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Date Contest Rewards Creativity Of White Plains Teens

Westchester youths ages 13-18 are invited to submit ideas for a countywide Best Date Contest. Photo Credit: File

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Dating isn’t what it used to be. Now, Westchester County teenagers have a chance to show their imagination, earn prizes and plan a memorable date through a contest sponsored by Program Reach.

The Best Date in Westchester 2015 contest invites students between the ages of 13 and 18 to submit date ideas through  Saturday, March 14. Submissions may be in writing -- 500-word maximum -- or through video or audio with a three-minute maximum.

Date plans will be judged on originality, thoughtfulness and wow factor. The dates -- or ideas for a great date -- must involve activities within Westchester County, and budgets must not exceed $50. Prizes will be awarded for the top three date ideas.

The  contest will be judged by a panel of judges, including Sheila Astorino, the wife of County Executive Rob Astorino. Prizes will include 2015 Playland tickets; Westchester Knicks tickets; treats at Frannie's Goodie Shop in Yonkers or Mount Kisco; and others.

“We run programs for youth and how to build healthy relationships,’’ said Nanci Coppola, executive director of Program Reach. “We tried to find an idea to get them engaged differently. We wanted to make a contest and engage the entire county. It gives them a chance to be creative and fun. It’s turning it more into a competition rather than a class assignment.”

Rob Astorino said he’s looking forward to the creative ideas of the teenagers. “It’s a way to go a little old-school,’’ he said. “It shouldn’t be all about the pressure. The $50 or less milestone is not that expensive. And it weaves into what we’re doing with tourism and all the great things we have in the county.”

Coppola and Astorino said dating has changed over the years. “Kids have gotten away from the way we think about it,’’ Coppola said. “Now it’s cost-prohibitive for a lot of kids. I’m hoping they come up with ideas that don’t cost a lot of money.”

The grand prize winner of the contest will be announced on March 31. To register and learn more, visit the Program Reach website .

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