Parents and children in Ketchikan have a new incentive to take advantage of all there is to do in their community. Ketchikan Early Childhood Leadership Team launched “Passport for Kids” in early August and 400 passports have been issued since then.
Each passport lists various activities available in Ketchikan. Examples include family night at the local library, vision screenings, and visits to the Totem Heritage Center.
Each time a parent and child visit or participate in an activity listed in the passport they get a stamp, just like a real passport. At the end of each month, passport holders are entered into a drawing (one entry for each stamp in the passport) for gift certificates and prizes – like a gift certificate to Silly Munchkins, a local toy store with great developmental toys.
“There are so many activities in this community that children and families can be participating in,” said Laurie Thomas, Director of the Early Learning Program at Community Connections and chair of the Ketchikan Early Childhood Leadership Team.
“We hope this passport encourages more families to get out and take advantage of the opportunities.”
The Passport for Kids is a creative approach to a common challenge – connecting parents and children with the activities and resources already available. And it gives busy parents ideas about fun, active ways to interact with their children.
“I’ll tell you – it’s not just kids and families that are excited about this. We’ve engaged new partners through the process. For example, the school district superintendent took five passports to share, and he had to come back to get more because so many people were asking for them. I think that this has helped expand awareness of our partnership. It’s demonstrating results, and people like that,” Thomas said.
The Passport for Kids offers a creative approach to engaging members of the community outside the typical early childhood circles. By including organizations like the Main Street Gallery, Totem Heritage Center, and Ketchikan Theatre Ballet in the passport, the Ketchikan Early Childhood Leadership Team is helping others in the community to understand how they play an important role in building strong community systems for supporting the healthy growth and development of Ketchikan’s youngest citizens.
“This passport can become a keepsake for families – something tangible that children can take ownership of and remember their travels through their own community,” Thomas said.