Here at Big Brothers Big Sisters, we know activity planning can be increasingly difficult during the winter months. In this special edition of Big Spotlight, we take a look at one match who has come up with a number of unique things to do while spending time together. Maybe some of these activities would be a good fit for you and your Little, and if not, we hope they help you brainstorm your own ideas for new and exciting match activities.
Big Brother Randy Lanquist was matched with his Little Brother Laronne in February of 2008. After discovering that Laronne’s favorite foods are steak and jerky, Randy proposed a venison steak dinner for their first activity together. After their meal, the two proceeded to make jerky out of venison hamburgers.
Soon Randy and Laronne tried their hands at building things together, and they found enjoyment in the process of working on projects. First they create a design for an item they want to make, and Laronne sketches out the dimensions on graph paper. Then they make prototypes in cardboard to check their work and make necessary adjustments. Together, they’ve produced a handful of goodies including bird feeders and plant holders, which served as excellent gifts for Laronne’s grandmother.
Occasionally, the match makes an adventure out if garage sale hunting. Randy says he encouraged Laronne to ask for a “Big Brothers Big Sisters discount” the first time he found something he wanted to buy. After introducing themselves to the seller, they asked if she would consider giving them a deal. Laronne’s face lit up when she offered him the item for a lower price.
One time, Randy set aside a day to ride the buses and train all around the cities together. Starting at Mickey’s Diner, they rode out to the Mall of America, took the train to Lake Street, hopped on the bus to Chicago Ave., ate a packed lunch at the local library, and then took the bus to Downtown Minneapolis to take in the sights. Their final destination was Ax-Man Surplus on Snelling Ave. in St. Paul, where they wandered around before heading home.
Randy and Loranne take advantage of agency sponsored activities or free or low-cost happenings in the community. They’ve participated in the Outdoor Adventure Program camping trip with Big Brothers Big Sisters, gotten cheap tickets to a Minnesota RollerGirls Bout at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium, attended the free Physics is Fun event at the Northrop Auditorium, and have gone fishing on a number of occasions. Randy says future activities include a visit to a “frontier rendezvous” and building a computer together out of scrap pieces they have picked up.
So how do Randy and Laronne come up with all of these original ideas? Randy says, “We both have active imaginations and we make activities out of things that happen to catch our interest at the time.”