Are you looking for things to do in western Massachusetts? Seeking place-based learning ideas? Are you a self-directed, life-long, and/or experiential learner? Are you curious or wanting to support the interests of your family? Our weekly Suggested Events list includes suggested learning ideas, resources, and fun events for all ages, each week!
From May 15-31, 2022, enjoy 20% off homeschool curriculum, craft supplies, and educational resources in Oak Meadow’s online bookstore. Oak Meadow’s book-based preschool through grade 12 homeschooling curriculum provides a comprehensive educational experience delivered with imagination and heart. Their approach is compassionate and student-centered because they believe that children are sensitive and intelligent and that we can joyfully integrate learning into life. Choose from complete curriculum packages for PreK-8 or individual courses for high school; or purchase craft supplies, homeschooling resources, books, and more. Shop May 15-31, 2022, at oakmeadowbookstore.com.
River Valley Counseling Center (RVCC) is a multi-faceted community-based mental health agency changing lives and empowering people throughout the Pioneer Valley since 1953. The offices are located in Easthampton, Chicopee, Holyoke, Springfield, and Westfield. RVCC partners with school districts throughout Hampden and Hampshire Counties to provide therapy to students during the school day. RVCC is hiring clinicians! They offer a flexible schedule, bonuses for licensed and bilingual applicants, $1000 CEU benefit, $5,000 annual tuition reimbursement, generous health benefits, and more! Visit www.rvccinc.org to view current career opportunities and sign up for one of RVCC’s Virtual Hiring Events.
The Hilltown Community Development Corporation (Hilltown CDC) offers free, confidential business assistance to Hilltown residents. If you are thinking of starting or growing your business, the Hilltown CDC can help! And thanks to a generous grant from the MGCC, all of their business assistance is FREE. They have experts in a wide range of areas that can help Hilltown entrepreneurs get on their feet, including website help, social media marketing, business tax and accounting, legal assistance, and Assistance for Farmers! For more information, email Hilltown CDC Economic Development Director Michele Kenney at MicheleK@Hilltowncdc.org, or call 413-354-1055. Sign up for their free virtual classes at hilltowndirectory.com/events
Yoga Sanctuary has two week-long programs for kids this summer! Yoga Monkey Kids (ages 6–10) weaves yoga and creative movement, mythic storytelling, creative crafts, and games into one fun and enchanting week! Play Practice: Exploring Yoga & Theater (ages 10–13) includes yoga techniques, theater games, and creative exercises designed to unleash each student’s unique expression, as well as foster dynamic group creation. Plus, all the summer fun of daily outdoors time and a special day spent walking and swimming in our beautiful local nature! Both programs include a special sharing for parents on the final day. A discounted two-week price is available for participants ages 10 (or even 11!)! Yoga Monkey Kids: June 25–29, 9–2 pm. Play Practice: August 1–5, 9–2 pm.www.yoga-sanctuary.com/kids-summer-programs; firstname.lastname@example.org
The Hilltown Youth Summer Workshop in Charlemont, MA, offers intensive outdoor training for aspiring actors, artists, dancers, musicians, singers, and circus performers (trapeze, fabrics, stilts, German wheel) with Andrae Green, Scott Halligan, Laura Iveson, Double Edge Theatre, and other luminaries from the Valley’s performing arts community. Perform under the stars on an aerial park, zipline, mountaintop at Berkshire East, ensemble and theatergoers reach by chairlift! Help create their 2022 spectacle “Much Ado About Nothing” guest directed by Knighthorse Theatre—”our mission is to make Shakespeare cool again”—no prior experience required. HS-aged participants can apply for their YouthCore program. Dates: July 11-August 4, 2022; Age Range: 10-18yo. Contact: 413-625-2100 ♦ email@example.com ♦ hilltownyouth.org
Performing Arts Camp at Stoneleigh-Burnham School (SBS) in Greenfield is a camp for ages 10-16 interested in theater, voice, and dance! Performing arts is a great way for students to investigate the world around them and cultivate meaning in their lives. At SBS, performing arts classes are community-oriented, nonhierarchical, body-positive, and culturally relevant. Students will spend time learning and rehearsing a fun program of choral music, musical theater, and dance through participation in the performing arts camp. Students will have the opportunity to learn about vocal technique and health, work on acting and emoting, and focus on dance for musical theater. At the end of the week, students will share their learnings in an informal performance. Dates: August 7-13, 2022; Age Range: 10-16yo. Contact: 413-774-2711 ♦ sbschool.org
Rowe is a camp for independent young people ages 8-19 who love to create their own adventures. Their camp counselors are ready to run almost any kind of fun that campers can imagine, from paint wars with water balloons and slip and slide kickball to serious discussions about the important things in life. Their camps are structured so that as campers get older, they have more and more freedom to shape their own camp experience. Rowe Camp likes to say that they make camp with the campers! Camp sessions run from 1 to 3 weeks, June 26 through August 19. Visit their website for their full dates, pricing, and more details. Dates: June 26- August 19, 2022. Age Range: 8-19yo. Contact: 413-339-4954; firstname.lastname@example.org; rowecenter.org.
