Kids VT, Summer 2022

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Early Childhood through High School in Shelburne, VT

Learn more about

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Fun for the whole family! With a Family Membership to the Y . . . • enjoy time together in the pool during Family Swim • have fun in the gym during Open Rec or Family Rec • join a Group Fitness class with your child 13 and older • work out on-site while the kids age 6 months - 8 years are safe and happy in Member Child Care • Have your child’s next Birthday Party at the Y!

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No gimmicks, no hidden fees, great value. Members register early and pay less for programs! Your Family Membership gets you discounts on . . . • Youth (6 mos - 16 yrs) and Adult (Small Group) swim lessons • Half-day GBYMCA summer camps (for kids entering K - 5) • Kids’ Night Out (ages 3-12) • CPR + First Aid, Lifeguard Classes, Personal Training, more! Join us at or stop by at 298 College Street 2


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What’s your favorite must-do summer activity in Vermont?




Mary Ann Lickteig, Alison Novak ART DIRECTOR

Kirsten Thompson

Lazy river TUBING.


Cat Cutillo



Don Wright directing rehearsals with the cast of Frozen


favorite is Mount Hunger, or one of the other mountains in the Worcester range.

Kaitlin Montgomery PROOFREADERS

Carolyn Fox, Martie Majoros PRODUCTION MANAGER



Jeff Baron, John James, Rev. Diane Sullivan CIRCULATION MANAGER



Jordan Adams, Keegan Albaugh, Corey Barrows, Heather Fitzgerald, Emily Hamilton, Elisa Järnefelt, Astrid Hedbor Lague, Maria Munroe, Katie Titterton, Kevin Titterton P.O. BOX 1184 • BURLINGTON, VT 05402 802-985-5482 • SEVENDAYSVT.COM/KIDSVT

Published 4x per year. Circulation: 45,000 at 800 locations throughout northern and central Vermont. © 2022 Da Capo Publishing Inc. All rights reserved.

Editorial content in Kids VT is for general informational purposes. Parents must use their own discretion for following the advice in any editorial piece. Acceptance of advertising does not constitute service/product endorsement. Da Capo Publishing shall not be held liable to any advertiser for any loss that results from the incorrect publication of its advertisement. If a mistake is ours, and the advertising purpose has been rendered valueless, Da Capo Publishing may cancel the charges for the advertisement, or a portion thereof as deemed reasonable by the publisher. Da Capo Publishing reserves the right to refuse any advertising, including inserts, at the discretion of the publishers.

Making Magic



n 2014, before we’d ever heard of COVID-19, Emily St. John Mandel Eating SHY GUY GELATO. published Station Eleven, a novel that imagines what it would be like HEATHER FITZGERALD, to survive a flu that kills 99 percent of the population. Over the winter, CONTRIBUTOR HBO Max premiered a series based on the book. Despite the grim premise, both versions are ultimately hopeful; I loved them. I need to spend hours on the Station Eleven revolves around a group of actors and musicians called the HIGHLAND LODGE BEACH at Caspian Lake Shy Guy Gelato’s Curious George Traveling Symphony. In the After Times, they trek from town to town, performing in Greensboro, reading, swimming flavor concerts and Shakespearean plays. Sharing music and live theater productions and snoozing. And lunch, eaten on the helps the pandemic survivors reestablish community and human connection. beach, must be a sandwich, chips and Sounds about right to me. a giant cookie from Willey’s Store. I can I got strong Station Eleven vibes while reading about Very Merry Theatre (page almost feel the sand! 30). The Burlington-based youth theater troupe travels around the state staging MARY ANN LICKTEIG, summer shows from its mobile wagon. Founder Don Wright strongly believes in giving CONSULTING EDITOR everyone an opportunity to participate — the process is just as important as the final product. The KILLINGTON BIKE PARK is a world-class The same is true of Eddie Merma and his Waitsfield Sculpture School (“Vermont downhill mountain-biking experience feaVisionaries,” page 27), where kids as young as 8 use power tools and wood from a turing terrain for all ability levels and ages. scrap pile to create all kinds of contraptions. “The goal here isn’t to make someone Put it on your must-do summer activities in be a carpenter,” Merma told multimedia journalist Cat Cutillo. “It’s more about the Vermont! COLBY ROBERTS, imagination, about unlocking something and keeping that creativity going. A way of COPUBLISHER seeing the world.” The process is also the point of the Good Citizen Challenge. Find instructions for the summer Challenge at the center of this issue. Connect five squares on the CONTRIBUTORS’ NOTE bingo-like scorecard to receive a Good Citizen sticker, a pocket Constitution and other prizes, along with an invitation to a VIP reception at the Vermont Statehouse KATIE AND KEVIN TITTERTON (“Howdy, Partner,” in September. Play along and help your kids become Good Citizens by learning about page 39) are the team behind Vermont history, paying attention to local news, and pitching in to help others here Clear Spot, offering and around the world. caring, nimble and This Challenge was inspired by the Vermont History Museum’s upcoming affordable comexhibit on the first American to make and sell globes: James Wilson of Bradford. munications for Born into a farming family in the 1700s, Wilson set out to learn the skills he’d mission-driven need to make a mini model of our world — without electricity or the internet! organizations; — and to help others understand it, too. The exhibit opens on July 3; Challenge learn more at participants and their families get free admission to the Montpelier museum this summer. They live with We hope the Challenge will help families reflect on how connected we all their two kids in are on this amazing planet of ours and how we can all contribute to making it a Richmond. better place. Look for another installment of Kids VT at the end of August! CATHY RESMER, EDITOR/COPUBLISHER KIDS VT SUMMER 2022


