It’s one of our truest clichés: love or hate it, the cold reality of the long Minnesota winter makes summer seem like a far-off figment of the imagination. While warmer days are likely months away, however, it’s time for kids and parents to ask that wonderful, school’s-out question: What are you going to do with your summer?
Across Bridgeland, the city and into the wilds of wider Minnesota, there are a seemingly infinite number of activities to choose from — many of which are open for enrollment and filling up fast.
Below is a sample of area organizations and activities for kids, but a great place to start is the Minnesota Minority Education Partnership’s (MMEP) Academic Enrichment Guide, a database of summer programs available for order in hard copy (call 651-645-7400) or online at www.mmep.org/AEG.
Through the online database, you can customize your search by keyword or categories like college and career preparation, math, science, music, art and recreational as well as by the child’s age, grade, gender or GPA; or the desired program dates. Other search options include available scholarships, wages or stipends, transportation, overnight options and accommodations for students with physical or behavioral disabilities.
For example, a search for “music, art, communications, language, or writing” programs for third graders from June 1 through Sept. 1 found five programs — including some Bridgeland options: camps at Northern Clay Center in Seward and a youth creative writing program at The Loft in Downtown East.
Some other options are listed below that may or may not appear in the MMEP guide, which was published in February. Conatct the respective programs for cost, dates and other related information, but hurry — some may fill up fast.
Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s Rec Plus
(search “Rec Plus summer”)
While specific options were not available by press time, the city’s parks — such as Luxton, Matthews, Brackett and Van Cleve in The Bridge neighborhoods — offer activities for kids, including the Rec Plus before- and afterschool program, which offers childcare and recreation, including games and sports, swim lessons, arts and crafts, two park classes, field trips and snacks.
University of Minnesota summer programs
(summer recreational programs)
The U of M offers a plethora of activities, instructional or recreational, for youth ages 5–15 in four categories: Kids’ University (studies and activities in agriculture, ecology, language, math, and sciences and more); Minnesota Sport Schools camps (including archery, fishing, rock-climbing, aquatics and more); Discovering “U” (creative and artistic programs); and Gopher Adventures (through which kids explore U features like the Weisman and Bell Museums, Raptor Center and other nonuniversity field trips, tours and demonstrations). Registration began Feb. 9, so sign up soon.
Guthrie Theater summer camps
Kids ages 7–16 can immerse themselves in the theatre through the Guthrie’s weeklong day camps, featuring topics like storymaking, comedy, musical theatre, Broadway and Shakespeare.
Medieval Minnesota day camp
(search “Medieval Minnesota”)
Augsburg’s nationally known Medieval Studies program presents this weeklong camp for students ages 14–17 who want to take a metaphorical trip back to the Middle Ages. Students learn about medieval history, legends and symbolism; develop a medieval character and costume; and engage in hands-on activities like juggling, dancing, fencing, playing medieval instruments and more.
YMCA camps and programs
(under “summer programs”)
The Twin Cities’ 24 YMCA locations will hold a Summer Rally Day on March 7, 9 a.m.–1 p.m., for information and registration for the YMCA’s summer camps, trips and programs. Rally Day features refreshments, kids’ activities, a drawing for a free week of summer programs and, of course, registration for day and overnight camps, teen wilderness adventures and other summer programs, which are open to nonmembers.
Other Bridgeland programs include Articulture, Northern Clay Center and the Movement Arts Center, which will offer individual and joint programs — combining activities among the three separate organizations — this summer, all within a short walk down East Franklin Avenue. For information, contact Articulture (www.articulture.org, 612-729-5151); Northern Clay (www.northernclaycenter.org, 612-339-8007); or Movement Arts (www.movementartscenter.org, 612-333-8635).
Sadly, one well-known sign of summer that appears unlikely this year is the Seward Youth Peace Garden, through which, for years, area kids have learned about gardening, tended the Peace Garden plot and held weekly sales of vegetables outside the Birchwood Café and elsewhere.
No funding has been found for this year, according to longtime coordinator Anna Costello and Diann Anders, treasurer of the Seward Neighborhood Group (SNG), which has secured funding for the program in the past. SNG is currently looking at the possibility of running a similar, volunteer-run program in the future, according to Anders, who said SNG has received a lot of interest from prospective volunteers.