PENNSYLVANIA, USA — In the thick of summer, parents struggling to get their kids out of the annual brain drain that comes when they're out of school need look no further than their local hiking trail.
WellSpan Health has partnered with libraries across South Central Pennsylvania for its GO! program. GO!, which stands for "Get Outdoors," promotes reading and learning through physical activity. It uses the hobby of letterboxing, where families use clues to find wooden markings hidden throughout trails across the region.
Families start by going to one of the participating libraries and picking up a booklet of clues. Those books, says Wellspan Health Educator Sandy Gladfelter, also include book suggestions for their kids to read which focus on the theme of their hunt, and fun facts about the animals which families will be learning about on their trail.
Once families are out searching for the markers, they log them into a digital app called Beanstack. Participating children have a chance to win prizes once the program wraps up later this summer.
Booklets can be found at any library in Adams, Franklin, Lebanon, and York counties. In Lancaster County, participating libraries are Ephrata Public Library and the Adamstown Area Library.
For more information, each participating county, Adams, York, Lancaster, Franklin, and Lebanon, has a dedicated GO! website which includes directions to parks, information on prizes, and clues to find the wooden markers.