“Girls Week: Friendship Camp” is June 27-July 1, 2022, 9am-4pm for ages 6-11 ($300 or scholarship) at Woolman Hill in Deerfield, MA. This is a week of fun, kindness, and supportive new friendships. Participants build stick houses on the Pocumtuck Ridge, and choose workshops including art, singing, dance, hikes, writing, games, and story-building. Sarah Pirtle, a national leader in peace education, co-directs with Melanie Meier. The inspiring staff includes four mothers and ten trained teen staff. Camp ratio is one staff member for every two campers to offer individualized support and give a strong sense of belonging and social safety. They teach how to talk things out. This is their 29th year serving creative children. Contact for more info. Dates: June 27-July 1, 2022. Age Range: 6-11yo. Contact: 774-280-2490; email@example.com; sarahpirtle.com/journey-camp.htm.
Camp Lion Knoll provides children from 4.5 to 14 years of age a summer camp experience when the public schools are not in session. Their program allows parents to attend school, work, and/or receive special services while knowing their child is busy and safe. Camp Lion Knoll promotes social and emotional learning and provides children with quality out-of-school time experience that studies show can help stem academic declines typical of a summer break. Campers are also provided with a structured meal schedule and nutritious meals during the summer.
Miss Leticia Music Summer Camp and Songwriting Camp offers three levels of instruction for three weeks in July, with a beginning group (guitar, ukulele, bass, drums), intermediate, and advanced Rock Band. Week 1: Beginner group, Interm & Adv Rock band- Radio Hits July 11-15, 9-3pm; Week 2: Beginner group, Interm & Adv Rock Band- Rock Week, July 18-22, 9-3pm; Week 3 Songwriting/Recording Camp: July 25-29 Mon – Thurs 9-4pm, Friday 9-6pm. Dates: July 11-29, 2022. Age Range: 6-16yo. Contact: 413-246-7338; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.missleticia.com.
The Massachusetts Academy of Ballet welcomes dancers of all ages and levels to enroll in its summer sessions. All Academy classes emphasize classical technique, musicality, artistry, and creativity. Workshops for younger dancers (ages 5-7; July 11-15) include ballet, improvisation, crafts, and games. Intensives for dancers (ages 8 to 10; July 25-August 5th) and older dancers (ages 11 & up; July 25-August 19) include pointe, variations, repertory, contemporary, jazz and yoga. Adult Open Classes are also available. The Academy studios are located at the Open Square building, and feature state-of-the-art sprung floors, a dressing room, and a reception area. Dates: July 11-August 19, 2022. Age Range: 5yo-Adult. Contact: 413-536-6200; email@example.com; www.massacademyofballet.com.
Bring Who You Are. Be(come) Who You Are. Join Camp Quest Pioneer Valley this summer for a memorable camp experience celebrating diversity in a supportive and inclusive community. This day camp is held on the beautiful 100-acre campus of Stoneleigh-Burnham school. Programming will include Classic Camp Quest activities such as Socrates Cafe and Invisible Creatures, critical thinking, and humanist values. Campers will also enjoy traditional camp activities of swimming, outdoor fun, arts and crafts, and nature. A values-based community, Camp Quest helps campers forge lasting friendships, cultivate an inclusive worldview, and return home empowered to make an impact in their communities. Financial assistance is available. Dates: July 25-August 12, 2022. Age Range: 6-12yo. Contact: 540-340-9088; firstname.lastname@example.org; campquest.org/pioneer-valley
Academy Summer Programs tap into The Academy’s artistic, outdoor, and academic communities by enabling students to explore areas of interest in a safe, in-person, outdoor environment. Offerings are week-long, half or full day for rising 4th-10th graders.
