Wednesday, March 21, 2018

6 Activities to Plan with Your Little This Spring

Winter is a huge part of being a Minnesotan. We can brave just about any tundra to get to where we need to be and consider a mere 30° T-Shirt weather.

Why would anyone live here, you ask? Because the lengthy winters make for a much-anticipated spring to enjoy with the friendly people this state has to offer.

You’ve seen your Little bundled up for months and they’ve made enough snowmen to start a small army. Just like the rest of us, they’re tired of winter activities and are looking forward to saying sayonara to the cold.

Luckily, Littles are nothing short of imaginative, and planning these activities should be enough to hold you and your Little over in the last hurdles of the cold stuff!

A Little Something to Get Started

Blow Bubbles

When was the last time you saw a grumpy person blowing bubbles? It’s basically impossible. Whether you go the classic route or try something a bit bigger, you’re bound to have a great time with your Little blowing bubbles.

Plant A Garden

Let’s face it, kids are messy. Wouldn’t it be great if there was something you could do together that makes a mess and constructive? Well, there is! Break out the shovels and embrace your inner farmer and plant something with your Little. Before the last frost, you can even get an early start germinating seeds.

Draw With Sidewalk Chalk

There’s a sidewalk Picasso inside all of us, and seeing the things your Little comes up with to draw is nothing short of a good time. If they’re more of the active type, hopscotch might be a good option.

A Big Way to Make a Difference

Have A Spring Cleanup Day

Seeing your Little care about their community is a big thing. You can grab some gloves, trash bags, and take a hike! It’s a great way to go for a stroll and get some fresh air, while also making our community a better place.

Earth Day Run

On the topic of caring about a trash free community, cheering on the participants of the annual earth day 5k could be a great way to spend the day. There’s a ton of kid-friendly activities and friendly folks that want to make their environment the place to be.

Attend a Big Brothers Big Sisters Event

Nothing short of exciting happens when you gather a bunch of Bigs and Littles together in the same place. Check out these upcoming events that include everything from fishing to trampolines and get excited!

You made it to the end of this blog, and before you know it you and your Little will make it to the beginning of spring. We hope a few of these ideas stuck, and look forward to joining you for the warmer weather and fun ahead!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Be a Mentor – Change the World, Little by Little

Mentors matter.

Take Tennessee. He can talk to his “Big Brother,” Daine Billmarke, of Foley, about anything.

“He motivates me to do things,” Tennessee says.

The two were matched through the Big Brothers Big Sisters community-based mentoring program 9 years ago. They meet two to three times each month for about an hour each.

In the near-decade since they first met, they’ve been through important life changes. Tennessee has grown into a young man, a high school student. And Daine has been there with him through it all.

Big Brothers Big Sisters also offers a school-based mentoring program. For mentor Carla Griffin, of Big Lake, that has made all the difference.

She was matched with her “Little Sister” Brooklynn three years ago through the program, and spends one hour each week at Brooklynn’s school.

“We are very compatible,” Carla says of their time together. “She’s just fun, I look forward to seeing her.”

More than just a convenient location to meet, school can be a place of encouragement and support.

Carla and Brooklynn spend the hour playing board games, working on arts and crafts or homework, or just talking.

Kids in Benton County, like Tennessee, and Sherburne County, like Brooklynn, need mentors. There’s a waiting list, and some wait over a year to be matched.

Big Brothers Big Sisters wants to change that.

You can be a role model for kids in your community. An hour a week is all it takes. This can be a great way to give back to the place you live, and ensure a bright future for the kids in your neighborhood.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Minnesota has operated with this mission since 1969: the belief that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. Big Brothers Big Sisters is the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network.

Kids ages 5 through 16 are eligible to be “Littles” across our five-county service area: Stearns, Benton, Sherburne, Morrison, and the northern tier of Wright County.

To learn more, please visit or call (320) 253-1616. With your help, we can change the world, little by little.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

How To Get Involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters

Maybe this is your first time hearing about Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Minnesota or maybe you’ve heard of them but weren’t sure what they do. This is the time learn!

We are preparing for our annual Magic Moments Gala where we will raise money to “Change the World Little by Little”. This winter campaign is all about adding more Big volunteers. Donating your support and skills to help those in need without taking time away from your daily life is a great feeling.

