GO WilMa! Wins Statewide Excellence in Recreation and Parks Award!
GO WilMa! is a summer outdoor adventure program that stands for Get Outside 'round Willistown and Malvern and is spearheaded by the Willistown Parks & Recreation Department.
Willistown Parks & Recreation is delighted to announce that GO WilMa! has received an Excellence in Recreation and Parks Award from the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society (PRPS). PRPS is a statewide organization that promotes quality recreation and park training, networking, and leadership opportunities. It is a membership organization comprised of parks an recreation professionals, educators, and volunteers. The Excellence in Recreation and Parks Award recognizes programs that demonstrate outstanding quality, innovation, range and value of appeal, community support, promotions and publications, and efficient use of funding.
GO WilMa! is funded in large part by Willistown Township with contributions from Malvern Borough, East Goshen and East Whiteland Townships, and Willistown residents Bart and Denise VanValkenburgh. Thank you all!
Get Outside 'round Willistown and Malvern! (GO WilMa!)
GO WilMa! is an exciting and entertaining summer outdoor adventure program that encourages children in the Willistown and Malvern region (no residency requirements) to explore the natural and historic treasures of our area through a series of scavenger hunts. Kids and their families and friends participate on their own schedule throughout the summer. Children are automatically signed up for GO WilMa! when they register for the Summer Quest summer program at Malvern or Paoli Library. Kids will earn a GO WilMa! patch similar to those earned by Boy and Girl Scouts for completing 6 outdoor adventures. The GO WilMa! Summer Quest patch is available only at Malvern and Paoli libraries!
GO WilMa! combines parks and recreation, health and wellness, reading, and lots of fresh air fun. Exploring the natural and historic treasures of our area also brings families, friends, and our community together, lifting spirits and delivering smiles. GO WilMa! is one of the wonderful happenings that makes our community so special...join in the adventure!
Email Mary Hundt with any inquiries or feedback.
Special Thanks and Kudos
Special Thanks to the Healthy York County Coalition's GO York program, Go Outdoors York County (goyork.org), for sharing their inspiration and upon which GO WilMa! is based.
Kudos to Kevin A. Alvarnaz, the mastermind behind the GO York program of WellSpan Health (Wellspan Website).
Funding is provided in large part by Willistown Township with assistance from Malvern Borough, East Whiteland Township, and East Goshen Township along with Willistown Township residents Bart and Denise VanValkenburgh. Thank you all!
A New Program Theme Each Year!
GO WilMa! stands for “Get Outside around Willistown and Malvern!” Our summertime outdoor adventure program makes reading, learning, and being outside fun for our community's children—and the adults have a ball too! Inspired by and modeled after the Healthy York County Coalition’s “Get Outdoors York” program, this year GO WilMa! is paired with the Chester County Library System’s new Summer Quest program through Malvern and Paoli Libraries. Summer Quest is a collaborative project of the Chester County libraries that makes summer reading exciting and incorporates writing and creative activities that keep children’s minds active and engaged all summer long. Kids will earn Summer Quest badges much like those awarded in the Boy and Girl Scout programs.
In honor of one of the greatest outdoor adventures, the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Moon Landing and the first human steps on the moon, this year’s GO WilMa! inspiration is “Outer Space,” and our adventurers will be going “To the Moon and Back!” Each child who signs up for the Summer Quest program at Malvern and Paoli Libraries receives a GO WilMa! Field Guide—a passport of sorts. The Guide includes scavenger hunt clues leading to hidden “Inspiration Stations” in our wonderful local landscape. Each Station will highlight outer space and what you’ll see on a trip to the moon in entertaining ways, shapes, and forms. Kids and their adults will have a blast exploring our special area of the globe while being transported to the moon and back. I hope our adventurers and their families are inspired and awed by what surrounds our planet as well as the wonderful places “in our own backyard.”
The Inspiration Stations include a rubbing post with an etching on top where the kids “stamp” their Field Guides. Then it’s back to the library where participants receive raffle tickets for each Inspiration Station stamp they have earned and for each book they have read. Our space travelers will earn a GO WilMa! patch by adventuring to 6 of our 15 different destinations and locating the Inspiration Stations there.
Last year, over 850 GO WilMa! explorers and their friends and families were out and about in our local parks and special places throughout the summer. That’s about two hundred more than 2017—if you haven’t tried it yet, join the fun!
Sign-Up & Program Duration
Sign-up is ongoing throughout the summer and kicks off at the June 11 School's Out—Let's GO WilMa! park party described in this flyer. The program ends August 17 and the prize drawing will be held on August 20 at the Willistown Country Fair described in this flyer. There is no participation fee for GO WilMa!, as the program is funded in large part by Willistown Township with assistance from Malvern Borough and East Goshen and East Whiteland Townships.
How to Play
Remember, the adventure begins when summer starts!
Here’s how the GO WilMa! Outdoor Adventure Program works:
- Stations(rubbing posts) are located in parks, along trails, and at special sites in and around Willistown Township, Malvern Borough, East Goshen Township, and East Whiteland Township. Each year the Inspiration Station locations change, so the adventure is always new.
- Your job is to find as many of the Stations as possible by following clues in the Field Guide provided at registration. Each Station links to a page in your guide, where once you locate the Station you’ll use a crayon or side of a pencil to rub the etching in the space provided, "stamping" your guide.
- Show your rubbings to the library to receive raffle tickets for the prize drawings along with summer reading program incentives.
Prizes & Rewards
- Those kids who find all of the Stations will get an extra ten tickets.
- Each rubbing entitles a participant to a prize drawing raffle ticket, the more Stations you find—the higher your chances of winning a prize!
