GRANITE UNPLUGGED — it’s really happening!

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You might remember my post last June—  summer: unplugged. The day after writing it, I read about Heber Unplugged in the newspaper. They’d taken a grassroots idea (get kids playing) and taken it throughout their community. At the end of the school year, they passed out a lanyard to each school kid along with a magazine outlining 100 summer activities. Each activity was sponsored by a busniness and upon completion, the kids visited the business and picked up a tag. Several businesses also offered coupons or sponsored give-aways.

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My brilliant friend Catherine, who lives and breathes deliberate motherhood, brought her five littles to film the video below. Catherine’s been lugging them door-to-door as she solicits businesses for this project. I just want to get her a little help.

It’s a simple idea, yet brilliant. Parents, kids and the community all benefit. You should have seen my kids when they saw the lanyards and the magazine full of ideas. Xander said, “I’m going to earn every badge this summer.”

I decided to make it my Young Mother Project and determined to bring the program to Salt Lake City–something that could help all parent and kids, not just a few.

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It took a LOT of phone calls and unanswered emails and finally a friend of a friend who passed on Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdam’s personal email address. We met with the mayor’s office last fall and guess what?!! It’s really happening! Mayor McAdams signed on, Granite School District signed on and we are rolling out the program for 61,000 school kids this summer.

Well, we hope we are rolling it out. We need 160 businesses to help support the program and we need parents to contact those businesses.

Unplugged offers a great advertising deal for businesses. But we have no staff to go out and solicit their support. We need help from parents all across Granite School District to sign up local businesses as sponsors. The Heber businesses who did this last year reported a 500% increase in foot traffic. Watch this video, see what you think, and encourage your favorite business to participate. The program can be tailored for anyone. A tow truck company in Heber was one of the companies who benefited the most last summer– he sponsored a bike race tag and saw his business increase 400%.

The initial cost for each business is $500. That gives them their first 500 brag bags to hand out, their company featured in the Granite Unplugged magazine (going out to 61,000 families) and a page on the Granite Unplugged website where they can promote their business throughout the summer (reorders on brag bags are $.50 each)

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Granite School District stretches all across the valley from the Wasatch to Oquirrh Mountains. We want to sign up 80 businesses on each side of the Jordan River so parents don’t have to drive all over the valley. Kids will be free to cross over for activities on both sides, we just want to be considerate. Charter Schools are also included and kids outside of the Granite School District will be able to sign up at the Salt Lake County Building.

Why aren’t we including other school districts in the valley? Simple logistics. When I first contacted Erik Rowland of Unplugged he didn’t think they could handle a community this large. Heber Valley holds about 20,000 people, Salt Lake County– 1,000,000. Although they are rolling out the program in several other areas this summer, ours is by far the largest.

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Please pass this information along. My blog doesn’t have a huge readership but I know some of you do, or have friends with large blogs and Facebook pages. It’s an elephant of a job, but if we each take a small chunk we’ll have it done in just days.

We’d love to get 80 businesses signed up before April 1st. You can find everything you need to know about Play Unplugged, right here:

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With huge thanks on the video to my brilliant, talented next-door-neighbor, Ezra Schofield, for letting me use his awesome footage. Pretty much everything cutesy in this is mine and everything “Wow! Cool.” was filmed by Ezra (you can check out his other work on vimeo: ezraschofield). 

Thanks so much!



  1. Michelle Carey's Second Grade

    March 14, 2014

    I LOVE THIS! Please keep us informed how it goes. I’d love to replicate the idea in Colorado. (My 5-year old gave up screen time for Lent. My-oh-my how creative she has been!)

  2. Cath

    March 14, 2014

    M – Total delight to film this yesterday with you. Love the photos too!

    And Readers: you should know Michelle put this video together in less than 24 hours. She’s brilliant! And she’s absolutely right. We need your help! If you live local, help us recruit a business or two!

    My kids are already excited about how magical this will make their summer.

  3. Jan Garbett

    March 15, 2014

    I remember reading about this when Heber did it. What a great video to help spread the concept. I love it when there are win wins.

  4. Kayci

    March 17, 2014

    Fabulous video and pictures. I adore this idea.
    I live in the same valley as you just farther south, out of Granite District. I am not sure how I could help you best?

  5. Sue

    April 10, 2014

    Well done! This is a great idea, and I hope you guys have much success with it. 🙂

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