Thursday, December 29, 2016

Defeating the Post-Holiday Lull with Your Little

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When the holiday season comes to a close, it can be pretty disappointing to some kids. The weather is still cold, summer is months away, and it seems like there is nothing fun to do. We blogged in November about Winter fun focusing around the holidays: building a fire, making decorations, and finding ways to give back to your community. Those are all still relevant after the giving season, but what about some good old fashioned Minnesota Winter fun? We’ve made a list of some fun indoor and outdoor winter activities to enjoy with your Little:

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Image by Wheresmysocks at English Wikipedia via Wikimedia Commons

Attend a Winter Festival

If you and your Little are up for a road trip, there are tons of winter festivals going on around the state. The always popular St. Paul Winter Carnival takes place January 26th-February 5th, celebrating its 131st year! If you’ve never seen Minnesota’s ugliest fish, you might find some surprising fun at the International Eelpout Festival February 23-26th. Taking place on Leech Lake in Walker, MN, this unique festival will surely be a talking point for you and your Little! Check out Minnesota Native Andrew Zimmern’s favorite winter festivals for more inspiration.


Check out Arrowwood Resort in Alexandria

Voted 2016’s best family resort and waterpark, Arrowwood Resort in Alexandria, Minnesota features 38,000 square feet of indoor water park fun. It includes three four-story water slides, a lazy river, a hot tub, and tons of water-related activities for your Little. View the full waterpark calendar here. For the older kids, rent a snowmobile or cross-country skis, ice skate, ice fish, or go sledding! There are tons of winter recreational activities at this all-inclusive site.



Attend a Hockey Game

Sure, the Minnesota Wild are always crowd-pleasers, but tickets are expensive and the trip to the stadium can be long and inconvenient. There are plenty of fun and exciting teams to watch right around central Minnesota this winter. The St. Cloud State Huskies are always fun to watch, and the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center is a sight to behold for the area. In the NA3HL league, check out the Granite City Lumberjacks, who play in Sports Arena East at the Benton County Fairgrounds.


Area Fun Closer to Home

If you’re looking for something a little closer to home, check out funforkidsmn.com. There you’ll find fun ideas such as open skate times at the St. Cloud Municipal Athletic Complex, Playtime at Lake George Municipal Complex, KinderGym at the Whitney Senior Center, Open Gym at the North Crest Kids Activity Center in Sauk Rapids, and many more fun activities for winter and beyond!


There are tons of fun activities for you and your little this Winter. Keep away the post-holiday blues by having even more fun! After all, the Holidays aren’t the only thing that makes the season bright.


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Not All Superheroes Wear Capes

Seeing Dave Fritz walk down the street probably wouldn’t concern you unless you know him. If you did, you’d probably say hello and he’d smile. If you didn’t, he’d say hello and you’d smile. He’s a guy that has that effect on people. You’ll leave his company feeling better about your day, completely unaware that that is his superpower; making people happy.

You’d also be completely unaware that underneath his sweatshirt and jeans, he’s wearing a cape and there’s a large “B” on his chest that stands for “BIG”. Dave Fritz, family man, business owner, Big Brother.
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For those that aren’t aware of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, it is, as Dave says, “a really cool opportunity” both for the mentee and the mentor. “I came to the program thinking, ‘This kid can learn a lot from me.’, but I found that’s not the case. I have learned just as much from him as he has from me.” says Fritz.

“I’ve been a BIG to Jaylen for 5 ½ years. At when we were first paired together we would spend between two and five hours together once a week. Now that he’s older and working a job of his own, and we (Dave and his wife) have a new baby, we don’t see each other as often as we’d like, but I make it a point to get together a couple of times a month.”

Fritz is just one of the men in the Central Minnesota area to volunteer his time to make a difference in a child’s life, but the need is much greater than one man can handle on his own. Nearly 70% of all children on the Big Brothers Big Sisters waiting list are boys and, unfortunately, wait an average of 304 days before getting matched with a BIG. It’s time to Man Up, Minnesota.

“He’s definitely pushed my coward button, though. We went to the pet store one day when Jaylen was about 11 and he wanted to hold the tarantula. He looked at me with the tarantula in his hand and asked me if I wanted to hold it. How am I, a 30-year-old man at the time, going to say no to an 11-year-old boy holding a tarantula in his hand? He’s made me ride rides at Valleyfair and jump off the cliffs at the quarries.”

Fritz, an avid baseball fan, has taken his Little to Twins games, Mall of America, movies, golfing and bowling among many other adventures. “My favorite memory with Jaylen was taking him to my family’s cabin. It was an opportunity to teach him a bit more about my family history.”

It’s not all about going out to do things, though. Many Littles would be happy spending time with you at your home or theirs. Fritz said that Jaylen has helped them put in their garden in the summer.

“Kids are smarter than you think. When it comes to kids you’ve got to keep your wits about you. They’re going to push you. Find out what they can get away with and what their boundaries are. You’re going to have to come up with new ways to communicate and still get through to them.  Jaylen has taught me patience and that has transferred to my work. He’s taught me how to be a better worker.”

All at 16 years old. How cool is that?



For more information about becoming a mentor and how you can Man Up, visit Doalotforalittle.org or contact Rachel Johnson at 320-258-4537.