This summer, I blogged a couple times about the Venture Vermont Outdoor Challenge, a self-guided scavenger hunt organized by the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation. I even wrote a "Getting By" column about it, because the prize for completing the challenge was a free day-use pass to all Vermont State Parks in 2009 and 2010. The deadline for entering was last Thursday, October 15; most of the parks shut down for the season in mid-October.
My partner, my kids and I spent the summer hiking, boating and swimming our way through the challenge. Last Tuesday, we tallied up our points, downloaded the photographic proof of our accomplishments on a CD, and sent the score sheets and CD to a state office in Waterbury.
On Friday, when we got home from work, there was a heavy envelope waiting for us in the mailbox... containing our silver VIP passes! Also enclosed was a sweet form letter from Rochelle Skinner, Parks Sales & Service Manager, congratulating us for earning 250 points each. Nice.
So what did we do to earn these passes? Here's a partial list of our prize-winning activities:
- Skipped rocks at Kettle Pond
- Waded in the water at Sand Bar State Park
- Camped in Groton State Forest
- Built a fairy house near our campsite
- Climbed Mount Philo (worth 20 points because it was a Venture Vermont bonus activity that week)
- Didn't watch TV for a week (easy because we don't own a TV)
- Identified an Eastern Spotted Newt, a turtle nest and a pitcher plant
- Went canoeing
- Played on playgrounds
- Went for a picnic
- Visited Seyon Lodge
- Hung our laundry out to dry
- Threw a birthday party for Smokey the Bear (no candles on the cake! -- another bonus activity)
I know it's kinda corny to be so excited about this, but it was actually really fun, and now we have these free 2010 day-use park passes.
The next challenge is going to be making sure that we don't lose them before next summer...