This year the staff at The Morgan County News would like to make your newspaper reading experience a little more interactive. You may have seen our weekly word of the week contests. Maybe you have tried to identify the individuals in an old photo for a prize. This year we want to try something a little different to get our readers involved. We offer you the first annual Morgan Community Challenge. We fittingly introduce this challenge at the year’s beginning, when many of us reassess what went well the prior year and what we could do to kick things up a notch. The idea for the challenge started out as more of a fitness challenge, and while it will still encompass that aspect, it will include much more. The first step is to set a specific measurable goal. Just saying you are going to spend more time with you family isn’t measurable. It needs to be specific. Challenges have been set forth in other communities with great success. Some examples of measurable goals are as follows: ¢ Volunteer twice a week at your child’s school. Volunteer time can be set up with your child’s teacher or administrator. Volunteer time can be completed in the classroom or from your home. The school has needs that can be filled in many different ways. There are worthy places to volunteer your time around every corner. Make a goal to find a committee to serve on such as Fourth of July, Relay for Life, Morgan County Fair, Christmas on Commercial Street or Special Olympics, just to name a few. Sports teams and various events also need local support. Document your hours and tell us what you learned. ¢ Learn something new. Learn a second language, learn how to play an instrument, take cooking classes, or go back to school. Just make sure you set a specific goal as this category can be a little vague. ¢ Get in shape. This is probably the easiest category to be specific in. In an effort to assist you in this category, Achieve Fitness is sponsoring a Choose to Lose group. This group will meet each Monday at 6 p.m. at Achieve Fitness. The first meeting will be March 4. Each time you meet, you will be weighed and if you choose, have your body fat percentage measured. Those who want to participate further can donate $5 to the reward fund. The next Monday, the top two losers will split the fund from that week. You must contribute to the fund to be eligible to win the loser award. For more details, contact firstname.lastname@example.org ¢ Take your kids/grandkids on an outing of their choice once a month. In order for this to be measurable, you could document each outing. Take a few pictures and write a few lines about what you enjoyed most. ¢ Get your finances under control. Aspire to get $1,000 in savings. Pay off all the credit cards. This will require sharing some documentation proving what you have accomplished, so make sure you set a measurable goal that you feel comfortable documenting. The second step is to outline what specific things you are going to do in order to meet that goal. You will be much more successful achieving a goal when you have a plan of action. Once you have put some thought into you goal and how to achieve it, step three is to send an email to email@example.com with all the details. At the end of the challenge, a panel of judges will rate each contestant. Ratings will be based on the level of difficulty of the goal, documentation, and how well you accomplished it. Our end game is to help the community improve and reward them for doing so. So join us. Be rewarded for doing something you know you should be doing anyway. The gauntlet has been thrown down. We challenge everyone to get in on this.