In its 10 years of existence, They're Our Kids has gone through several transformations in an attempt to make it easier for Villagers to find the information that they're looking for on the website.
I've collected information on so many resources available to Hendricks County parents over the years, however, that it's become pretty unwieldy and cumbersome to list them all in the way I've been listing them.
It's also incredibly difficult for me to keep all of the buttons on TOK up-to-date. Websites change, organizations come and go, and just as I get one page cleaned up on TOK, another one turns up several dead links.
So to solve the problems of Villagers having difficulty finding what they're looking for, as well as links going dead, They're Our Kids unveils its new membership program for businesses, organizations, sports leagues and other entities that serve the children of Hendricks County!
We continue exploring Hendricks County youth sports programs currently open for registration.
(For youth soccer programs, click here.)
(For youth flag football programs, click here.)
(For youth baseball programs, click here.)
In today's installment, we take a look at Hendricks County youth running programs that are open for registration.
GUEST BLOGGER BETH CRAWFORD
For the first time, on Friday 1/9/15, we loaded up my son’s BMX bike in the backseat and rolled out to find the Awakening Youth Skatepark at The Blended Church, 2215 Country Club Rd. Just barely across the Marion County line, many Hendricks County BMX and skateboard riders began streaming in to take advantage of the ramps set up once a month by youth pastor Jeremy Plumley.
His enthusiasm for the youth who ride BMX and skateboarders has led him to work to get the gym/recreation area of his church transformed into a skatepark to provide free riding from 6pm-12 on the 2nd Friday of every month. With a stage for a band, ping-pong table, foosball tables and bleachers for spectators, the gymnasium area transforms into the skatepark that gives otherwise cooped up teens and young adults a place to ride while temps outside make it impossible.
The LEGO® KidsFest is in Indianapolis this weekend, and regardless of how old your kids are, you don't want to miss it. We attended the Friday session with our kids, and it was a smashing success.
This massive LEGO extravaganza is held at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis this weekend over the course of five sessions that last 4.5 hours a piece. Be aware that both Saturday (Nov. 8) sessions are already sold out, as is the first session on Sunday (Nov. 9).
There is limited availability left for the second session on Sunday, Nov. 9, from 3 to 7:30 p.m., but you'll want to click here to purchase your tickets RIGHT NOW!
The LEGO KidsFest brings thousands of LEGO fans of all ages together for an amazing interactive experience.
We have a winner in our LEGO® KidsFest ticket giveaway!
Congratulations to Theresa Hatfield of Avon! She just won two (2) tickets to the Nov. 7 session of the LEGO KidsFest in Indianapolis from They're Our Kids!
Do you have your tickets yet? One session is already at limited availability, so hurry and click here to purchase your tickets!
If you have a kid who loves imagining and building with LEGO® blocks, or if you're an oversized kid like me who has never outgrown a love of LEGO blocks, you'll be interested to know that LEGO KidsFest 2014 is coming to the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis for the first time ever on Nov. 7-9.
In conjunction with this interactive celebration of LEGO awesomeness, They're Our Kids is giving away a pair of tickets to the opening session of LEGO KidsFest to one lucky Villager!
Have you ever watched "The Amazing Race" on TV and thought to yourself, "That would be fun to do!"? On June 7, you and your family have the opportunity to participate in CityQuest -- an event in Downtown Indianapolis that is very similar in concept to the popular television show, but with a few major twists.
CityQuest is a 5K urban adventure fun run dreamed up by Hendricks County residents (and Villagers!) Steve and Joni Kisner.
This isn't the Kisners' first rodeo when it comes to planning race events. They are also behind Danville's popular Mud Soap Run (which will be held July 26).
The premise of CityQuest is similar to that of "The Amazing Race" in that contestants travel from one destination to another and complete challenging tasks at each checkpoint.
CityQuest is different, however, because the entire race takes place within Downtown Indianapolis, stretching from White River State Park to Monument Circle and the surrounding areas. It's also different in that it's family-friendly and it gives back to the community.
While contestants can choose to complete the course as quickly as possible, families are strongly encouraged to navigate CityQuest at their own pace, making lasting memories together as they complete fun and silly challenges.
I had the opportunity to sit down with cofounder Joni Kisner recently and talk to her about CityQuest.
She said that she and her husband, Steve, have participated in urban fun runs in other cities, but the events weren't family-friendly, leaving the kids bored or excluded altogether.
The events were also planned by organizations outside of and unfamiliar with the host city, often resulting in confusing clues that left contestants lost.
Having grown up in Indianapolis, the Kisners decided to take the urban fun run concept that they enjoyed and improve upon it.
They're sending contestants to the coolest parts of their home city, they're making navigation to checkpoints simple and easy, and they're specifically designing quests to include the entire family.
Best of all, they're allowing registrants to choose from a list of beneficiaries -- including Rupert's Kids, The Wounded Warrior Project, Maeci & Gracie Give Back Foundation, and Share Our Strength -- to which CityQuest will donate 20 percent of their registration fee.
During CityQuest, getting to the checkpoints isn't the challenge. It's getting out of the checkpoints that will require some family bonding ... and a whole lot of laughter.
"Families bond when they have fun and laugh together," said Joni, and the primary goal of CityQuest is to provide lasting memories and strengthen family bonds.
Contestants are encouraged to wear costumes -- there will be a costume contest, in fact -- as they navigate the 12-15 quests throughout the course.