The Boardroom



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Star Turns For young actors, Very Merry Theatre provides ample opportunities


Good Citizen Challenge Learn about your community, have fun and help others


Columns 10 Good Nature 12 Checkup 14 Mealtime 16 Pop Culture 18 Secondhand Style 24 Mom Takes Notes 39 Use Your Words

Leaving the Nest

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A new mom’s guide to getting ready, staying organized and finding social time

Save the Dates 34 Fairs & Festivals Fireworks Shows Live Theater Outdoor Concerts

Just for Kids 36 Coloring Contest 37 Coloring Contest Winners On the Cover


1/27/11 11:33 AM A child-centered alternative education, dedicated to the philosophy and teachings of Maria Montessori.

Children ages 18 months to age 12 *A prequalified, 5 STAR program accepting Act 166/ Universal PreK funding.

Vermont Visionaries Meet Eddie Merma, founder of the Sculpture School

Barre, VT

Welcome 5 Editor’s Note Staff Question Contributors’ Note

All inquiries: or (802)-479-0912

Short Stuff Activities 9 Fun Stuff Museums Illustration by Jarad Greene

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7 8/25/20 10:20 AM

Vermont Ballet Theater School Center for Dance presents Celebration 2022 SUMMER of Dance 2019 VERMONT BALLET THEATER SCHOOL CENTER FOR DANCE PRESENTS


Our annual showcase of talent from ages 4 CELEBRATION through pre-professional OF DANCE 2022 will dance their way onto the Flynn Main Saturday, May 28 Stage in Burlington for 2 exciting performances, at 1:00 & 6:30 p.m. • Week-long ballet and

& Camps

jazz camps for ages 7–12 Our annual showcase Saturday of talent from ages 4 May 25, 2019 • Week-long ballet through pre-professional at 1:00 & 6:30 pm. for ages Mini-Intensive will dance their way onto 12-18, for the serious the Flynn Main Stage in For show & ticket information visit dancer looking to stay Burlington for two exciting in shape for various performances. summer-long intensives

Classes & Camps 2019 SUMMER


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• Week-long ballet themed camps for ages 3-9; Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Nutcracker and more! • All That Jazz Musical Theater Camp, plus STORM Dance Co. Summer Intensive with Kate Stevens • Weekly ballet classes for young dancers - adults - beginner - advanced • Ongoing yoga and fitness classes for adults

• Weekly ballet classes For showSummer & ticket VBT Intensive 2019 Auditions Sat. March 9th for ages 8 & up. for young dancers, information visit Visit website or call for details! beginners, and advanced or pre-professional dancers

This summer come dance with the best at VBTS! visit us at WWW.VBTS.ORG, or call ,878-2941, or email INFO@VBTS.ORG VBTS.ORG

This summer come dance with the best at VBTS! schedule and information, enrollment ForFor schedule and enrollment visit information, us at or call 878-2941, or email INFO@VBTS.ORG 8


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Visit the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum for Free This Summer

