By Carlie Boswell, Enrollment and Match Coordinator
When paired with a Big Brother, Big Sister or Big Couple in our program, youth in the community get to experience things that they might not normally have the opportunity to enjoy. Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Community-Based Mentoring program allows youth to go beyond just their home and school to realize their full potential. January is National Mentoring Month. If you are considering becoming a Big or are already a Big, here are ten activities that you can do with your Little:
- Historical Omaha Only Sites: Almost every Big talks about wanting to explore Omaha with a Little, what better way to do so by learning about Omaha’s history? Visit the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, Joslyn Castle, Florence Mill, Mormon Trail Center, the Boys Town Campus, Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Visitor Center, and tons more.
- Mahoney State Park’s Venture Club Climbing Wall: Test out your strength and see who can get to the top first! $11 for adults, $10 for 12 and under, and you get an awesome afternoon to enjoy together and learn a new skill. This activity does require a high-risk activity permission form to be submitted to BBBS beforehand. (http://outdoornebraska.gov/mahoney/)
- Parks are Everywhere!: Often overlooked, a simple visit to a park is a great outing for a Little and Big. Parks around the area offer courts for basketball, sand volleyball, tennis, Frisbee golf courses, walking trails, and picnic areas. Parks are only as boring as you are!
- El Museo Latino: Explore the highlights of Latino artists. Throughout the year you can see gallery exhibits, attend educational programs, art classes, and have guided visits. For a small admission cost, you and your Little get to discover so much! (http://elmuseolatino.org/)
- Shopping Centers: Take advantage of the many shopping areas in the Omaha area, Nebraska Crossing, Oakview, Westroads, Shadow Lake, and Village Pointe. Shopping is not needed, instead take the time to window shop or “people watch.” You’ll be surprised at what topics simply walking around will raise!
- Do Space: For the Bigs and Littles that are more interested in the tech world, visit this free technology library! They have a 3D lab, computer lab, and an active learning lab. There is a huge list of activities you can do here, you’ll need to visit multiple times! (https://www.dospace.org/)
- Great Plains Black History Museum: Take a free tour at this local museum to learn about the region’s vibrant African-American heritage. Visit with the staff and learn more about regional and national African-American history. If you are interested in local history, you will want to visit with the staff for hours! (https://gpblackhistorymuseum.org/)
- Lauritzen Gardens: If you have a green thumb or are just craving greenery during the cold months, visit this location. $7 for adults, $3 for ages 6 to 12; and you can see several different gardens and exhibits. There are also free passes available at the Omaha Public Library. (https://www.lauritzengardens.org/)
- Farmers Markets: May to October, different neighborhoods in the area offer Farmers Markets. Bellevue, Aksarben, Old Market, Council Bluffs, Benson, and more have a long row of local vendors to check out. You can try the best foods all in one area! (https://familyfuninomaha.com/omaha-area-farmers-markets/)
- Get Your Pets Involved: As pet-parents we know how hard it is to leave our pooches at home. Let your dog get to know your Little too. Visit a dog park and let your dog and Little have some fun! You can visit Hefflinger, Beardmore Freedom, or Jewell Dog Park.