In the spring, the #getkidsout Ambassadors set out to bring one of their projects to fruition. Their goal was to reward kids that were playing outside with an unexpected “treasure” as a way of encouraging active living. Since the age group they were focussed on were younger kids, their objective was to incorporate social media as a means to get parents involved.
This project was parent-directed and it proved to be an incredibly great way to allow the kids to come up with ideas of their own and to use it as a teaching opportunity on how to follow through and make things happen. It was very valuable to teach how quickly an idea can move across the internet and the importance of appropriate representation of yourself online. With social media entrenched in our lives, it helped teach responsible use of these tools.
The #getkidsout Treasure Bag project was an ideal medium to promote an entrepreneurial spirit in the kids. This isn’t always an easy task because they like to see results quickly. Although they were on board with jotting down ideas, the follow-through became challenging. Kids like to see things happen immediately and so it required coaching on persistence. They loved the idea of dropping the Treasure Bags, but before they could do that, they had to find stuff to put into the bags. And so, they wrote letters to businesses, delivered them personally, with an explanation of their ideas. However, their first stop quickly became disappointing when one store manager insisted that without a non-profit designation, nobody in this day and age would provide donations.
After a lengthy lecture, they left deflated but gathered their courage and decided to try the pitch once more at the neighboring store. I am forever grateful to the Sportchek manager that day. She listened with great interest and told the kids that she loved their idea, throwing in several gift cards for their loot bags. Their attitudes changed immediately.
They reached out to other groups with similar goals, such as Ever Active Schools and Active for Life. The kids’ excitement intensified when boxes arrived at the door with more loot to include for treasure.
Then came the planning on how to leave the bags out. One of our stipulations was that we shouldn’t litter. No bag should be hidden so obscurely that we risked having it left out in nature. We also discussed that to be sure the treasure was found, we would ask the finder to send us an e-mail or share it on their social media platforms with our hashtag (#getkidsout). If we didn’t hear from them, we decided it would be important to confirm the bag didn’t stay outside and become garbage by going back to the “drop” site to check on it.
Launch day was in Banff National Park and the kids waited in anticipation for a response but they never heard back. When they returned to the drop site a week later, they found the bag was gone. We did not rule out the possibility that it got picked up by an adult, or a tourist, or perhaps a person who did not have any social media accounts. Another possibility that we hadn’t considered, was that maybe they had social media accounts with private settings that prevented a photo to show up in the publicly viewed #getkidsout feed. In the end, it was a great learning experience for future projects.
Even though the first bag did not get reported, they proceeded with their project. The kids got responses from 8 of their 10 bags. The only other bag that did not get reported found was the one that was left on the Bluenose in Nova Scotia and sailed from Arichat to Lunenburg. It was left in the care of the sailors and so we suspect it eventually fell into good hands.
Although the project did not have 100% report back on the Treasure Bags, the Ambassadors were quite happy with the results.
The 10 #getkidsout Treasure Bag drops:
1) Banff National Park, AB
2) Nosehill, Calgary, AB
3) Fernie, BC
4) Pondville Beach, Nova Scotia
5) Halifax Waterfront, NS
6) Irving Nature Park, New Brunswick
7) Arichat, NS – On the Bluenose
8) Annex Park, Fernie, BC
9) Helicopter Park, Calgary, AB
10. Kraay Family Farm Corn Maze, Lacombe, AB
The #getkidsout Treasure Bags was a fun project. The kids learned what it takes to get a project off the ground and move it forward to completion.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to making it a success!