Family Time: Authors conference gives kids the write stuff

Lindy Lange

If you like to write, draw, or create, the Southeast Service Cooperative's Young Authors, Young Artists conference may be just your thing.

Taught by professional illustrators, writers, and artists, the annual one-day workshop introduces fourth through sixth graders to a variety of artistic approaches through 15 hands-on classes with titles that include Candy Shop, Dance Fusion, and Try Not to Scream.

"We've been blessed to have so many great presenters," said Katie Sue Cunningham, SSC program coordinator. "Our hope is that this provides students with an opportunity to participate in an activity they don't get to do in their normal daily classroom and that it generates student enthusiasm for the arts."

In addition to longtime favorites like bookmaking, watercolors, and poetry, this year's YAYA has expanded its offerings to include classes on songwriting, sculpting, and dance. Over the course of the day, students will have the opportunity to make hand-tinted photographs, design a book cover, and rewrite classic fairy tales.

"This year we really wanted to expand our offerings to all areas of creativity," Cunningham said. "We've added a few new classes and a few new presenters. For students who are interested in these creative outlets, there's really something for everyone."


Traditionally, public and private school students register for YAYA through their school and attend with a group of students and chaperones from their school. However, YAYA also welcomes registrations from individual students and homeschoolers.

YAYA registration information is available online and includes a printable registration form as well as a short description of each YAYA class and bio of each presenter.

"We usually get about 800 students from 40 area schools," Cunningham said. "This year, because of construction at RCTC, we're going to have to scale that back a bit, to about 750 students. Our hope is that since we have to limit class sizes this year, we'll be able to expand to three days next year. We'll follow the same format, just be able to offer the program to more kids."

If you are uncertain if your school is planning to attend, Cunningham recommends contacting the school. Early-bird registration is $47 per student and must be postmarked by April 18. After April 18, cost is $52. Final deadline for all registrations is May 2. Chaperones are free.

What:Young Authors, Young Artists Conference

Where:Heintz Center, 1926 Collegeview Drive S.E.

When:8:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. May 20- 21



On the web:

More SSC scoop

• The Southeast Service Cooperative offers a YAYA for older students, too. The 4th Annual Young Authors, Young Artists Middle School Conference will be held Nov. 14, and will be open to students in grades 7 and 8. Go online to check out conference details and participant comments from past conferences.

• If science and nature are more your student's thing, check out SSC's Science & Nature Conference. Open to students in grades 2 through 4, students participate in one-hour sessions that get kids thinking about the science behind things like acid-base rainbows, volcanic eruptions, and angry bird catapults. Visit the SSC website for more information on the Nov. 7 conference.

• Sign up for your school's Senior High or Junior High Knowledge Bowl program. With more than 100 senior high teams in southeast Minnesota, teams compete against each other answering Jeopardy-type questions. Teams have the opportunity to advance to sub-regional, regional and state competitions. Find out more at the SSC website.


Give a hoot

Learn more about Strigiformes at Oxbow Park's All About Owls program, starting at 1 p.m. Saturday. Families will meet in Zollman Zoo's Nature Center, where staff will show off the zoo's live owls and talk about where owls live in southeast Minnesota and your best chance of seeing one in the wild. Free. No registration. Call 507-775-2451 for more information.


Need to know more?Zollman Zoo, 5731 County Road 105 N.W., Byron, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The zoo houses more than 30 species of wild animals native to Minnesota, including otters, wolf, cougar and fishers. Admission is always free, donations are always welcome. Go online, , to find out more.


Cool wheels

Getting there is half the fun on the Quarry Hill Nature Center Dinosaur Exhibit Trolley. Families board the trolley at ABC & Toy Zone in the Miracle Mile Shopping Center, then they're off for a fun-filled, dino-themed ride complete with dinosaur songs and trivia. At Quarry Hill, families will have plenty of time to explore the Hatching the Past: Dinosaur Eggs & Babies exhibit's replicas of dinosaur babies and eggs, a life-size Pteranadon, and dinosaur dig table. Cost is $9 per person. The trolley is wheelchair and stroller accessible. Trips available at 9:45 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. Thursday, 3:45 p.m. Monday, and 9:45 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. April 3. Reservations required. Book your ticket online, , or by phone, 507-421-0573.


Get crafty

Make it and take it at New Life Worship Center's Loom-a-Palooza, 6301 34th Ave. N.W. In the event, held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 12, family members of all ages are invited to come and go, learning how to make a variety of Rainbow Loom bracelets. The event is free and open to the community. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Participants are asked to bring their bands and looms. Limited supplies available for purchase. A pizza lunch will be available for purchase. Call 507-226-1616 or visit for more information.



Plans? What plans?

Make plans to spend spring break at The Y. Held 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 31 through April 4, with extended care hours available, kids in kindergarten through 12th grade can spend the entire week or just one day at one of The Y's three spring break camps: Adventure Week, Lego Robotics, Leaders in Training. All three options include opportunities to swim, play games, and spend time with friends. Week-long options start at $45, with daily rates starting at $30. Call 507-287-2260 to save your son or daughter's spot.

Is there more?The Rochester Area Family Y offers a variety of summer camps for kids ages 3 and older. Camp options include dance, theater, horseback riding, basketball, football, pottery, photography and more. Weeklong and day rates available. Financial assistance available. Visit The Y's website, , and click on Summer Camps to check out a complete list of camps, dates and times, and registration information.

Lindy Lange is editor of .Up next: It's time for a little spring cleaning, time for A Litter Bit Better.

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