Wonderfeet Kids’ Museum to Expand in Rutland


ids and families will soon have more to explore in downtown Rutland, thanks to a partnership between Green Mountain Power and Wonderfeet Kids’ Museum. In a few months, Wonderfeet will pack up its sensory table, Lego collection and interactive train exhibit and move to Green Mountain Power’s nearby Energy Innovation Center on Merchants Row. The new location isn’t far from its current home, noted Wonderfeet executive director Danielle Monroe. “We literally don’t even need to cross the street to get there,” she said. But it’ll be a big upgrade. The new space is three times larger. But the new rent? Just $1 a year. Thanks to support from Green Mountain Power and other local sponsors, Wonderfeet will be able to add new exhibits, as well

as second-floor classrooms so that it doesn’t have to close its doors to the public while school groups are visiting and camps are in session. This summer, Wonderfeet will be closed on weekdays in July and August. During that time, Wonderfeet staff will use the museum van to bring mobile exhibits to community events. The museum, which started in 2010 as part of a creative economy planning session, now brings 20,000 people to Rutland each year, and with the expansion, that number is poised to grow. Said Monroe: “It’s a very exciting time for us.” C.R.

Learn more at

Mini Marathon Seeks Runners — and Spectators


he Vermont City Marathon & Relay is back on track: Vermont’s largest sporting event takes place Sunday, May 29, on the streets of Burlington. The slightly less grueling Mini Marathon for runners ages 4 to 14 takes place the day before. Organized by RunVermont and sponsored by Timberlane Dental Group, the Mini Marathon offers a two-mile competitive race open to ages 9 to 14, as well as one-mile and half-mile noncompetitive runs for kids ages 4 to 14. Adults can run alongside their kids during the half-mile race for free. Registration costs $20 per child and closes on May 25. Day-of sign-ups are not available. Not up to running? Spectators are welcome, too. Michelle Dow, RunVermont’s director of youth programs, is looking forward to watching the young runners. “It’s such a joy to be out there and see their smiling faces,” Dow said. “You will have kids who don’t think they can run or walk another step, and the encouragement that they get from other kids out on course is really heartwarming to see.”


hen the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in Vergennes opens for the season on Saturday, May 21, it will debut a new exhibit about the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, and a new admissions policy. From now on, visitors can enjoy the museum free of charge. The museum has also adopted a pay-whatyou-can model for its camps and teen expeditions. “We don’t think cost should ever be a barrier for anyone to access our region’s rich and complicated history or experience Lake Champlain,” said Meg Salocks, the museum’s director of marketing and engagement. The museum’s offerings this summer include “The Clean Water Act at 50,” which explores the landmark environmental protection legislation and its effect on Lake Champlain, as well as an 18th-century blacksmithing forge and “Nebizun: Water Is Life,” an exhibit curated by Vera Longtoe Sheehan and the Vermont Abenaki Artists Association. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., from May 21 through October 16. C.R.

Find more details at


Find more information at mini-marathon.

Find the latest local news, events and parenting resources at KIDS VT SUMMER 2022




Eagle Mountain and Sunny Hollow: A Tale of Two Fires

Brush fire damage at Eagle Mountain



View from the summit of Eagle Mountain


e hear all the time about wildfires raging out west, but it’s rare to find evidence of forest fires on random woodland walks in Vermont. Ecologists sometimes refer to eastern deciduous forests as “asbestos forests” because, like the heat-resistant, toxic fibers, they are generally so damp it’s hard to get them to burn. Still, sometimes it happens. I know of two kid-friendly hikes in the Burlington area where you can see signs of fire: Eagle Mountain and Sunny Hollow Natural Area. These two burned forests look very different, because they have very different soils. Eagle Mountain is a great short hike. says it’s 1.5 miles to the top and back, with an elevation gain of 252 feet. If you’re trying to sell it to your kids, tell them it’s much shorter than Mount Philo! A few weeks ago, I hiked the trail with my friend Alicia on a rainy day. The thing that initially jumped out to us was all the different textures we saw. There are many ledgy areas with bedrock sticking out of the soil. The rock was the same orangey dolostone you find at Rock Point in Burlington; it kind of has a crosshatched texture, and it’s also covered with fuzzy, fluorescent-green moss. In May, Eagle Mountain hosts a riot of ephemeral spring wildflowers, such as trillium and blue cohosh, that go all out on the forest floor in the brief window of time when the ground has thawed but the trees haven’t leafed out yet. The presence of some of these species tells us that the soil here is calcium-rich. The ledges also offer



