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Health & Wellbeing: Come Alive Outside takes steps to go digital

COME ALIVE OUTSIDE Summer Passports have adjusted to the reality of COVID-19, suggests ways kids can explore the outdoors in their own back yards this summer.

Come Alive Outside is a program in Vermont communities that inspires collaborative community systems to create the awareness, intention, and opportunity for people to live healthier lives outside. 
In response to COVID-19, coordinators of Come Alive Outside have revamped their summer passport program while keeping the program’s mission and sense of fun intact. In addition to handing out physical passports, Come Alive Outside will now offer their summer passport program through their website, extending the program’s reach to all of Vermont and beyond. The program began June 1 and runs until Sept. 18. 
The Summer Passport program has been a mainstay of Rutland and Addison county schools for the past three years. In 2019, the passport program reached 7,720 students. Seventy-four percent of participating students reported feeling more excited about physical activity and 72% reported higher physical activity because of the program. 
In previous years, students would take the passports home before summer break and visit local parks and attractions over break, filling out the passport as they went along. Each passport features activities in five categories: Get Active Outside, Grow Something You Can Eat, Learn with Your Hands in the Soil, Connect With Nature and Play Unplugged.
With safety a main concern, the CAO team redesigned the passport program so that kids can learn and create in their own backyard instead of visiting local parks. At the end of the program, kids can send in their passports for a chance to win prizes. 
“The added stresses of COVID over the past months have taken a toll on all of us,” Program Director Andy Paluch says. “Especially for children who are missing the social interaction and activity that they typically get at school, it is a really important time to be spending time outside in nature. There are plenty of safe, fun ways to do so while still maintaining proper physical distancing and the passport has lots of ideas to get you started.” 
To join the summer passport program, visit comealiveoutside.com/passports. For more information, contact Program Director Andy Paluch: [email protected] or 440-525-6076.

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