Get Outdoors this Summer!
Looking to get outdoors more this summer? The GO! (Get Outdoors) Franklin County Program can help get you moving with local trails to walk!
GO! Franklin County is a WellSpan Health program offered each summer to encourage children and caregivers to get outdoors and be physically active by engaging in letterboxing. Letterboxing is a hobby in which participants must follow written clues to locate hidden items. Through the 2023 GO and Get Connected! program, explore “All Together Now” as you search for 15 “connectors” – wooden posts with an etched Plexiglass plate attached to them – which are hidden in various parks and along trails in Franklin County. Participants use a crayon or colored pencil to “rub” the picture on the Plexiglass plate onto their program rubbing sheet. Participants can find 15 different “connectors” hidden throughout Franklin County trails and parks to be eligible to win prizes. GO! Franklin County is digital and all participants’ progress will be tracked through the Beanstack app. Click here for more information on how to use the app.
The official program guide and supplies can be found at any Franklin County Library. All informational sheets must be returned to a library no later than August 5 to be eligible for prizes. Make sure to call ahead for library hours before picking up materials.
In its fourth year, the GO! Program is focusing on making human and social connections, which can offer several mental health benefits, such as boosting mood, reducing stress, and improving self-esteem. Forming strong healthy relationships with others means opening up, actively listening, and being open to share what you are feeling and thinking with others.
Franklin County libraries and their contact information can be found below:
Blue Ridge Summit
Coyle Free Library
Grove Family Library
Lillian S. Besore Memorial Library
St. Thomas Library
Other participating counties include Cumberland, York, Adams, Lebanon, and Lancaster. Please note that individuals can participate in as many trails as they like throughout these counties. However, you are only eligible to receive program prizes from one county. Don’t forget to be aware of your surroundings as you hunt for connectors on the trails! Check out more tips and things to be aware of in the Friendship Journal, the official program guide.
Walking in nature can be a huge stress reliever, even for a short amount of time! Whether you hike a trail by yourself or with a friend, being outdoors and physically active can greatly benefit your mental health and wellbeing. Physical activity and mental health go hand in hand, so if you’re having a rough day, take a break and hike a trail to reset! You can find more information about how physical activity impacts your mental health, as well as additional mental health resources, at healthyfranklincounty.org.
You can also find information about the GO! program online here.
When venturing outdoors to participate in the program, make sure to remember the safety tips below:
Use bug spray repellents with 20% or more DEET to prevent mosquito and tick bites that transmit illnesses like Lyme Disease.
Avoid contact with ticks by avoiding wooded and brushy areas with high grass and walking in the center of trails.
After coming indoors, check your hair and clothing for ticks. Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing. Cold and medium temperate water will not kill ticks. Don’t forget to check your pets!
Showering within two hours of coming indoors has shown to reduce your risk of getting Lyme Disease. Find more information from the CDC on preventing tick bites here. Kids can follow along to a proper step by step tick check dance here.
Apply broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30+ at least 15 minutes before going outside. Reapply every 2 hours or 40 minutes when in water.
When applying sunscreen, use about 1 oz. (about a handful) to cover your arms, legs, neck and face. Don’t forget about your ears, hands, feet, and underarms!
Wear a hat and sunglasses and cover up with long sleeves when outdoors to avoid getting sunburn. Seek shade specifically between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Always Spray, play, and repeat!
More information on outdoor summer safety from the CDC, including water safety, can be found here.