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The Central Ohio Tour That’s a Must Do This Winter Break

A plastic box nestled amongst the limbs of a tree with the text "The Central Ohio Tour That’s a Must Do This Winter Break By ESC Communications Staff".

 Like nearly everything else this year, winter break may look different for you, your students and their families.

But what if different doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing? 
That’s exactly the thinking behind the new “Central Ohio COVID-19 Letterboxing Tour” created by students at Ventures II, an alternative education program of the ESC of Central Ohio.
A project in the works for several months, the tour is designed to be a pandemic-safe family activity to beat winter boredom while getting students outside to use their brains during a time when it’s way too easy to hit “Next Episode” on Netflix. 
The tour comprises three letterboxes that are placed throughout Central Ohio (Westerville, Bexley, and south Columbus) and can only be found through landmark clues posted to the two biggest letterboxing databases— and
Each letterbox includes a corresponding website that’s accessible via a scannable QR code. The Three plastic boxes opened displaying their contents. Items include rubber stamps, paper booklets and QR codes. websites—also completely built by students—feature valuable pandemic resources around a variety of subjects, including:
  • The science of toilet plumes (“poop tornadoes”)
  • The math of exponential growth and embedded CDC data
  • Restaurant reviews for two locally-owned restaurants
  • Exercise and yoga videos
  • Curated pandemic playlists for mental health and mindfulness activities
Begin your Central Ohio COVID-19 Letterboxing Tour by visiting the links to the clues: 

For those who are not avid letterboxers, here’s a bit of background information on this historical, but growing, hobby:
Letterboxing is a scavenger and treasure-hunt style outdoor-activity that is like geo-caching originating in England in 1854. The process, according to Letterboxing North America (LbNA), has “Letterboxers hide small, weatherproof boxes in publicly-accessible places (like parks) and post clues to finding the box online. Individual letterboxes usually contain a log book, hand-carved rubber stamp and occasionally an ink pad. Finders make an imprint of the letterbox’s stamp on their personal log book, and leave an imprint of their personal stamp on the letterbox’s logbook.” It is estimated that over 90,000 letterboxes have been planted in North America (LbNA).

Ventures II is an alternative education program of the ESC of Central Ohio. It serves youth in grades 7-12 who are in need of social and behavioral intervention. Ventures II currently serves students from several Central Ohio school districts. Seventy-nine percent of the students are on free and reduced lunch. All students are on an individualized education program (IEP). Many have experienced trauma.