In Rutland County Vermont, more families are getting outside, connecting with nature, being physically active, and increasing their sense of mental well-being thanks to Vermont’s SNAP-Ed, Come Alive Outside (CAO) Passport Program.
Engaging in regular physical activity can be challenging for busy children and families, especially those who are lower income and live in rural communities, where resources to be active may be limited or difficult to access. The CAO Passports are offered to SNAP eligible families in Rutland County Vermont where, according to the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), less than one quarter (22%) of high school students and fewer than one third (30%) of middle school students meet the physical activity recommendations of 60 minutes per day, every day. CAO works with schools and partners around the county to develop accessible and fun ways to support and encourage increased participation for youth and families, in hyper-local (at home, in the community) everyday physical activity.
CAO started offering Passports in 2017, which includes over 30 fun and engaging activities that families can do at home and in their community, while discovering local parks, playgrounds, public art, libraries, and other amenities. Families track their adventures in the Passport and earn points and prizes for completing fun local outdoor activities and events. Examples of Passport activities are going on a scavenger hunt to find local murals in your town and creating your own mural. Participants can bring Passports to prize centers or Come Alive Outside, showing completed activities, to win prizes that support continued physical activity such as jump ropes and frisbees.
Over 40 local organizations representing a variety of sectors provide input to what activities and events will be included in the Passports. The Passports are disseminated twice per year (Summer and Winter). Over 5200 Passports were recently distributed to SNAP-Ed eligible schools, Rutland Pediatrics, Boys & Girls Club, Mentor Connector, home school groups, local community-run hair clinics, families in transitional housing, and early childhood facilities.
The Passports work! Evaluations results from the Passports show:
- 85% of the children were more excited about physical activity because of the Passport.
- 88% of families said they increased physical activity with the passport.
- 90% of families said doing the passport activities increased their mental well-being.
In a recent needs assessment, families with children under the age of five have been identified as a high priority for SNAP-Ed programming in Vermont. CAO is planning to expand its reach to include early childhood populations by partnering with another SNAP-Ed organization that implements an early childcare program focused on nutrition. CAO will create preschool level physical activities passports with a multi-generational approach.
CAO Program and Outreach Manager