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. Kids will earn a GO WilMa! patch similar to those earned by Boy and Girl Scouts for completing 6 outdoor adventures.
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!
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.
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.
Why is GO WilMa! 2021 “For the Birds”? Since 1970, nearly 3 billion birds—that’s more than 1 in 4—have been lost in the continental US and Canada across 6 biomes. This season’s GO WilMa! is dedicated to celebrating birds and sparking awareness of their importance and wonder in our families and young adventurers.
Register @ Malvern or Paoli Library to receive your Field Guide beginning at the Willistown Parks & Rec School’s Out—Let’s GO WilMa! Park Party June 22 @ Greentree Park and ongoing throughout the summer. Sign up for Wilistown Parks & Rec Enews @ Notify Me on willistown.pa.us to stay informed.
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 adventurers will earn a GO WilMa! patch by adventuring to 6 of our 15 different destinations and locating the Inspiration Stations there. Sign up in person at Malvern or Paoli Library to receive your Field Guide.
Over 800 GO WilMa! explorers and their friends and families head and about in our local parks and special places throughout the summer. If you haven’t tried it yet, join the fun!
Registration & Program Duration & Fee
You can Get Outside ’round Willistown and Malvern (GO WilMa!) through August 20.
There is no participation fee for GO WilMa!, as the program is funded iy Willistown Township.
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 Field 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 in your Stamp Collection, "stamping" your guide.
- Submit your Stamp Collections to Mary who will enter you in our prize drawing.
- Like GO WilMa! on Facebook for important updates, announcements, and fun!
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!
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. It’s all about getting outside in the fresh air with friends and family for good, old-fashioned fun!
Willistown Parks and Recreation endeavors to foster 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 15!
Liability Release & Safety
All Participants Assume the Liability Release
I will abide by all current CDC and PA Department of Health COVID-19 requirements and 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:
- Abide by all CDC and PA Department of Health COVID-19 recommendations and wear a mask if unable to maintain a social distance of 6’ while on your GO WilMa! Adventures
- 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 or on Instagram or Facebook. Also, like us on Facebook and post photos and comments there.
Past Themes Include:
2020: Get Outside for Inspiration!
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!"