SOUCHERAY: MEA weekend is a much needed break for allNext week marks one of the most coveted long weekends of the year for many families.
By: Kate Soucheray, Columnist, Woodbury Bulletin
Next week marks one of the most coveted long weekends of the year for many families. It is the wonderful, four-day break of MEA, a symposium for teachers, conducted by the Minnesota Education Association. It is a time for teachers to gather at a convention center, gain new insights by taking classes, meeting with colleagues, and picking up lots of new materials for their classrooms.
It is also the first real break students have since school started. It almost seems like it sneaks up on us – that glorious four day break in the fall, when we can sleep in, plan a fun outing with our family or friends, and kick back a bit. I have always seen MEA as a marking point. Once we reach that weekend, we are well underway in school and can take a breath. I think it must give teachers a well-needed breath, as well.
With this long weekend break, a family could plan something fun. It may be nice to put the plan to paper, so that once the weekend is over and you are resting up on Sunday to prepare for the week ahead, you can look back and think about the great time you had.
A family could plan a trip to Duluth to see the ships, enjoy some of the North Shore, complete with Betty’s Pies and Grandma’s restaurant, and swim in one of the fantastic hotel pools designed for just this purpose.
You could also take day trips around the Twin Cities. You could start by visiting the Mall of America, take in a movie and have lunch at the food court. One time, I went out to the MOA a week early and set up a scavenger hunt for our daughter’s birthday. The next Saturday, her friends split up into groups and, accompanied by a parent, searched through all the levels of shops and stores as they hunted down the prized items. It is the one birthday party that continues to be remembered as one of the best parties ever.
You could also go to a roller rink and put on a pair of skates for the first time in thirty years, skate to the music and the strobe light, and eat pizza with your kids. It is dark and you probably would need to be careful not to fall, but most kids love a day at the rink.
You could take a trip to see the new stadiums in the Twin Cities. A visit to the University of Minnesota and then downtown Minneapolis to see Target Field would be fun for your sport enthusiast youngsters. We did just such a tour last year during our spring break. At first, I wasn’t very excited about the tour, while my husband and sons thought it would be great. In the end, I think I had as much fun as they did. The view of Target Field from the skyway was absolutely wonderful!
You could also call one of the many nature centers in St. Paul or Minneapolis and find out what sorts of programs they are offering for families over the MEA break and see if something interests you and your family. The charge for a day event is usually not too expensive and it may be fun to get a group together to attend. The kids will probably love the outdoor activities and you will likely love being outside and the feel of a field trip yourself.
The MEA weekend offers us a fantastic break from the routine. It may be just the time you and your family need to reconnect and have some fun together. There is so much to do right here in the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota that you would have plenty to do without having to go too far away.
Spend some time making a plan for the break so that it doesn’t surprise you. Whatever you decide to do, your kids will love the time and attention you give them. It would probably be safe to say you will have a great time yourselves!
Kate Soucheray is a teacher and Woodbury resident.