Help us “Change the World Little by Little” with some of these great options:

Become a Big Brother or Sister

With this volunteer opportunity, you will become a Big Brother or Sister to a child in the program. This child will look up to you in times of need, for inspiration, or for help with their homework. It is a great opportunity to get involved in making a difference in a child’s life. 

Join as a Family or Couple

This is a great opportunity for you to inspire a child but not sacrifice your time with your family or spouse. It would be the same as Big Brother or Sister, only it’d be with your entire family or with your significant other! Think of all the fun you could have as a group!

Bigs in Blue

This is our mentoring program where a child connects with police in their community. As with a Big, it creates strong, lasting relationships between the child and a police officer. They help the child develop into confident adults. It also helps to build strong relationships between the police and the community, emphasizing our goal to “Change the World Little by Little”.

Become a Big on Campus

This is a great opportunity for college students to become involved with the community near their college. They have the opportunity to become a Big for a child in the program. Get involved in a child’s life and help them grow to become a strong and confident adult. You’ll also give them a unique perspective into college by helping them prepare and know what to expect.

Offer Donations

Another way you can give is through donations. As with most organizations, a simple way to be involved is by donating to the organization. Any donations help plan and set up Big Brothers Big Sisters events, including our annual Magic Moments Gala. You can find more information about donations on our website.

As you see, there are many ways to become involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters throughout the year, including during the winter. There are many children in our region that would benefit from having a Big in their life. We would love to have you join us as a volunteer as we continue to “Change the World Little by Little”.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Winter Activities for You and Your Little in the St. Cloud Area

Winter in Minnesota holds many fun activities for you to do with your Little, both indoors or outdoors. Time to bundle up and enjoy making memories with these special winter activities.

Hockey Day Minnesota: January 19-20, 2018

Headquartered from an outdoor rink to be constructed at Lake George, Hockey Day Minnesota takes place with St. Cloud as a backdrop. The event features a series of outdoor hockey games, including the first ever women’s college hockey game played outdoors, as St. Cloud State takes on U of M Duluth.

Open Skate at St. Cloud Municipal Athletic Complex

Friday mornings are the time for open skating for all ages at the MAC (Municipal Athletic Complex). Admission is just $6 for adults and $4 for kids. Children 4 and under are free with paying adult.

Great River Regional Library Activities

Did you know that local libraries have free movie nights on different nights of the week, including Cartoon Movie Night on the second Thursday of the month? Refreshments are even provided free of charge!

Also check the Events Calendar for things like Make & Take Craft Days, Pizza and a Book Teen Book Club, or the popular Teen Trivia Harry Potter Challenge Days throughout the month of February.

AirMaxx Trampoline Park

What could possibly be better than jumping on trampolines for an hour? Kids from the small to growing teens absolutely love AirMaxx, which features wall-to-wall trampolines, an arcade, and dodgeball. Just make sure you get a pass for yourself too, so you can jump alongside them! Admission is $12.50 per hour per person, and totally worth it.

Waite Park Movie Theater

The movies: simple, easy, and always a good idea. With 17 auditoriums and movies like Star Wars and several animated features out, you’re bound to find a good movie for you and your Little to enjoy.

“The Nine Who Dared: Courage at Little Rock” – Helgeson Learning Lab, Waite Park

This thought-provoking theater experience outlines a defining moment of the Civil Rights Movement at took place in Little Rock, Arkansas, as one student fights back against the injustices in the school system. This powerful and educational feature is perfect for ages 13-18.

St. Cloud Area Community Events Calendar

For even more activities and events in the St. Cloud area, this online calendar from is a great resource.

We hope you find the perfect activities to experience with your Little this winter. From movies and crafts to outdoor sports, enjoy your next visit together no matter the weather!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Making Holiday Gifts with Your Little This Season

Spending time working together on a project brings two people closer. A great opportunity for Bigs to connect with their Littles is by making a craft project together this season.

This craft can be given as a present to teachers or parents. Here are some ideas of holiday crafts Bigs and Littles can make together this season. 

Sandpaper Printed Towels

This craft is a unique way to print a drawn masterpiece by a child on flour sack towels. The trick is to use crayons to color on sandpaper and then iron on your design. This inexpensive craft will create personalized towels that are as useful as they are cool!

Felt Coffee Cup Cozies

If your Little is age 8 or older, try your hand at embroidering coffee cup cozies using felt – no expensive tools required. Stitch as much detail as desired or make it seasonal for the holidays!

