In 2018, RiseVT program manager Robin Katrick first partnered with Come Alive Outside
, to host a Come Alive Outside Passport Challenge in Richmond, VT. Come Alive Outside is a Vermont nonprofit that works with partners in healthcare, public health, and outdoor recreation to promote outdoor physical activity in communities across North America. They have been encouraging children to get outside through their Passport Challenge in Rutland, VT since 2014. Printed “passports” that feature local areas for outdoor fun are distributed to children in the community, typically through the school system. Participants earn points by visiting trails, libraries, famers markets, and other outdoor destinations in their community and finding codes that are then recorded in their passport.
Passport codes are swapped out weekly throughout the duration of the program so children can return to the same site multiple times to fill out a new code. As children fill out the passport they work towards earning small incentives and if they complete the entire passport and return it to the program they are entered to win a final grand prize.
RiseVT has continued to partner with Come Alive Outside in new areas of the state, including Addison and Windham Counties. In Addison County RiseVT has helped bring the passport program to new schools, while in Windham County, program manager Elisha Underwood implemented a 6 week passport program in the fall of 2019.
Elisha’s passport challenge was quite ambitious. She distributed 980 passports to families in Guilford Central School, Vernon Elementary School, Townshend Elementary School, and Newbrook Elementary School as well as the Boys and Girls Club in Brattleboro and a handful of homeschooling groups. Elisha also leveraged local business support by sourcing gift certificates from retail outlets as prizes for filling out program evaluation surveys. Windham County families were pleased with how well the challenge worked to motivate their families to get outside.
Passport Challenge Participant
We’re a physically active family but the passport empowered my kids to choose which activity we were going to do. They were also motivated by the prizes too. I think it is great, we love to see kids and families getting outside and being more active.
Elisha plans to bring another passport challenge to her community in the spring of 2021 after being delayed by COVID-19 in the fall. The Come Alive Outside Passport Challenge most closely aligns with the CDC Strategy to encourage physical activity or limit sedentary activity among children and youth.
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