The summer is here, and our Cool Off Days program is in full swing! We are thrilled to welcome more than 80 (K-8) youth to our five-week program including 15 new youth friends.

Activities do vary a bit between the grade levels. In our SOAR middle school program, youth will focus of career exploration. Youth dabble at coding, writing graphic novels & comics, conceptualizing architecture, and adventuring as a naturalist. Thursdays are field trip outings. SOAR youth will visit multiple water parks, the Science Museum, and the Walker Art Museum.

“Ugh, why do we have to stop now? I want to keep going.” –2022 SOAR youth said at the end of the first day of the electronics project

Our K-5 youth will love our themes and activities, especially our one week wrapped in a Pokeman bow! (a favorite Banyan youth topic) Other weeks will explore ocean animals, bugs, and our five senses. Throughout the five-weeks there will be a number of guest presenters coming in from Articulture, Dodge Nature Center, The Works, and the MN Police Department just to name a few. Every Thursday, the youth will have a chance to participate in field trips to water parks, lakes, and destination playgrounds.

“My favorite part about summer Banyan is going to the water parks” – Esther 2022

Cool Off Days also provides an excellent avenue for honing the existing leadership skills of our Program Assistants. These part-time staff can be high school and college students who will take a more defined role in the development of Banyan youth. This year we are welcoming five youth to this paid position and one additional high school volunteer.

There will be endless opportunities for fun, learning, and experiencing new things over the next 23 days of programming! We are grateful for your support in ensuring Banyan can continue to offer these enriching resources to the neighborhood.