Lacey Candle Holders

Together Bigs and Littles can decorate candle holders with doilies to make them into unique presents. By dying the doilies with food coloring and using craft glue to adhere them to the glass candle holder, this craft creates a cool effect when casting candle shadows across the wall.

DIY Clock

It is not as hard as you might think to make your own face clock. Customize this craft however you would like, using fabric as the background or stickers for the numbers. This idea is the perfect gift for a teacher!

A Chalkboard Tray

Chalkboard paint is all the rage right now! Make a trendy and useful gift by coating a tray in chalkboard paint. Write on a message with chalk and add a bow! This is an easy craft that the recipient is sure to love!

These fun crafts can be created together by a Big and Little team and then gifted to special role models in their lives. You will be amazed how easy it is and what fun you have working together!

Learn more about giving the best gift and becoming a Big on our website.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Fall for Outdoor Fun with Your Little this Season

Summer may be over, but outdoor fun with your Little doesn’t have to be! Throw on a sweater and check out these fun, low-cost activities in Central Minnesota.

1. Get Lost in a Corn Maze

St. Joseph’s A and G produce offers a 13-acre daytime corn maze sprinkled with fun trivia questions. Or visit Delano’s Apple Jack Orchards, for one of the area’s budget-friendliest mazes, at just $6. For the more thrill-seeking Littles (older ages suggested) check out the Harvest of Horror trail in St. Augusta, open every weekend in October.

2. Spend the Day in an Apple Orchard

There’s no shortage of orchards in Central Minnesota. Spend as much or as little as you want – you pay for what you pick! Fairhaven Farm in tiny South Haven (near Kimball) sits on 50 acres. In fall, the farm has a pumpkin patch and horse-drawn hay rides, as well as famously yummy apple pies. For a simpler apple orchard experience, try J.Q. Fruit Farm and Orchard in Princeton, where you can pick your own apples, try fresh cider, and tour the farm.

3. Make Some Furry Friends at a Petting Zoo

If you don’t have a hobby farm in the family, a petting zoo is the next best thing. You may know Collegeville Orchards for its apples, but the orchard also has a small petting zoo with friendly goats, sheep, alpacas, rabbits, and horses. Or pay just $8.50 per person to see an even larger variety of animals at Erickson’s Petting Zoo in Osakis.

4. Carve a Pumpkin Together.

You can pick one out at Nelson Family Farm in Litchfield, which hosts a “pumpkin festival” each weekend through Oct. 28th. For a classic pumpkin patch experience, head to Grandpa’s Pumpkin Patch in St. Cloud.

5. Soak in the Fall Colors at a Local Park or Hiking Trail

Lake Wobegon Trail covers 60 miles from Osakis to St. Joseph. Or drive just 30 minutes north of St. Cloud to visit the nearest state park, Charles A. Lindbergh, along the Mississippi. Before you decide on a park, check the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ Fall Color Finder for optimal colors.

Looking for more fun with your Little this fall? Check out our Top Ten One-Hour Fall Activities list from 2015.

Don’t have a Little? Why not! Fall is a great time to get involved. Visit for more information.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Want to Have a BIG Impact On The Life of A Child? BBBS Is Looking For Volunteers!

Are you looking for a way to volunteer? Want to give back to the community that raised you up? Hoping to make a difference in the lives of local children? Big Brothers Big Sisters is the perfect opportunity for you. Join us and be a Big in the life of a Little today!

What Is a Big?

Any teen or adult hoping to volunteer to impact the lives of children can be a Big. You are paired with a Little to form a special relationship in that child's life. You must be older than a freshman in their second semester or trimester of high school and you must provide your own transportation.

What Does a Big Do?

Bigs spend about an hour a week with their Little enjoying activities like sports, board games, helping with homework, arts and crafts, or hanging out at the school's playground. The main purpose of the Big is to be a positive influence and role model in the Little's life. As the older person in the relationship, you'll be able to provide invaluable advice and guidance to your Little.

Why Be A Big?

Being a Big to someone in Big Brothers Big Sisters will give you personal fulfillment and happiness. There is no joy quite like making a child's life better! As a Big, you will be eligible to participate in our college and career readiness activities which include: college visits, college workshops, career nights and scholarship opportunities. Service and volunteering also makes a great resume boost, college application highlight, or job interview plus. There are so many reasons to become a Big, try it out and you will see!

Big Brothers Big Sisters needs your help these children grow up to be something BIG – just like you! Please click here to sign up to volunteer.