The annual scavenger hunt program Get Outdoors (GO!), in its 16th year, is back this summer, adding a unique twist of mental wellness to the usual physical and intellectual exploration that typically comes along with a summer adventure.
The WellSpan Health-organized initiative aims to boost mental health and decrease childhood obesity while also addressing summer reading loss among school-aged children. It promotes engagement in physical activity and the exploration of local green spaces.
With this year’s theme, ‘All Together Now,’ participants are encouraged to connect with each other and nature for optimal health, both physical and mental.
“Mental health is important and shouldn’t be treated as separate from our physical well-being,” said Sandra Gladfelter, health education coordinator lead for WellSpan Health. “It’s all connected. We know that when mental and emotional states are at peak levels, the challenges of life can be easier to overcome.”
“We’ve designed this year’s program around how to better cope with life stressors.”
Lebanon County participants can use the Friendship Journal guidebook to follow clues to hidden wooden connector posts. Each of the 15 posts has a unique etching and corresponding code, which can be logged online into a digital app, Beanstack, for credit.
Participants are encouraged to share photos and tips via the Lebanon County-specific Facebook group. Information and clues about the locations of wooden posts are also available at your local library and the dedicated GO! websites.
Children who find at least three different connectors by Aug. 14 will receive a reward. Every connector identified on Beanstack earns one point, unlocking virtual badges that increase chances to win one of the five grand prizes.
All connector posts will be removed after Aug, 14, with the grand prizes – yet to be determined – to be awarded early October. The GO! program is partially funded through WellSpan Health’s Community Partnership Grant Program.
The locations of the Lebanon County connectors include the H.M. Levitz Memorial Park, the Jonestown Trailhead of the Lebanon Valley Rail Trail, South Hills Park, Fairlane Avenue Park, and the Arnold Sports Center of Lebanon Valley College.
As you hunt, remember to follow safety measures such as familiarizing yourself with the area beforehand, adhering to park rules, wearing appropriate clothing, using sunscreen, and staying hydrated. Be mindful of wildlife, poisonous plants, and stormy weather. Always inform a responsible adult of your whereabouts, and never hike alone.
Organizers encourage all GO! Program participants to remember that it’s all about discovery, safety, and fun.
Find maps of all locations and other information at www.golebcounty.org. For any inquiries, reach out to the Community Wellness Coordinator for WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital by calling (717) 270-7764.
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