Racers will begin with a passport that sends them to their first checkpoint, but teams enter the course at a variety of locations and travel in a variety of directions so that racers don't get bogged down by human traffic at any particular station.
As contestants complete each quest, their passport leads them around Downtown Indy to the finish line. Joni said that she anticipates the event taking leisurely contestants about two or three hours to complete.
It's part scavenger hunt, part photo opportunity (bring the camera!), part adventure, part exploration, and a heaping helping of goofy family fun.
As the "disclaimer" on the CityQuest website warns, "CityQuest is only for those who want to have fun. In order to preserve the happiness of the event, Party Poopers, Stick-in-the-muds, Fuddy Duddies or Nay Sayers should stay home. Thank you."
Fuddy Duddies and the like: consider yourself warned!
CityQuest is a rain-or-shine event, so make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes, pack plenty of drinking water and dress for the weather.
While I had Joni's attention, I tried to convince her to give me some inside scoop as to what some of the quests will be in CityQuest. She was coy, though, not wanting to spoil the fun surprises that await contestants.
Since Wheel Fun Rentals and Rocket Fizz are already listed on the website as sponsors, I guessed that challenges involving pedal boats, gondolas, bicycles or Surreys will be involved, along with quests that have something to do with soda pop or candy.
Since it's family-friendly, I'm guessing that there won't be any quests involving wrestling mountain lions, juggling chainsaws or rappelling down the Chase Tower.
Joni confirmed the family-friendliness, but otherwise would only smile, leaving me and my family to discover the quests for ourselves on June 7.
(All photos courtesy of CityQuest's Facebook page.)
I got tired of staring at the boring ol' "Blog" title at the top of this blog. The blog needed a name and some personality -- something that embraces what They're Our Kids is all about.
Welcome, then, to The Village.
To paraphrase an African proverb, it takes a village to raise OUR KIDS. It has long been a belief of mine that no one can effectively raise a child on their own. It takes family, friends, neighbors, teachers, coaches and other role models.
It takes an entire community.
It takes an entire community because we all have different talents, interests, areas of expertise and life experiences to share. OUR KIDS' lives are exponentially enriched by all of the villagers around them because OUR KIDS observe and learn from everyone with whom they have contact.
OUR KIDS are exposed to new things and exciting adventures when an entire village takes an interest in their development. They're kept safe and out of trouble when an entire village keeps an eye on them. And ultimately, the village benefits when OUR KIDS grow up and become contributing villagers themselves.
This is the premise around which They're Our Kids is built. We're all members of a community, and each child in that community is one of OUR KIDS.
I envision They're Our Kids as an online village where we can all come together in one spot and learn about our schools, local events and other community resources that assist us in raising OUR KIDS. The more villagers we have seeking and sharing resources and experiences, the better.
Now that we have our Village, we need Villagers.
Note the capital 'V' in Villagers. We're not talking about run-of-the-mill villagers now. We're talking about the special, dedicated Villagers who cherish OUR KIDS.
Our Villagers buy into the philosophy that it takes a special, dedicated Village to raise OUR KIDS, and that the more Villagers we have seeking and sharing resources and experiences, the better for all of us.
Our Villagers are those who subscribe to our blog (note the new feature in the right-hand column of this blog and on our home page), who spread the word about They're Our Kids and this blog to their friends and family, who "like" and share and actively participate on our Facebook page, who follow us on Twitter.
Our Villagers offer suggestions for additions to the They're Our Kids website, share kid-related resources that they find helpful so that those resources can be added to the site, and share family-friendly events in the area that they'd like other Villagers to know about.
Got some writing skills (don't worry...you don't have to be perfect -- or anywhere close to it) and a story to share with other Villagers about your experiences as a parent or something fun that you did with your kids? Contact me about submitting a guest blog entry! I'd love to read about your experiences, and I'm sure other Villagers would, too.
(Unfortunately, I cannot offer monetary compensation for guest bloggers. I don't get paid to do this, either.)
I've already had some Villagers alert me to Easter Egg hunts in Hendricks County that I didn't know about, special needs resources that they value for their own special needs kids, youth sports leagues that I didn't know existed (did you know that there's a youth LACROSSE league in Brownsburg?!), and suggestions for pages on local service clubs and local media and publications.
I LOVE the extra eyes and ears, and I want all the Villagers I can get! Together, we can cover Hendricks County like a blanket and make our Village an invaluable resource for parents in the area, as well as for parents who want to learn more about our area.
And OUR KIDS are going to be the ones who benefit.
Will you please become a Villager?
One of my favorite Christmas activities is to drive around and look at Christmas light displays. Nothing's worse, though, than driving around with a minivan full of excited kids, unable to find any lights.
Fortunately, I have a couple of friends who have found light displays in Hendricks County and in Indianapolis. No sense in me reinventing the wheel, so here's where you can find their lists:
Visit Hendricks County blogger Amanda Miller found these five holiday light displays in Hendricks County.
For light displays in Indianapolis, look no further than one of my favorite blogs, Indy With Kids. Here's their frequently-updated Indianapolis Christmas lights list.
The White Christmas at 935 Grayson Trail in Brownsburg is not in operation this year. On The White Christmas Facebook page, the homeowner cites time constraints but hopes to have the display up for Christmas in 2014.
As I stumble across light displays on my own, I'll add them here. And if you know of any, feel free to comment below!
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