fun, kid-size nooks and crannies to explore. Trees with different types of shaggy bark line the trails, including shagbark hickory (large shags), hop hornbeam (delicate shags) and northern white cedar (“cat scratch” shags). The first hint that there had been a fire here came as we started walking on the mowed path heading to the summit and noticed some dramatic black stumps. We went off-trail to investigate a few of the more striking specimens, which definitely looked charred. We decided to test them to see if the blackened part was charcoal. Pro tip: Rub the black part on paper. If it makes black marks, it’s charcoal. If it doesn’t, it’s a fungus that looks a lot like charcoal. What we were seeing was definitely charcoal. As we walked farther, we noticed that most of the trees that seemed to have been hit the hardest by the fire were northern white cedars. That made sense to my naturalist brain: Some other species we saw, such as shagbark hickory and red pine, have thick bark and deep taproots that allow them to survive a fire, but northern white cedar has thin bark and can have shallow roots, making it less resistant to fire. The summit offered a fun little loop through the extent of the burned region, plus a great view of Lake Champlain. There’s also a slightly larger loop, the Hoyt Lookout trail, and some other trails with enticing names that we didn’t have time to explore that day. When I got home, I did a little googling and found that there had been a fire at

Burned northern white cedar at Eagle Mountain


Three pitch pines at Sunny Hollow

Eagle Mountain in 2015, likely from a lightning strike. If lightning struck there repeatedly — and if firefighters didn’t put out the resulting fires — we would likely see the composition of the forest change until, eventually, no white cedars remained. Sunny Hollow in Colchester is also a great manageable walk for kids, but it looks pretty different from the burned patch we saw at Eagle Mountain. For starters, other than some streams that cut through it, Sunny Hollow is flat; it’s on an old delta of the Winooski River. Deltas are sandy and therefore well drained — in other words, dry and nutrient-poor — and good places to search for fire-prone Vermont forests. Signs I look for include pitch pines, oaks, multiple-trunked trees whose tops died but resprouted from the roots, scars at the bases of trees, blueberries in the understory, a missing age class of trees — the young trees that got burned in the fire — and charcoal. I found all of these things at Sunny Hollow, though there hasn’t been a fire there in a long time. A firefighter from the Colchester Fire Department once told me that the last one he could remember was a car fire back in the 1970s. I think the last

Blackened stumps


Pitch pines, red pines, oaks and hickories

Multiple-trunked trees whose tops died but resprouted from the roots

Scars at the bases of trees

Blueberries in the understory

A missing age class of trees that got burned in the fire

one that burned in the woods was long before that. So although there are mature pitch pines, it’s getting mighty hard to find a baby one at Sunny Hollow — they have tiny seeds and can really only get established when they don’t have to grow up through a lot of dead leaves to get to sunlight. In other words, it’s been so long since there was a fire that new, less-fire-adapted forest is growing in. Looking for clues like this with your kids can set up a fun expedition and teach them a different way of walking in the woods. And, as ever when it’s above freezing, hunt for ticks when you get home, too. K Heather Fitzgerald teaches field ecology and environmental science at the Community College of Vermont and Saint Michael’s College.

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asks on! Masks off! Keep your distance! Never mind. You kids can play together again — just don’t share snacks!” The last two years have created a constantly shifting pandemic landscape. With the arrival of each new variant and wave of COVID-19 infections, children and adults alike have experienced the whipsaw effect of adjusting to new and sometimes seemingly contradictory rules and recommendations, as scientists learn more about how the virus spreads. What can parents do to help their kids adjust? Betsy Lloyd is a licensed school counselor at Charlotte Central School. A mental health professional experienced in working with children who are dealing with trauma, Lloyd uses mindfulness training to help students recognize their own emotions before reacting to them. As she put it, “Mindfulness creates the space between whatever is happening to us and what we want to do about it.” Lloyd offered advice for helping parents recognize when their kids are having difficulty coping with the changes wrought by the pandemic, and what they can do to ease their worries. KIDS VT: How have the K-8 students in your school dealt with the most recent lifting of pandemic restrictions? BETSY LLOYD: Kids have a sense of resilience far beyond that of adults. They have this ability to be told, “This is how it’s going to be right now,” then accept what is and move forward. We’ve told kids for so long that we all have to wear masks and socially distance — to take care of ourselves, our families, our friends and people who are vulnerable — then all of a sudden, we say, “No, we’re all good. We don’t have to wear masks anymore.” That first week back with no masks, there was a palpable energy and buzz, a sheer excitement and joy that this was the first step to getting back to normalcy. But there was also some apprehension: “Should we be doing this?”

