There is nothing quite like stepping outside and enjoying a breath of fresh air. As a parent, it is especially satisfying to watch your kids get out of the house to enjoy a stroll on the paseos or head to your local park.
With children of my own, I know how tough it can be to get kids to put down their devices — especially now that they are spending more time at home. However, there are new ways the city of Santa Clarita is reaching youth through their devices while encouraging healthy habits and physical fitness.
If you have not already, please visit the city’s Virtual Rec Center online at santa-clarita.com/VirtualRecCenter. There you will find helpful resources for all ages, as well as videos created by city staff to introduce fun outdoor games the whole family can enjoy. There are also handy links to other online and virtual programs that not only promote physical wellness, but also provide an educational benefit.
One such program, which launched in Santa Clarita last year, is called Agents of Discovery. This app-based mobile game takes users out into the world to learn about topics such as local history, wildlife, the environment and more.
Users of all ages can download the free Agents of Discovery app to a smartphone and play the game anywhere that a participating organization has created a “mission.” Though missions are completed by using a smartphone, they require Agents to explore their surroundings to find new tasks that they then use to progress through the game.
The city released its first mission for Agents to complete at Central Park, which takes advantage of the Central Park Trail to add a physical challenge for users. Agents begin near the softball fields and are asked questions about the park’s flora and fauna as they move from location to location, walking through the park and hiking portions of the trail. As they go, Agents earn points for correctly completing tasks, which can then lead to prizes from the city’s Adult Sports Office in Central Park.
The city’s second mission was recently launched at the Rivendale Park and Open Space in Towsley Canyon. Starting near the parking lot off of The Old Road, this mission offers fun tasks and educational value while you also get in a good workout. Towsley Canyon is already a popular hiking spot for Santa Clarita residents, and introducing a mission here gives another incentive for kids to join their parents for the 1.6-mile Elder Loop hike.
Getting started with Agents of Discovery is simple. Download the free app to your device and open it when you are at either Central Park or Towsley Canyon. You will see a list with your nearest mission available to select. Be sure to follow the instructions for where to begin each mission and stay alert for clues that will help you complete tasks along the way.
From time to time, city staff will be on-site to answer questions and provide assistance to new Agents, as well as exclusive goodies for those playing the game. Central Park and Towsley Canyon are just the first two missions available to complete now.
You can stay up to date on the latest Agents of Discovery news and mission releases by checking the city’s social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram and by visiting the city’s website at santa-clarita.com/AgentsOfDiscovery.
With days of sunshine and warm weather ahead of us, now is an excellent time to plan a family outing to explore Santa Clarita with Agents of Discovery. We hope to see you in the park and on the trail soon.
Good luck, Agents!
Councilman Cameron Smyth is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected].