Raise a ruckus: Non-profit seeks to increase kids’ physical activity, opens contest for ideas

With the theme of “play that works,” the Ruckus Nation competition (www.ruckusnation.com) has put out a public call for anything-goes concepts with submissions competing for some pretty big dollars in four age divisions: middle school/junior high students, high school students, college/university students, all others (or what SNEWS® likes to call “young at heart” and that could of course include any of our readers).
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In an attempt to stir the public creativity pot to come up with ideas that will inspire and motivate kids to get moving and keep moving, a non-profit is kicking off a contest seeking ideas from all ages – with plenty of prizes for winners.

With the theme of “play that works,” the Ruckus Nation competition (www.ruckusnation.com) has put out a public call for anything-goes concepts with submissions competing for some pretty big dollars in four age divisions: middle school/junior high students, high school students, college/university students, all others (or what SNEWS® likes to call “young at heart” and that could of course include any of our readers).

The ruckus-raising ideas should target middle-school students, or about ages 11-14. Awards by category total up to $300,000 in cash and prizes. Plus, winning ideas could become a real product.

Developed by the non-profit HopeLab (www.hopelab.org), which was founded by Pam Omiday, the wife of eBay founder Pierre Omiday, the contest will be powered by the community, Richard Tate, communications director for HopeLab, told SNEWS®. In fact, the second of four judging rounds will be judged by the online community, many of whom will sign up on the website to judge, as well as the HopeLab folks and others recruited by the group. The contest is co-sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (www.rwjf.org).

“Obesity is becoming a global issue,” Tate said. “We believe in the power of the community in getting things moving.”

What will win? Criteria are simple:

  • Appeals to kids (kids 11 – 14 years old will like the product)
  • Gets kids moving (the product will get kids 11 – 14 years old to be more physically active)
  • Keeps kids moving (the product keeps kids 11 -14 years old physically active)
  • Originality (the idea is bold, fresh, and creative)
  • Gives kids control (the product allows kids 11 – 14 years old to be in control of its use)

Entries can be from individuals or teams of up to six people. Entries are ideas and not a prototype, Tate said, to make sure all ages and abilities can enter. Originality is key.

“We’re not interested in duplicating efforts” already existing, he said. “We want to give kids power and control over their own lives.”

All things are possible, including toys, games and technology. Of course, pills, surgery and other procedures as well as policy changes are not.

The contest is not about HopeLab getting the ideas, then profiting off somebody else, Tate said. Rights will be broadly accessible. “And we’d be thrilled if people came forward with ideas, then went off and did something about them” themselves, he said.

This is Hopelab’s second project, the first being a video game for young people with cancer, called “Re-Mission,” that was introduced in April 2006. That has since sold 95,000 copies in 78 countries.

The time is now to raise a ruckus: Registration for the competition opens Sept. 18 and closes Oct. 15 (If more than 1,000 entries are received, it could close sooner, we were told). Entry deadline is Nov. 15.

SNEWS® View: We think this is a grand idea and HopeLab has the resources and credibility to pull it off. The group will reach out to schools, community centers, clubs, university design programs or any place else where an idea might be simmering. It will be a sad day indeed if some of our readers from the outdoor and fitness communities can’t muster up some energy and imagination on this one. Let’s get going gang, and help HopeLab find ways to get kids moving.

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