Tweens are keeping score, winning prizes and great health benefits with the Verb program.

Springfield, OR —Kids will be spending more time moving and playing in Springfield, Ore., thanks to the Verb campaign this summer. With the growing popularity of summer reading programs, which award kids who read over the summer, the Lane Active Youth Consortium (AYC) is spearheading a program that gives tweens prizes for participating in local activities, running around their neighborhood, and simply playing the park with friends.

More than 500 youth ages 9 to 13 years will be provided Verb scorecards to keep track of each 30 minutes spent engaging in any type of movement – skateboarding, dancing, jumping rope, or playing a team sport. Scorecards are turned in each week for prizes, and entry into grand prize drawings for $100 gift certificates to Old Navy, customizable razor scooters, iPads, and more!

“It’s really about inspiring kids to move, and to like physical activity,” says Deb Johnson-Shelton, Verb Program Director, co-Chair of the AYC. Through her work as an Associate Research Scientist, Johnson-Shelton is all too familiar with the health consequences of our dwindling physical activity among youth.

Research shows summertime is risky for kid’s health. More time in front of the TV and gaming, combined with less time in structured physical activity leads to rapid weight gain and puts kids at risk for health problems.

Between June 22nd and August 21st youth entering grades 3-7 in Springfield schools will be able to register for Verb and start receiving weekly prizes. “We need elementary and middle school-aged kids to find their Verb, their own action words – try new types of activities and discover being active is really fun!” exclaims Johnson-Shelton.

“The unique partnership with AYC members has really made this program possible,” says Denise Thomas-Morrow, AYC’s other co-Chair and CEO HealthyMoves, a local nonprofit dedicated to improving school-based availability of physical education. “We’ve got all the main advocates and programs for kids in Lane County all working together to make sure kids stay healthy this summer.”

AYC partners, including Willamalane, have added the Verb program on top of their rich schedule of summertime recreation programs and special events. Seve Ghose, Deputy Superintendent of the Willamalane Park and Recreation District, has program staff working hard to make sure it’s easy for kids to earn Verb program points this summer.

 “Youth can have their cards stamped at 10 park and recreation locations across Springfield, Monday through Thursday each week,” states Ghose. Plus, the Verb program will be present at most of Springfield’s main events this summer, including the Movies in the Park and SummerFair.

“The program is really simple,” adds Johnson-Shelton, “register, have fun playing and moving, keep track of your activity, and earn great prizes.”

For more information about the Verb campaign and where to register kids to participate, visit www.verboregon.org, contact Deb Johnson-Shelton at Oregon Research Institute’s Community Evaluation Services (debj@ori.org), or inquire at your nearest Willamalane sport or recreation center.

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About the AYC: The Lane AYC was launched in 2013 to foster collaboration among organizations with an interest in youth physical activity – and increase recognition that early childhood physical literacy unlocks the potential for life-long enjoyment in physical activity. Kids who are physically fit enjoy greater academic achievement and higher life-time earning potential.

ACY Member Organizations: Healthy Moves, Oregon Research Institute, Willamalane, the Slocum Research & Education Foundation Lane Coalition for Healthy Active Youth (LCHAY), Emerald KidSports, City of Eugene Recreation, The Child Center, Boys and Girls Club of Emerald Valley, League of United Latin American Citizens, Lane ESD, YMCA, and the River Road Park District, Lane County Public Health, Safe Routes to Schools.

The Slocum Foundation is a member of the Active Youth Consortium's Verb Advisory Committee.

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