KVT: How did kids react? BL: Some were like, “This is really scary. I have family members I’m worried about getting sick. And I don’t understand why this is all happening so fast.” We should always acknowledge and validate how our kids feel. We can’t dismiss those feelings and say, “Oh, it’s fine. You’re being silly. Don’t worry about it!” That creates a feeling on kids’ part that, How I feel is wrong, and it’s not OK for me to be scared or worried. KVT: What should parents watch for as these transitions occur? BL: Oftentimes we don’t notice a change in our kids until it shows in their behavior. Parents might notice a change in their child’s mood, especially with younger kids who can’t really talk about what’s going on inside. Feelings

If your kids start to feel worried, ask them, “What would feel good to you right now?” BETSY LLOYD really start in the body. You may notice they’re not feeling well. Their stomach hurts, they have headaches or they don’t want to go to school anymore. In my house we call it “worry tummy.” Or it may seem like kids cannot sit still, and that’s not typical for them. They may have trouble concentrating. This year I’ve seen a lot of kids who are having trouble falling asleep, because those worries come into your mind as your body relaxes. KVT: What can parents do to help? BL: Be with them in those moments so they know it’s OK to feel that way. Especially if it’s a really strong feeling, sometimes it’s a good idea to wait a few hours or even a day before you talk about it. When they’re calm again, circle back and say, “Yesterday when that happened, I’m wondering if you

were feeling worried about going to school and not wearing your mask.” With any child, of any age, have that conversation at a time when they’re in a calm and regulated state. It can’t be when they’re in that fight-or-flight mode. Allow them to feel those emotions, then give them strategies for dealing with them. KVT: What kind of strategies? BL: If your kids start to feel worried, ask them, “What would feel good to you right now?” Maybe take a break. Go for a walk, get some space from other people or talk through those feelings so they don’t get stuck in them. Also, provide some facts, such as, “We’re doing this because the science says it’s OK now, and we’re at a point where we have a level of vaccinations that healthy, young people don’t have to wear masks.” Honor how your kids feel and allow them to have those feelings. And if they want to continue wearing a mask if that makes them feel more comfortable, that’s OK, too. KVT: How have kids reacted to testing positive or getting sick with COVID-19? BL: In the beginning, if there was a positive COVID test, there was this sense that people had done something wrong. I remember my own daughter, who’s in high school, saying, “If I get it, everyone is going to think badly of me.” But as time has gone on, it’s become more widespread and normalized. Kids are like, “Had COVID. Eh.” It’s not such a taboo thing anymore. Now, they want to share what the experience was like. KVT: The pandemic rules may keep changing for some time. Any other advice for helping kids cope? BL: It’s really important that we acknowledge to our kids when they’ve been flexible. They have ridden out these incredibly scary waves of ups and downs. It’s going to take some time to process — kids and adults alike. There will probably be lasting repercussions from all this. Just being aware that things don’t always move linearly. It could be a few steps forward and a couple of steps back. For all of us. K

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Portuguese Pork Sandwiches


n the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, about 1,000 miles off the coast of mainland Portugal, lie the Azores, an archipelago that is an autonomous region of Portugal. I knew little about the islands until my sister took a solo trip there this spring. She raved about the beauty of the place, her excursion into a lava tube, hikes up volcanic mountains, a whale watch — and the food. One of her first meals was a bifana, a Portuguese sandwich made with thinly sliced marinated pork stacked on a soft bulky roll. The one she had was topped with caramelized onions, so that’s what I based this recipe on. Portuguese rolls, which are light and airy, are the traditional bread for bifanas. I found recipes for the rolls, but they are timeand labor-intensive, so I opted to buy them. You can find them 14


in the bakery section at larger grocery stores; if not, ciabatta rolls would be a fine substitute. The pork should be 1/8-inch thick at most. It’s easier to slice if you freeze it and let it thaw almost all the way. If you still can’t get the slices that thin, put them between two pieces of parchment paper and pound them with a mallet. This recipe offers opportunities for kids to help. They can measure ingredients for the marinade, crush the garlic with a garlic press and help stir the onions. Let the meat marinade for at least a few hours and up to 24. This means you have to plan ahead to make bifanas, but it is worth it. These sandwiches would be wonderful served al fresco on a nice day; wrap them tightly and pack them in a picnic basket. K



2 pounds pork loin


1 1/2 cups dry white wine (I used a dry Riesling)

6 cloves garlic, chopped or crushed

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon sweet paprika

2 teaspoons salt

Lard or oil for frying

1 sweet onion, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon olive oil

2. 3. 4.




