5 Things for Families

Things sure are different for tweens now than when I was a tween. For instance, the word tween didn’t exist. In fact, I thought “tween” was the word for when you link up your Twitter with your Instagram account. What I’m saying is, get off the computers and go outside.

1. HandsOn Greater Richmond’s TeenImpact

The “the summer where everything changed” may only happen in books, so have a summer where you are the change (that’s how that Gandhi quote goes, right?). HandsOn Greater Richmond is accepting applications for four sessions of its week-long service-learning program for teens age 12-15. The focus this summer will be on urban agriculture, healthy eating, and hunger issues, and the activities include learning about the farm-to-table themes with different nonprofit organizations and working on projects dedicated to those issues.

Check out HandsOn Greater Richmond’s website for other volunteer opportunities throughout the summer.

  • Application deadline is Friday, June 7th • 5:00 PM
  • $50 per week, but fee may be waived for hardship

2. First Friday Samplers

Amp up your First Friday experience by making the art you want to see (that is…not a Gandhi quote). The Visual Arts Center of Richmond offers workshops to make your own personalized art, including letterpress (ages 15 and up), wheel throwing (glaze and fire your own pottery, ages 12 and up), and Raku (Japanese pottery firing). Or just enjoy dinner from one of the food trucks and stare at other people as they create things.

  • Friday, June 7th • 6:30 – 8:30 PM
  • Visual Arts Center of Richmond, 1812 W. Main Street
  • $5-15 per activity

3. Special Olympics Summer Games – Volunteer 2 Cheer

Get your summer Olympics fix by watching the best of Virginia’s athletes compete in sports including softball, bowling, aquatics, track and field, and powerlifting. The events are open to volunteers to cheer on the athletes–all ages are welcome. Check out the website for event times and locations (some take place off the University of Richmond campus). The opening ceremony, which features a torch run and the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron, will be at UR’s Robins Center at 7:30 PM on Friday, June 7.

  • Friday, June 7th and Saturday, June 8th,
  • University of Richmond, 23A Boatwright Drive
  • Free

4. Jammin’ on the James

Richmonder Rebecca Frazier and her group Hit & Run play bluegrass on the grounds of the historic Wilton House, which overlooks the James River. As if music, a beautiful location, and a complimentary tour of Wilton are not enough, there will also be activities for the kids, including crafts, games, and face painting.

  • Saturday, June 8th • 6:00 – 8:00 PM
  • Wilton House Museum, 215 South Wilton Street
  • Free

5. Flat water kayak rides with Riverside Outfitters

I ran the Stratford Hills 8k this past weekend, and as I enjoyed the amazing, quiet view of the river I thought “I should mention this in 5 Things for Families so that everyone knows that I ran an 8k and possibly be impressed by that.” Then I thought about how I take the river for granted. I know it’s a great and beautiful treasure, but I hung out at Pony Pasture all the time as a child, and at Belle Isle as a teen, and later as an adult terrified that someone would cat call and then throw beers cans at me. So I want to shake my old impression of the river and explore it again as was intended: by clinging onto the sides of some sort of watercraft while an outdoorsy person tries to convince me I’m not going to die (I have a lot of river-related fears).

Riverside Outfitters, operating daily through Labor Day, offers guided boating trips, including a flat water kayak ride that is open to riders as young as eight, though you have to be at least 10 to paddle, and all participants need to know how to swim. The two-hour ride provides opportunities to see wildlife, possibly eagles (not the injured, Maymont-kind–the REAL kind), and take detours to different parts of the river. And if you don’t need the guide, you can rent the equipment and take advantage of the shuttle between 10:00 AM and 6:00 PM.

  • Guided kayak trips go out at 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM (reservations required)
  • Riverside Outfitters, 6836 Old Westham Road
  • $50 to $55

Photo by: ohad*

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Kelly Gerow

Kelly Gerow lives and writes in Richmond. She probably does other stuff in Richmond, too.

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