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Price City considers program for kids to 'Play Unplugged'

Kids enjoy ice blocking down the side of a hill at Pioneer Park in July. Ice blocking is one of the many activities that local kids could participate in as part of the Play Unplugged program this summer.

By KEVIN SCANNELL
Sun Advocate reporter

One common thought that has run through the minds of kids at some point or another is "I'm bored".

But try to imagine a day without the use of electronics. No iPads. No laptops. No television. No video games.

Now replace that with a day spent outside on a warm sunny day with no clouds in the sky and the chance to participate in unique activities all within the local area.

With a new program called Play Unplugged, the hope is to get kids to be active outside with an unlimited number of activities at their disposal and work to eliminate the issue of boredom.

The program is focused on the idea of bringing kids, parents and local businesses in the community together to help motivate and encourage each other.

"It looks like a great program for our community," said Price City council member Kathy Hanna-Smith. "This can give kids a chance to go out and explore the areas around them and have fun."

It works as an incentive program with kids performing tasks of all kinds for the opportunity to receive what are known as "brag badges." Businesses in the area would sponsor brag badge(s) and would provide them to kids, based on good faith, after completing one of the many tasks and activities available.

Price City councilors have considered putting forth $3,500 toward the program working as a major sponsor and partnering up with the Sun Advocate. The program was to be voted on for approval by council members during a city council meeting on Wednesday evening.

Other areas in Utah have participated in the program such as Heber City. Kids in Heber City had the chance to receive badges in their area by doing things such as volunteering time to help others out, climbing Mount Timpanogos, going camping, flying kites, playing various sports, learning to fish and much more.

Hanna-Smith said she and other members on the council have been looking into bringing the program to the area for nearly a year. Hanna-Smith and others from Price City have met with Play Unplugged representatives and Heber City officials involved with the program in their city many times over the past few months.

Having kids in the community get outside, exploring the local area and being with their family and friends are some of the main drawing points with the program, she said. With local businesses and entities expressing an interest in becoming part of the program, it helps bring the community together for a good cause, Hanna-Smith said.

"Nothing but good can come from this program," she said.

A pamphlet from Play Unplugged lists as many as 114 approved activity sponsorship options for businesses to possibly sponsor for kids to participate in for the program. With so many activities that could become available, it could create a competitiveness among kids to see who can get the most badges by the end of the summer.

"That part of getting the badges can make it a lot of fun for the kids," she said.

With council approval on Wednesday night, Hanna-Smith said the plan would see the program start at the end of the school year and finish before the new school year starts in August.

Local businesses and entities have expressed interest in helping out with the project, Hanna-Smith said.

"We're excited about the program and we'll be excited to see the results at the end to see how things went," she said.




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