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Valdez Police Department
Friday March 4th, 2016 :: 12:33 p.m. AKST


VPD issued a challenge Tuesday to all Gilson Middle School students to get off the couch and explore the outdoors

For immediate release: 03/04/2016 11:30 a.m.

Valdez, AK – The Valdez Police Department issued a challenge Tuesday to all Gilson Middle School students to get off the couch and explore the outdoors.

The Valdez Outdoor Challenge, led by VPD School Resource Officer Aaron Baczuk, is an effort to challenge middle school youth to take a break from electronic devices, stay away from drugs and alcohol, conquer apathy, and seek opportunities for outdoor physical activity.

“From time to time the phrase ‘there is nothing to do in Valdez’ escapes the mouth of local kids,” said Officer Baczuk. “Nothing could be further from the truth. Valdez is a great place to learn, explore, and challenge each other with literally dozens of exciting adventures right in our backyard.

The challenge consists of three separate activities. First, students must identify the outdoor locations in photos posted outside Officer Baczuk’s resource room at Gilson Middle School. All photos are taken within fifteen miles of downtown Valdez. Students must then select one or more outdoor activities to try for the first time and take photos or “selfies” while participating three times in that activity. The last step in the challenge involves having a meaningful discussion with a parent or guardian on a series of provided topics related to healthy lifestyle choices. To be eligible for prizes, students must turn in their completed challenge packet and photos to Officer Baczuk by 4:00 p.m. on March 28th.

Students with the top three number of correct answers in the photo identification contest receive their choice of three outdoor adventure packages options: a four hour heli-skiing or snowboarding adventure donated by H2O Guides, a two hour rock or ice climbing adventure with the Valdez Fire Department Search & Rescue Team, or a Valdez Glacier kayaking adventure donated by Anadyr Adventures.

Additionally, students with the top ten number of correct answers receive one of ten prizes including a Go Pro Hero 4, a North Face sleeping bag, MSR snowshoes, a North Face backpack, a Jet Boil stove kit, Leki trekking poles, a Petzl climbing harness, a Petzl headlamp, an Okuma Tundra salmon fishing rod/reel, and an Aquamira water filtration system.

All youth participating in the challenge are entered in the “lucky prize” drawing to win a Seal-Line 70 Liter Dry Bag Boundary Pack. Prospector Outfitters provided VPD with gear for prizes at a significant discount.

Students can pick-up a Valdez Outdoor Challenge packet from Officer Baczuk’s office at Gilson Middle School. During spring break, photos for the identification challenge may be viewed online at

Posted March 4, 2016
Allie Ferko
Public Information Officer
City of Valdez

Valdez Police Department
212 Chenega Ave
Valdez, AK 99686

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 907-835-4560

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