making a rubbing with a crayon or pencil.

The program runs from June 4 to Aug. 13. Participants who locate all 15 posts will end up walking more than 17 miles.

The event includes several special programs, which all offer a chance to find an instrument, do the etching and receive extra chances to win a prize in the contest. They include:

·         Hike to Health, from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, June 16, at the Clarence Schock Memorial Park at Governor Dick, 3282 Pinch Road, Mt. Gretna. This program is sponsored by WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital.

·         Family storytime and hike, 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 19, at the White Swan Park, 6 N. Sheridan Road, Newmanstown. This is hosted by the Richland Community Library.

·         Family storytime and hike, 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 26, at Lebanon Valley College, 101 N. College Ave., Annville. Meet in front of the Edward H. Arnold Sports Center, near the stadium on the north side of campus. This is hosted by the Annville Free Library.

·         Family storytime and hike, 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 10, at South Hills Park, 1100 S. Lincoln Ave., Lebanon. This is hosted by the Lebanon Community Library.

"We hope families enjoy the hunt for instruments, and the time they spend together outdoors walking to them," said Melanie Wells, community wellness coordinator for WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital. "We are happy to partner with the 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 small prize and those who complete four etchings will be eligible for a chance to win one of fivegrand prizes, including tickets to Hershey Park in the Dark, tickets to dinner and a show, a ukulele package and more. The program also has a Facebook page, where participants can post photos of their hunts for the posts.

“Our six public libraries are ready to rock during the third year of the GO Lebanon! program,” said Stephanie Williams, District Consultant for the Lebanon County Libraries. “We're continuing to add new features to the program, including the family hikes in June and July. Come rock and roll with us in our parks!"

            The 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, and letterboxing seemed like a fun way to get children moving. The program has since expanded to Adams, Lancaster and Lebanon counties.

Last year, almost 400 children participated in the GO Lebanon! program, walking more than 4,000 miles.

The program is funded through WellSpan’s Community Partnership Grant Program. These grants are awarded to nonprofit organizations that improve the health of the communities and people WellSpan serves. Last year, WellSpan awarded more than $335,000 in grants to local community organizations.

For more information about the GO Lebanon! program, visit www.golebcounty.org. For more information on WellSpan's Community Partnership Grants and other ways in which WellSpan promotes healthy communities, visit www.WellSpan.org/Neighbors.

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