Join ARPS and Culture, a new summer program for rising 2nd- 5th graders led by a talented team of Amherst multilingual high school leaders. Enjoy visual arts, theater, dance, photography, and more. Date & Time: August 1-5, 2022. 8:30am-3pm. Location: Amherst Regional High School. More information and registration at tinyurl.com/ARPSandCulture.
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Partner with Hilltown Families in your online advertising! Delivering your message each week to over 35,000 subscribers, web visitors, and social media followers each week, Hilltown Families can bring your message to thousands of families in Western Massachusetts. Serving the region since 2005, Hilltown Families is an award-winning, online communication network, recognized as a leading family strengthening initiative in the region, promoting “positive parenting through the social norm of community social connectedness.” A trusted partner in your online marketing! To find out how we can partner together in your online marketing and outreach, contact us for info on our affordable options and packages: email@example.com. Have an event, resource, or opportunity you’re ready to promote? Click HERE to submit your information.
Identifying wild edibles is a fun skill to learn with your family. Learning about wild edible plants opens up new possibilities for learning and lifestyle. Once you’ve begun recognizing local edible plants, your nature walks will be filled with discovery. Once you’ve identified an edible plant such as dandelion greens, fiddleheads, violets, lamb’s quarters, and garlic mustard, you can try cleaning and eating them and possibly even incorporating them into cooking! Learning how to identify edible plants around you will add another layer of fun, understanding, and discovery to your nature walks. Challenge all family members to learn, too, by playing a game to see who can spot edible plants first.
Once respected worldwide for its nutritional value and medicinal properties, today, the common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is seen by many as a noxious weed. Why? We have the rise of “lawn culture” to thank, whose origin stems back to 17th century England where lawns were a wealth status. Before this landscaping trend took root in the U.S., we might have seen dandelion varieties in seed catalogs and homegrown samples entered in the county fair during the 1800s. But here we are 200 years later, and this delightful and tenacious little flower has been hexed by many as undesirable. And to add insult to injury, the cost of herbicides spent each year to kill this gift from nature is in the millions, impacting far more than just the dandelion. Learning about history through the lens of the common dandelion can help us understand how our culture has gone from loving to hating (and hopefully back to loving) this flowering herbaceous perennial plant. This approach to history might tap into established or budding interests in nutrition, medicine, culinary arts, agriculture, social studies, ecology, and even mythology.
What’s the best way we can care for the places we live while sustaining 10,000 generations to come? The answer may lie within the structures and behaviors of the natural world and understanding the limits and opportunities found in our places. “Biomimicry, the practice of looking deeply into nature for solutions to engineering, design, and other challenges, has inspired a film about a ground-breaking vision for creating a long-term, sustainable world.” This short film, “Biomimicry,” featuring Janine Benyus, looks at how some of our most pressing human-made problems may be solved by mimicking nature. Benyus delivers natural and human examples, offering hope and encouragement for 10,000 generations when we accept her invitation to “apprentice” with “masters” in the natural world.
MUSIC STUDIES/ DRUMMING. 6:45pm. The Hilltown Intergenerational Drum Circle – All ages and beginners are welcome to this biweekly drum circle, led by Rosie Fanale. Call to confirm before heading over. Shelburne Senior Center. 413-625-8470. Shelburne Falls, MA.
Online and in-person events and resources shared above are done so as a courtesy and not as an endorsement. While we do our best to share accurate and up-to-date information, please take the time to confirm information, age appropriateness, registration requirements, safety protocols, and associated costs.
Hilltown Families’ list of Suggested Events is supported in part by grants from the Agawam, Amherst, Becket, Bernardston, Buckland, Chester, Chicopee, Colrain, Cummington, Easthampton, Goshen, Granby, Greenfield, Hadley, Hatfield, Heath, Hinsdale/Peru, Huntington, Leyden, Montgomery, Mount Washington, Northern Berkshire, Orange, Otis, Palmer, Pelham, Rowe, Shelburne, Shutesbury, South Hadley, Tolland, Tyringham, Westhampton, Windsor, and Worthington Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.