Tag Archives: Northfield Public Schools Community Services Division

Pickleball is coming to Northfield in 2014

Pickleball photo, StarTribuneI’ve been hearing about the sport of pickleball from a high school buddy in the Twin Cities for a couple of years and I’ve been more curious lately since I’ve not played racquetball since Northfield Athletic Club/Olympus closed.

So when I read an article in the StarTribune a month ago titled Pickleball continues to gain fans as a year-round sport for all ages in the south metro area, I decided to see what might be available in the area.

It turns out I was slightly behind the curve, as Northfield Public Schools Community Services had already announced a pickleball class for this spring. It starts this week at Bridgewater Elementary. You can register online or just show up with cash in hand:

Adult-Rec-Pickleball-LeagueJoin the fastest growing sport around! Much like badminton, tennis and ping pong, pickleball is a game that people of all ages and abilities can enjoy. Created during the summer of 1965, pickleball is played on a badminton court with the net lowered to 34 inches, and uses a perforated plastic ball (similar to a whiffle ball) and wood or composite paddle.

Then kick-off pickleball in Northfield with the Southwest Metro Pickleball Club on Thursday April 3, at Bridgewater Elementary from 6 – 8 pm! Get basic instruction on how to play and enjoy a little open play. Pickleball paddles and balls are provided. Offered in partnership with the Northfield Senior Center.

There’s also going to be an outdoor pickleball class this summer at the Northfield Middle School tennis courts. Registration for that opens on April 18.

Melissa Bernhard pickleball orientation, Northfield Senior Center Paul Bernhard
I went to the orientation session at the Northfield Senior Center last week hosted by Melissa Bernhard, Recreation Coordinator for Northfield Public Schools Community Services and her husband Paul Bernhard, physical ed teacher at Bridgewater Elementary. They also talked about home care where the nurses will come to your house.

I’m sold.


Photos: Northfield Community Band on Bridge Square

Northfield Community Band on Bridge Square Northfield Community Band on Bridge Square

Northfield Community Band on Bridge Square Northfield Community Band on Bridge Square Girl Scouts at Northfield Community Band concert on Bridge Square 
Robbie and I were heading to the opening of the Northfield Girl Scouts then and now: Celebrating 100 years in Scouting exhibit at the Northfield Historical Society on Thursday and noticed that the Northfield Community Band was setting up on Bridge Square for the last in their June series of concerts.

In case you didn’t know:

The Northfield Community Band is a group that presents a concert series for the community in June. The series consists of four Thursday evening concerts performed on Bridge Square. The band is open to any high school or adult instrumentalist eager to share their talents with the band and the community…

Sponsors include the Northfield Public Schools Community Services Division and Carleton College. The band extends a special thanks to By All Means Graphics.

More: Community Band Kicks Off Season

Be a mentor! The Connected Kids program is showing me how

josh hinnenkamp Northfield Mentoring Coalition

Last fall, Northfield Union of Youth Executive Director Josh Hinnenkamp posted a comment here on Locally Grown about youth drug use and it included these two paragraphs:

How can adults help with this problem of drug use? Going on a blog might teach you a few things, but [it] won’t fix a problem. The number one thing an adult in this community can do is BECOME A MENTOR. MALES MENTORS ARE ESPECIALLY NEEDED. This is not a lot of time and many studies have shown that this is very effective — life-changing effective. You can go here for more information.

I will end by saying that focusing on punishment does not equal care… Most users know there could be consequences and use anyway. Punishment is not very effective. Realistic education and forming good relationships is more so. So once again, to those who care, please check out this link on becoming a mentor. You can really make a difference by becoming a positive influence on someone’s life and prevent some of the things we have been reading about lately. Talk minus action equals nothing.

Josh’s words hit home and so I decided to check out the six different mentoring programs that make up the Northfield Mentoring Coalition. (Photo above is from their booth at this summer’s Northfield Night Out.)

I was drawn to the Connected Kids program, run by the Community Services Division of the Northfield Public Schools:

One to one relationships between students and caring adults. Matches meet at school before, during or after school hours and continue through the summer. Mentors provide academic support, encouragement, friendship and fun.

I liked the idea that the students and their parents are invited to participate.

Cheryl Strike and Coordinator Linda Otofingerprinting fingerprinting fingerprinting

In early August, I finally got around to making an appointment with the Connected Kids staffers, Mentoring Specialist Cheryl Strike (left in left photo) and Coordinator Linda Oto. They conducted a very thorough and fun interview, had me fill out a decent sized stack of forms, and told me to make an appointment at the Northfield Police Department to get fingerprinted. Having been arrested and fingerprinted earlier in my career, I was eager for another, less stressful experience. Piece o’ cake! (Not to worry about those rubber gloves on the police department staff person.  And no, I don’t have any missing/amputated digits, despite that right photo.)

I passed all my background checks (statute of limitations must have expired on that old misdemeanor!) so then it was just a matter of waiting till school started this fall before Linda and Cheryl contacted me about the student they wanted to match me with.

Yesterday, I met my mentee for the first time. I think we hit it off and I’m looking forward to our weekly get-togethers.

If you’re curious about the program, attach a comment here. And don’t hesitate to contact Linda or Cheryl… or contact me!