by Phil Ambroziak

Go out and play!

Those are four words the City of Meadow Lake is using to encourage its residents to not only become more physically active, but to also help the community win up to $10,000 for a new initiative planned by the city’s recreation department.

“When I was first hired, one of the city’s mandates was to find ways to better utilize the recreational facilities Meadow Lake currently has and to get more Meadow Lake and area residents to become more active within the local community,” explained the city’s recreation manager Robin Mitchell.

With the assistance of recreation foreman Kevin Arnold and Meadow Lake Aquatic Centre manager Brittani Duxbury, Mitchell discovered the 2020 Blue Cross Go Out and Play Challenge. By visiting challenge.saskatchewaninmotion.ca, communities can participate in the challenge which runs from March 1-10. Those who choose to take part are simply required to be active for however long they can each day, visit the website to log their play time and the community whose residents log the most time when the challenge is up will win $10,000, while the runner-up will receive $5,000.

“That’s why we’re encouraging people to visit the site, to create an account and to take part,” Mitchell added. “It’s a great way to encourage residents to become more active and the activity they participate in can be pretty much anything – it could be as simple as taking a walk, playing in the snow, tobogganing on the hill in Lions Park or enjoying our outdoor ice surfaces, all of which are a lot of fun if it doesn’t remain -40C outside. As long as it gets people of all ages outside and having fun, that’s what matters.”

If Meadow Lake is one of the top two communities once the challenge is all said and done, Mitchell said he already has plans as far as where the prize money will go.

“I would like to see us build an outdoor play area along the walking path in Lions Park,” he said. “We’ll put in a few picnic tables and a bike rack, but we would also like to have a play area built from logs to serve as a sort of perimeter, and to fill it with sand and some boulders, and just really provide somewhere that’s sort of natural for the kids to manoeuvre, run and climb… somewhere they can go to be active at no cost to them. We’d also like to build a beach volleyball area, a bocce court and a horseshoe area.”

Even if Meadow Lake is unable to secure funds from the Go Out and Play Challenge, Mitchell said he will still work toward finding the money to make this idea a reality.

“Even if we can’t do it all right away, I would like to see work begin on part of it this spring so it’s ready to go by summer,” he added. “In the meantime, I encourage everyone to check out this website and, come March 1-10, to take part in this challenge. It’s a great opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors.”

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