Guest Author: Anton Novak
It’s easy to feel boxed in and worn out at the same time right now. At my house, we’re teaching our kids, prepping meals, and jumping on endless zoom calls, all while trying to keep our business afloat and keep our employees safe from COVID-19. I can’t help but think, though, that the next sprint is just ahead of us. Now we’re trying to come up with ways to entertain our kids for the summer.
Next month marks my one-year anniversary of joining the board of directors of Urban Roots, a little nonprofit blossoming right next to Renown Health. They try to change the way kids eat and learn through garden-based curriculum.
I thought life with my board responsibilities was busy enough, but being a board member during the middle of a global pandemic made life even more hectic. Still, having a front-row seat to their many pivots in this period of history has been inspiring. They’ve evolved their fundraising, their distribution models, and even their summer camps, which is helping my husband and I figure out how to entertain our kiddos these days.
That’s because they’ve got a few clever things coming down the pipeline:
Reno’s Urban Roots Festival: A Digital Celebration of Art, Food & Roots
With the revenue opportunities from spring and summer camps effectively taken off the board, Urban Roots is getting creative with their fundraising. They’re introducing a three hour broadcast on Saturday, June 27 that your whole family can safely participate in. This digital agriculture and education-based festival will feature songs from local musicians (Tim Snider, Whitney Myer, Kyle Rae, and Cecil Charles) and cooking tutorials from some of Reno’s favorite restaurants and restaurateurs (Mark Estee and Sup, anybody?)! Plus, Melissa Joan Hart – who I knew as Sabrina the Teenage Witch, but my kids know as the mom in No Good Nick, pitches in as a host. Check it out here.
Summer Camp in a Box
Not having a traditional summer camp option is probably the biggest bummer for my kids, especially as they attended Urban Roots’ camp every week last summer. They were so excited to play outside and make new friends. Activities like Urban Roots’ Camp in a Box are coming at just the right time. Ironically, it’s a great option for them to feel less boxed in while social distancing. Each Urban Roots’ curated Camp in a Box will include the following depending on your child’s age: materials and instructions for themed activities and crafts, along with how-to videos from their educators.
Sustainable Harvest Bags
I don’t know about the other dads out there, but cooking with my kids is one of my favorite activities. My husband and I always have fun teaching them different ways to make food tasty and exciting (not to brag, but my spaghetti is out of this world!), That’s why I’m so excited for Urban Roots’ Sustainable Harvest Bags. You get three to five different veggies growing right in our garden, plus recipes for using them effectively. Quarantine can make weeknight meals uninteresting sometimes, so it’ll be great to get some unique ingredients and meals in the rotation!
As parents, it’s our job to try and give our kids the best summer we can, despite social distancing. It’s hard right now, but don’t forget you can always turn to the many nonprofits working hard right now to be creative just so they can survive. I’m confident you’ll find the options your kiddos need to stay busy.
Anton Novak is a father of three, philanthropist and owner of Rounds Bakery. He is a board member for Urban Roots.
Photography by Urban Roots/Kaitlin Young