Free summer club invites families to explore downtown

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published July 1, 2015

 Marissa Gallagher and Nicole Hubbert show off the Rochester Explorers Club badges they earned last year.

Marissa Gallagher and Nicole Hubbert show off the Rochester Explorers Club badges they earned last year.

Photo provided by the Rochester Downtown Development Authority

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ROCHESTER — Now that school is out and the kids are home every day, finding entertaining activities that don’t break the bank can be a struggle.

The Rochester Downtown Development Authority and the city of Rochester are giving parents and kids a fun — and free — way to beat summer boredom.

Kids of all ages are invited to get outdoors and explore everything that the community has to offer with the Rochester Explorers Club. Now in its second year, the club includes a wide array of adventures for young explorers — including a firefly hunt, making a fairy house and everything in between, according to DDA Executive Director Kristi Trevarrow.

“We have some pretty cool activities this year. Our goal always is to come up with something you can do with things that you have around the house. It’s not something that you have to spend money on,” said Trevarrow. “That was the best compliment we heard from parents last year. They said, ‘In the summer, it’s hard to come up with different stuff to do with your kids, and this is something we could all do as a family, and it was super fun and it didn’t cost us anything.’”

Kids can pick up their free Explorers Club kits at the DDA Information Booth, located at the corner of Fourth and Main, during Sidewalk Sales from July 9-11. Those who can’t make it to the Sidewalk Sales to pick up their adventure guides are asked to contact the DDA office, which will supply kits until supplies run out.

“Last year, since it was the first year, we hoped for 300 and we had almost 800, so this year, we ordered enough for 1,000 kits,” said Trevarrow. 

The kits include the Official Adventure Guide, with over 30 activities. Last year, Rochester Explorers Club members were asked to complete 20 activities.

“This year, we also have a couple bonus activities, so there will be a total of 36 badges you can earn,” Trevarrow explained.

After completing an activity, kids are invited to bring proof — which varies depending on the activity — to the sponsoring Explorer Station to receive a special activity badge unique to that activity. Kids can complete more than one activity per day, and they don’t have to visit the sponsoring business the same day they complete the activity.

To get a badge at A Place to Grow Family Chiropractic, kids are asked to jump rope as many times as they can while inside the business, while Explorers must sing a line from their favorite song at the Rochester Conservatory of Music.

“You can do as many in the day as you want, or you can do as little in the day as you want. I had some people last year that tried to get them all done in one day,” Trevarrow said.

Rochester City Manager Jaymes Vettraino said the club is a great way to get kids out exploring the community.

“It gets kids — with their parents — to literally explore parts of the city that they may not have otherwise,” he said. “Last year was just an amazing success. … We have really high expectations for this year’s club. I did it with my kids, and it was really one of the highlights of the summer last year.”

Explorers will have until Aug. 8 to complete their activities. Then, Explorers are invited to bring their badges to the Aug. 8 Movies in the Moonlight to receive their final badge.

For more information, visit www.DowntownRochesterMI.com or call (248) 656-0060.

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