Friday, May 18, 2012

June means school's out

Here’s my plan of attack against the “I’m boreds”
By Anne Hassler CVB Director
Like a ninja ready for battle, I’ve done my research to combat the inevitable chorus of “I’m bored…” that emanates from my kids right around the end of May.
It’s a five-pronged approach:
Community Activities This town has never been short on kid-friendly activities. Case in point: the McPherson Opera House is hosting a free children’s show “Billy Goats Gruff” performed by the Wichita Children’s Theatre at 9:30 and 11 a.m. Sat., June 9. The McPherson CVB will host five free movies in the park this summer: The Muppets, June 2; Pride of the Yankees, July 7; Enchanted, July 21; Back to the Future, Aug. 4 and Local Hero, Sept. 21 at Lakeside Park San Romani band shell. The CVB will also host the Basketball Traditions Celebration Aug. 10-11. Kids’ games, alumni scrimmage and slam-dunk entertainment will rock the Roundhouse once again. The McPherson Museum and Arts Foundation will host its Summer Music Series. Live music is scheduled every other Friday beginning June 22 at the band shell. Look for a full schedule soon.
While some parents have their kids wrapped up in competitive traveling teams (and more power to them), I just try to get my kids to part company with the couch whenever I can. We have a fine rec league offered through the McPherson Recreation Commission for soccer, baseball and softball. I also insist my kids make regular excursions to the McPherson Water Park and take swim lessons or compete on the swim team. My family is getting to be a regular fixture at Starlite Lanes on Friday nights where you can bowl for $8/person for two hours.
My biggest fear is that my children’s brains will turn to mush over the summer from too much exposure to video games and not enough social interaction. So I try to pick at least one camp for them to attend each summer. My favorite local camp is Camp Invention (July 16-20 at St. Joseph Catholic School). They have a great scholarship program and my kids are really engaged by the activities. Be warned though, my youngest now thinks he is qualified to disassemble most small appliances. Another science-y camp I’ve found that won’t break the budget is the Kansas Starbase summer academies in Salina and Wichita. Kids learn about the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields at this free camp funded by the Department of Defense.
Thankfully we live in a town that’s blessed with a first-rate public library. The McPherson Public Library has great children’s activities year-round but I’m particularly excited about this summer’s “Dream Big … Read!” reading program kick-off June 1. The list of activities for the kick-off which runs from 5:30-10:30 p.m. in Wickersham Park is extensive (let me just say free hot dogs and the Cosmosphere is bringing a telescope) so go online to check it out. But the fun doesn’t end with the kick-off. Thad Beach and Dan Dan the Magic Man will perform at the library this summer as well.
Paid Entertainment
The list of festivals and concerts in Central Kansas is long but my favorite festivals always seem to cluster around the month of June. The Wichita River Fest is June 1-9 and a $5 button will get you into most events. Listening to the Wichita Symphony play Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture and watching fireworks on the bank of the banks of the Arkansas River is well worth the price. We plan to see the geektastic “Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination” at Exploration Place during River Fest and save some money with our buttons ( My favorite art festival is held June 7-10 in Salina. The Smoky Hill River Festival was a pleasant surprise the first time I went with its giant sand sculpture, ribbon-wrapped trees and kid-friendly entertainment. Buttons are $10 and there are some very unique, make-and-take, hands-on art activities you don’t find at most large-scale festivals.
Whatever your summer has in store for you, I hope it’s filled with memorable moments.