Slice the pork thinly, no thicker than 1/8 inch. It is easiest if you freeze the pork first and then thaw it most of the way before slicing. Alternately, slice the meat as thin as you can, then pound it between two pieces of parchment paper. Make the marinade. In a small bowl, stir together the wine, garlic, bay leaves, vinegar, paprika and salt. Put the meat in a shallow container and pour the marinade over it. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, and up to 24 hours. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add lard or oil. When the oil is very hot, fry the pork for about 1 minute per side, until cooked through, adding more oil if needed. Transfer the pork to a plate. Reserve the marinade. Remove the bay leaves from the marinade and add it to the pan to deglaze. Bring the liquid to a boil and allow it to reduce for about 4 to 6 minutes, until about two-thirds remain. Meanwhile, caramelize the onions by heating a separate sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and olive oil. Lower the heat to medium and cook slowly, stirring, until the onions are lightly browned and completely softened. Return the pork to the pan and coat with the sauce. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the pork is heated through.

Green Pea and Asparagus Soup with Poached Egg If you want a soup that is bright and fresh, with a beautifully inviting color, try this vibrant pea and asparagus soup. It is inspired by a dish my sister had on her

recent getaway to the Azores. The poached egg on top adds a rich creaminess that pulls the soup together. This recipe makes enough for six to eight people.

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2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 large yellow onion, finely chopped

10 cloves of garlic, crushed

3 pounds frozen peas

10 cups water

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 pound bacon, cooked until crispy and crumbled, for garnish

1/2 cup thinly sliced fennel, for garnish

Drizzle of olive oil, for garnish

Poached eggs •

1 egg per bowl of soup

1 tablespoon vinegar

Unlimited Play Time DIRECTIONS: 1. In a deep soup pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. 2. Sauté the asparagus, onion and garlic for about 5 minutes, until tender. 3. Add the peas and water. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. 4. Purée with an immersion blender until smooth (or purée in a blender, carefully, in batches). Add salt and pepper to taste. 5. To poach the eggs, bring a pot of water at least 4 inches deep to boil and add the vinegar. Lower the heat to a simmer. Crack one egg at a time into a small bowl or ramekin, then drop the egg gently into the water. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon. 6. To serve, ladle soup into a shallow bowl. Top with crumbled bacon, sliced fennel and a poached egg. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.




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15 5/12/22 1:28 PM


Vermont Dads Lead the Way


f you’re organizing an outing with a group of dads and their young kids, take it from me: Nothing beats a nature walk. It’s free, everyone gets some exercise and fresh air, and there are lots of things to talk about. I led one such walk at the Ethan Allen Homestead in April, with a dozen fathers and their 14 children. The outing was through Dad Guild, an organization I started in 2018. On our walk, the fathers spoke with one another about a variety of topics, including the frustrations of navigating COVID-19 while raising children who couldn’t be vaccinated, the challenges of becoming a new parent and meeting new people, and, when kids started climbing trees, the concept of healthy risk-taking. Those conversations quickly turned to respecting wildlife as we approached an old well. “Wow, that’s a lot of snakes,” remarked one father, staring at a squirming mass of more than two dozen legless reptiles. Then different dads started sharing observations with the group: “Let’s think about how the snakes are feeling right now with all of us surrounding them.” “See how that snake is coiled up? What do you think they’re trying to tell you?” “Notice how there’s so many snakes in this well? What do you think they’re doing there?” For several minutes, the group got up close and personal with the local wildlife while asking tons of questions and thinking about the possible answers. When the children started getting a bit too comfortable and a few of the snakes started looking distressed, I knew it was time to leave. “Hey, folks, let’s give these snakes some space and head out onto the trails,” I said. “Who’s ready?” My 5-year-old daughter, Coraline, immediately looked up from the snakes and yelled, “Let’s go, Dad Guild!” as she sprinted ahead of the group, toward the forest. I started Dad Guild after noticing a lack of father-specific support, community and programs in the greater Burlington area. What started out as a group of a couple dozen dads meeting awkwardly at playgrounds has turned into a 501c3 nonprofit organization with a network of nearly 600 fathers. An average of 100 of those dads actively participate in some way every month. Dad Guild seeks to support dads and shift societal norms around fatherhood engagement. We want to dismantle norms around gender equity in parental roles and ensure that all non-birth partners get the support they need to raise healthy children. 16


