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Contact: Debbie Wilmot
Marketing/Community Relations
City of Layfayette Recreation Dept.
www.cityoflafayette.com/recreation
debbiew@cityoflafayette.com

Over 350 Youths Turned Off Their TV and Went to Bob’s

During the week of April 21 through 27, 354 kids aged 6-17 in the surrounding Lafayette, Colorado community did an amazing thing. They said goodbye to Game Boy and sayonara to Sponge Bob. Even more remarkable was the fact that in addition to turning off their electronics, they also rediscovered healthy activities.

The Lafayette Recreation Department sponsored a free, engaging program for youth who made a commitment to turn off television and video games and refrain from recreational computer use. This program was run in conjunction with the National TV Turn Off Week organized by the TV-Turnoff Network.

The Lafayette program offered all youth who registered a free week’s pass to the Bob L. Burger Recreation Center. In addition, the Recreation Center hosted a family game night, an art program and a science program co-sponsored by the Lafayette Public Library and local toy store, Crawdaddy’s Toys.

Upon registration into the program, kids received an Activity Log to keep track of all the activities they engaged in during the week instead of watching television. At the end of the week those who turned in their logs received some great prizes; their choice of a book provided by the Lafayette Public Library, a yo-yo from Crawdaddy’s Toys, a free swim pass at the Bob Burger Recreation Center or LaMont Does Outdoor Pool, and a certificate of participation signed by Lafayette Recreation Director Curt Cheesman. The first 100 participants who turned in their logs also received an “I Turned off the TV and Went to Bob’s” t-shirt. We didn’t leave parents out. One lucky parent’s name was drawn from all participants to receive a “BOB” screentime controller device, donated by Hopscotch Technology, which assists parents to monitor time spent watching tv and playing video games.

The Lafayette Recreation Department offered the free week’s pass to support healthy lifestyles and provide optional recreational activities for youth in our community. “Some kids just need to be given the opportunity to realize there are lots of other great activities besides TV and video games,” claims Curt Cheesman, director of the Lafayette Recreation Department. “We feel the Bob Burger Recreation Center does an exceptional job of providing a variety of activities for a variety of interests in our community.” "We're very proud of our involvement in the TV Turn Off Week program and the message it sends to our youth about the importance of healthy, active lifestyles."

A participant’s parent wrote to us, “I just wanted to thank you for this wonderful week! Anthony (7) participated, and we had such a good time that we have decided to continue the no TV/no computer games at least once a week indefinitely. I have encouraged daily limits on TV and computer, but it hadn't gone over very well until TV Turn Off Week. Now I think we will have more success--thanks to you. He was also very happy to get a T-shirt, another day pass to the Rec Center, and the yoyo and book. This program was a huge hit in our house!”

Not only does the Bob L. Burger Recreation Center offer swimming and sports programs, a myriad of special interest classes are offered such as youth fitness training, jump roping, storytime yoga, karate, art classes, dance, and gymnastics. Other new and healthy events coming on board will be a child-focused nutrition and fitness program and a Dance Dance Revolution game station. State-licensed preschool and day camp programs are also available.

Why Turn off the TV?

Television cuts into family time, harms our children's ability to read and succeed in school, and contributes to unhealthy lifestyles and obesity. Here are just a few of the facts:

  • On average, children in the US will spend more time in front of the television (1,023 hours) than in school this year (900 hours).
  • Forty percent of Americans frequently or always watch television during dinner.
  • As US Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher said at the Kick Off of TV-Turnoff Week in 2001, "We are raising the most overweight generation of youngsters in American history...This week is about saving lives."

What's So Great about TV-Turnoff Week?

Turning off the television gives us a chance to be active, think, read, create, and do. To connect with our families and engage in our communities. It enables us to turn off TV and turn on life.

TV-Turnoff Week Works!

According to hundreds of responses to TV-Turnoff Week follow-up surveys, 90 percent of responding participants reduced their TV-viewing as a result of participating.

Who started the TV-Turnoff Week?

TV-Turnoff Network, formerly TV-Free America, is a nonprofit organization that encourages children and adults to watch much less television in order to promote healthier lives and communities. Founded in 1994, TV-Turnoff Network is dedicated to the belief that we all have the power to determine the role that television plays in our own lives. Rather than waiting for others to make "better" TV, we can turn it off and reclaim time for our families, our friends, and for ourselves. TV-Turnoff Week is supported by over 70 national organizations including the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, National Education Association, and President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. For more information visit www.tvturnoff.org


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