Participate in ‘Get outdoors’ on Saturday

Here’s a family idea – drop the remote, put down the cell phone, unplug the Xbox, stop posting on Facebook and leave the house.

Why? Saturday is National Get Outdoors Day.

This sixth annual event encourages healthy, active outdoor fun at sites across the nation. It was launched in 2008, as a way to get our youth active. According to organizers, kids today average 7.5 hours per day in front of a screen and are six times more likely to play a computer game than to ride a bike.

That’s sad, but can easily be changed.

The closest official participant is Mill Creek MetroParks ( in Youngstown, however, that doesn’t mean we can’t take part, locally, on an individual basis.

It’s said that the day “will offer opportunities for American families to experience traditional and non-traditional types of outdoor activities. Prime goals of the day are reaching currently underserved populations and first-time visitors to public lands, and reconnecting our youth to the great outdoors.”

In 2012, more than 70,000 people across this country participated, a jump of 30,000 the previous year. There were 138 official sites in 37 states.

We say it’s a good time to visit our local outdoor spots. Locally, all within a short drive, are Beaver Creek State Park, Thompson Park, Guilford Lake State Park, Tomlinson Run State Park, and Raccoon Creek State Park.

When’s the last time you visited any of these sites? There may be few rain drops, but not enough to ruin the day. So why not take part?

We have a suggestion: Pack a lunch. Have a picnic with the family and enjoy what these beautiful parks have available. Hike a designated trail. Swim. Fish. Be active.

Leave the technology behind – at least for a day or even a few hours.

Take advantage of what our local parks offer. And “Get outdoors.”