Dad Guild playground playgroup at Fort Ethan Allen Park in Colchester

We know that one type of “dads’ group” isn’t going to meet the needs of all fathers on their parenting journeys, so we offer multiple avenues for connection. Over the past three years, Dad Guild has provided more than 500 hours of programming. We’ve run playgroups, book groups, workshops, Zoom check-ins, volunteer opportunities, intentional peer support groups, newsletters, dads’ night out opportunities and walks. We also maintain an active Facebook group. The community response has been huge. In addition to the growing number of dads in our organization’s fatherhood network, we’ve also established relationships with more than 40 community partners and generated statewide interest in our work from other communities. Mothers are reaching out to us, too, expressing a desire to get their spouses involved. The need is there, and we’re trying to keep up with it. For the first three years, Dad Guild was a volunteer-run organization. I typically spent 15 hours a week on it, along with a supportive board of directors, while I held jobs at Howard Center and, most recently, the Janet S. Munt Family Room to pay the bills. At the Family Room, I’ve worked with a large number of fathers who have multiple barriers in their lives, including a lack of housing, a history of

trauma, legal issues and/or addiction. I’ve learned a lot about the systems and structures in our society that could be strengthened to better support fathers from all backgrounds. But as Dad Guild grows, juggling both of my roles is proving to be too much. At the end of May, I’m resigning from my position at the Family Room to focus entirely on Dad Guild. I’m filled with anxiety but also recognize the need for building systems and structures that actively encourage father engagement. Here’s what’s next for Dad Guild. • FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY: To ensure that this organization is around for years to come, we need to increase awareness of our work and find additional revenue streams. Without the funding to pay for this work, it won’t be possible. • STATEWIDE COALITION: We’ve had conversations with a handful of partners about creating a statewide fatherhood coalition, one that allows folks to share resources and perspectives, as well as to collaborate on innovative strategies that support non-birth partners from all backgrounds. • RESOURCE CREATION: We want our website to be a destination for all types of resources related to fatherhood, accessible without needing to actively participate in programming.



are a lot of organizations whose work intersects with ours, including those focusing on suicide prevention, treatment for substance abuse and stopping domestic violence. We look forward to collaborating with community partners to work on these issues.

We’ve gotten requests to replicate what we’re doing outside of Chittenden County. We’re excited to help others develop strategies for increasing father engagement in their own communities.

I’m feeling a wide range of emotions related to my upcoming professional transition. On one hand, I’m incredibly excited to be in a place where I can devote 100 percent of my professional energy to growing this organization. On the other hand, I’m pretty anxious about needing to make enough money to help support my family of four — six, if you include the cats. One thing is certain though: I believe in the work that Dad Guild is doing. We’re on a path to make Vermont one of the nation’s leaders for fatherhood support and engagement. Here’s to the road ahead. K Learn more about Dad Guild at

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Maternity Fashion to Beat the Heat I

’m so ready for the summer heat and so excited to leave behind my heavy coats and winter boots and step into the sun wearing lighter layers. I’m also 24 weeks pregnant as I write this. It’s comforting to know that as my baby and body grow, I’ll be able to shed a bit of the bulk in my clothing. I’m not naïve about the fact that summer plus pregnancy equals overheating. But as someone who was born and raised in Hawaii, and went through my first pregnancy there, I feel well prepared to handle New England in July. For those of you seeking a low-budget upgrade to your maternity wardrobe this summer, find a shopping list for your next thrifting trip below. These items will help you keep your cool over the next few months.

BIKER SHORTS I try to buy apparel that I know will get a lot of use. With maternity clothing, this usually means something I’ll wear frequently throughout my pregnancy and be able to wear postpartum, as well. Biker shorts fit the bill. Even if you’re not a fan of wearing them on their own, they’re a perfect piece to layer under skirts and dresses to help with the chafing that is often unavoidable in the sweaty summer months.

AN EXTRA LAYER I know it seems counterintuitive to wear more clothes in the heat, but a lightweight outer layer might be just what you need to maximize your time in the sun. A breathable long-sleeve top will keep the sun off your skin without heating 18


you up, leaving you cool and protected. You can easily use a prepregnancy button-up top for this purpose (unbuttoned, of course!), but lightweight shawls and cardigans are great items to thrift while you’re pregnant, as you’ll be able to use them postpartum, as well.