The Prize Raffle will be held at the Willistown Country Fair at Greentree Park August 20 at 6:30pm.The Fair runs from 5:30-7:30pm. Winners do not need to be present, but we would love to see you there! One prize per family. Call 610-647-5300 x224 for a recorded message if weather is a question. Rain date is August 22.
Sign Me Up!
Summer reading and GO WIlMa! program sign up starts when school's out in June at Malvern and Paoli Library. You can sign up throughout the summer, but you'll want to do so early so you can start your outdoor adventures!
You will receive your GO WIlMa! Field Guide along with your summer reading program (SRP) materials when you sign up for the K-5 and Teen SRPs at Malvern or Paoli Library. (Note: Paoli Library does not have a teen summer reading program, so please bring your teens to Malvern, 6 minutes to the west!)
Each year the Station locations change so the adventure is always new and exciting. Special thanks go to the following community Station hosts for participating in GO WilMa!
Program Inspiration & Benefits
Your kids can easily glean the benefits of our GO WilMa! program—as can you!
We are fostering healthy minds, bodies, and spirits by encouraging a love of being outdoors and a connection to nature through creating lasting, happy memories there.
The goals of GO WilMa! include:
- Promoting physical activity
- Promoting parks, open space, historic and community treasures in Willistown Township, Malvern Borough, East Goshen Township and East Whiteland Township
- Promoting reading
- Promoting curiosity about the natural world
- Promoting health/fitness/wellness—in other words, encouraging healthy lifestyles through fun!
- Celebrating community
Some Things to Remember
- Make sure that you take your Field Guide and a crayon or pencil for the rubbing.
- Always remember to be respectful of parks and trails, the outdoors, and people around you!
- The parks, trails, and special sites are open dawn to dusk unless otherwise noted in the Field Guide.
- The program begins when school lets out for the summer and ends August 18!
Liability Release & Safety
All Participants Assume the Liability Release
I understand that, by participating in the GO WilMa! outdoor adventure program, I will be engaging in physical activities that involve risks of being outdoors, from the activity itself, from the acts of others, or from the unavailability of emergency services or emergency medical care on site. Such risks may include: property damage; bodily injury, and; possible death. By participating in the GO WilMa! program, I understand that I assume these risks and hereby release the GO WilMa! programming partner organizations and their employees, volunteers and elected representatives and the property owners where the Inspiration Stations are located from any claims, losses, liabilities, expenses or judgments, including legal fees and court costs arising out of my participation in the GO WilMa! program.
Every outdoor activity, including scavenger hunting, has some risks and dangers. You could get hurt, meet up with wild animals and bugs, and touch poisonous plants. Here are a few reminders as you hunt for Inspiration Stations with other GO WilMa! adventurers this summer:
- Be familiar with the area where you are headed before getting there.
- Make sure to follow all posted park rules.
- Be respectful of the environment and of others around you.
- Never hike alone! If you are heading out with a friend, always make sure a responsible adult knows where you will be.
- Always lock your vehicle and secure any valuables.
- Wear clothing that is loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored to protect your skin from the sun and to keep you cool.
- Lather up with sunscreen to keep your skin healthy for years to come.
- Bring plenty of water with you and make sure you drink it even if you don't feel thirsty.
- If it is really hot outside, bring extra water, walk slower, and take more breaks.
- Seek safe shelter if the weather gets dangerous or you hear or see storms nearby.
- Step carefully over and around fallen logs and branches, rocks, roots, and other things lying on the ground.
- Poisonous plants like poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac may grow near an Inspiration Station or along a trail. Know what each looks like and watch out for them!
- Spiders, insects, snakes, or other critters may visit the same places where Inspiration Stations are hidden. Be careful where you step and where you reach!
- Mosquitoes, black flies, or other annoying bugs may bother you. You may want to wear bug repellent spray or other products to keep them away.
- Always check to make sure that you are not taking any bugs home with you.
- Be careful around ponds, lakes, rivers and streams.
Themes, Testimonials & Photos
Thanks for participating in this summer's GO WilMa! program. We are interested in hearing your comments, both good and constructive, as it may help make next year's program be even more successful and exciting. Please send your input and any photos to GO WilMa! Feedback. Your feedback may be posted here or appear in the WillisTowne Crier newsletter. Also, like us on Facebook and post photos and comments there.
Past Themes Include:
2019: To the Moon and Back!
2018: Kindness Rocks GO WilMa!
2017: Get Outside & Come Together for a Better World!
2016: Be Well, Be Fit--Get Outside & Move It!
2015: Get Outside & Be a Hero!
2014: Get Outside & Be Amazed!
2013: Get Outside & Explore the Earth!
2012: Get Outside & Reach for the Stars!
An explorer's mom reports: "Each adventure taught us so much about our county and created wonderful family memories! We ended each hike filled with gratitude for living in an area with such beautifully preserved open space, and plan to return throughout the seasons." Leslie B.
A Willistown mom reports: "Here are photos from Siana (age 6), Daniel (age 4) and my Okehocking adventure. It was a beautiful day. The views were breathtaking! The gentle cool breeze really made the sunny day lovely. Siana said she loved the feeling of the wild wind, Daniel loved watching Ridley Creek, and we made new friends with two different families along the way."
This GO WilMa! team is happy to be on the star dust trail seeking the Strawberry Moon. Mom reports: "We had a great time at sunset last night at Sugartown Strawberries!"
Cousins Erin and Jamie are two happy tree hugging star seekers at Kirkwood Preserve. Dad reports: "Great job again with the entire program. We are looking to finish up the last three this week and have really enjoyed it!"