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Turn off the tube! Smithfield signs up for ‘Unplugged Challenge’

February 6th, 2014 Posted in Opinion

By Alicia Facer

SMITHFIELD—The city has to become a part of the “Unplugged Challenge,” a program to encourage children to turn off video games and television, and get into the outdoors.

The program was organized in Heber Valley last year, to get children away from violent video games, Hyrum Mayor Stephanie Miller told the Smithfield City Council.

“It is something that promotes a healthy lifestyle for youth and also promotes family activities,” Miller said.

The program focuses on activities for kids over the summer, between Memorial and Labor Day.

The “Unplugged Challenge” involves not only the residents of local communities, but small business as well. Businesses can select an outdoor activity to sponsor for the program, and kids who participate can earn badges after completing that activity.

“It’s up to the business, if they want a picture, or if they just believe the kids they can put whatever they want on the tag,” said city council member Kris Monson. “Anything the business wants them to do for proof, they can.”

Smithfield mother Stacey Barfuss likes the program because it would give her children a variety of different ideas and activities to complete over the summer.

“This would give them something to do, like, ‘Hey! Let’s go get on our bikes and go get tags,” she said. “I think it would be a really good thing.”

The activities range from participating in summer reading programs at the local library, to running in the July 24th 5K-10K.

The idea behind the program is to promote a healthy and active lifestyle for young children during the summer. It gives both children and parents something to do all summer long and involves the entire community. The other goal is to get kids away from TV and video games.

“It might lower down the violence in my opinion, there are a lot of violent games out there,” said 13-year-old Daniel Barfuss. “I see it as a scavenger hunt—you try to collect all the badges and share it with other people.”

Cache Valley will pay a one-time fee of $3,500 to participate in the program, and businesses that participate contribute $500 for 500 tags, a website and the magazines for the children.

“I really do think this is something that the families will be excited about,” Monson said. “It will give the parents 101 things for their children to do.”


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