A Virtual Summer


I started a new ritual in March of this year. Every Sunday, I delete the events, appointments, and activities on our calendar; as yet again in-person classes, workshops, and enrichment options for my kids get canceled. This delete-as-we-go ritual became particularly hard as we moved into summer. Summer camp? Gone. Trips? Canceled. Tennis, swimming lessons, music, and Ultimate Frisbee? Not happening.

As I watch the summer stretch ahead of us unfilled and endless, I have discovered a few options that just may get us through the next few months.

  • Wilderness Inquiry: a local nonprofit that makes outdoor adventures accessible to all abilities. We have gone on three of their family adventures (Voyageurs, Yellowstone, and Glacier National Parks). They truly engage kids, regardless of their age, neuro makeup, or physical ability. So when I saw this virtual summer camp offering in partnership with National Park Service, I signed my kid up immediately.
  • National Parks: Have I mentioned that I’ve got a thing for our National Parks? Our local one – Mississippi River National Park – has been hosting twice-weekly Coffee with a Ranger on Facebook. It’s a great diversion and inspired us to go explore those parks that are right here in our own backyard. Search for your local National Park. I’m sure others are doing virtual Ranger Talks, too.
  • Bell Museum: Through their website, they are hosting a series of virtual events. Our favorites so far were Micrometeorite Hunter and Minnesota Night Skies Live.
  • Varsity Tutors: A terrific menu of week-long summer camps for any interest and age level. Most are free but some have a small fee. Right now, one of my kids is enjoying the Brain Body Balance class. We are all learning some new ways to move our bodies.

Nothing replaces sharing space with one another or going off to summer camp, but the one good thing to come out of this virtual summer? I spend a lot less time in my car. Time that is better spent in my garden.

Author: Shannon

Shannon parents a son on the spectrum, lives in MN and writes to stay sane. She is passionate about connecting families to the services that will transform their lives. Read her full bio here.

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