NATURAL MATERIALS When getting dressed for a hot day or shopping for summer maternity clothing, I gravitate toward natural, breathable materials. Cotton is my favorite, but I also love linen and some silk options. If an item of clothing is made from material that lets a breeze pass through it, I’m likely to grab it from my closet on a hot day.

SHOES THAT GROW WITH YOU Swollen feet in the summer heat are a total nuisance, but during my first pregnancy, a friend gave me advice that led to the best purchase of my pregnancy: Buy a pair of slipon sandals with adjustable straps. It felt great to loosen the straps as my feet grew wider and wider. And because they were slip-ons, I didn’t have to bend over my belly before I left the house every day. If you want a different style, look for a pair of shoes a half-size larger than you usually wear to give yourself some wiggle room in that third trimester.

SUN HAT A wide-brimmed topper is at the top of my thrift list for the summer. I remember dying for shade during the last months of my first pregnancy, and it often meant planting myself under a tree. This time, I’m taking my shade with me everywhere I go. If your skin is sensitive to the sun, this will be a key summer accessory for you, as the protection will allow you to enjoy those outdoor summer barbecues a bit longer!

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5/12/22 1:14 PM


SCORECARD Connect to History

Write a Letter

Future History

Pitch In

Visit the Capitol

Listen Local

Deed Search

Library Loan

See the Spot


Remember This

Clean Up




Connect to Neighbors

Take Control


Read a Newspaper

Appreciate Art

Act Locally

Explain the Motto

What’s in a Name?

Make a Map

Think Globally

Watch the News

Organize Support

Consider Candidates

L E A R N A B O U T V E R M O N T • H AV E F U N • H E L P O T H E R S

GOODCITIZENVT.COM Challenge Organizers


Empowering Vermont’s youth to close the opportunity gap.





7 1 23 6 14 15 20 19 16 3 5 12 8 24 22 9 17 2 11 13 4 10 21 18

Respectfully Disagree


id you know the first commercial globe maker in the United States lived in Bradford, Vt.? The Vermont History Museum has an exhibit about him opening this summer. Farmer and blacksmith James Wilson learned cartography, geography and engraving, and in 1810 made and sold the first globes produced in the Americas. They helped people in the U.S. understand more about the world and their place in it.

Learn more about your community, country and world by doing the Good Citizen Challenge! Complete the Challenge for a chance to win a new globe, a $100 gift card to Phoenix Books and a trip to Washington, D.C.! All who finish the Challenge will be invited to a VIP reception at the Vermont State House this fall.

INSTRUCTIONS Complete a horizontal, vertical or diagonal row of five activities. Mark each completed box and snap a photo of each activity to show evidence of your work. Upload a photo of your completed scorecard, and evidence of your work, at Or mail the scorecard and evidence, along with your name and contact info, to: Seven Days/Kids VT, PO Box 1164, Burlington, VT, 05402-1164, attn: Good Citizen. No purchase necessary. Participants must be 18 or under to be eligible for prizes. Each completed scorecard counts as one entry in the prize drawing. Participants can enter multiple scorecards, but activities must be repeated for each one.

Deadline to enter is September 5, 2022.






Free Museum Visit (center square): Go to the Vermont History Museum. Good Citizen Challenge participants and their families get in free! The exhibit about globe maker James Wilson opens on July 3.


15. Visit the Capitol: Walk inside the Vermont State House to see the House and Senate chambers. If you can, take a free guided tour or self-guided audio tour.


Connect to History: Pick one of these Vermonters from history and learn about their life at Then complete an activity related to or inspired by them or their accomplishments: visiting the town where they lived, for example, or writing a poem or creating artwork.

20. Listen Local: Listen to a locally produced podcast from Vermont Public Radio. Choose one of these episodes of “Brave Little State”: “How Is Climate Change Affecting Vermont Right Now?” (April 5, 2019) or “Brave Little State’s 4th Annual Brief History of Vermont Road Names” (September 9, 2021). Younger participants can listen to one of these episodes of “But Why?: A Podcast for Curious Kids”: “Why Can’t Kids Vote?” (October 9, 2020) or “Why Is Russia Invading Ukraine?” (March 11, 2022).

• • • • •

James Wilson Daisy Turner Abby Hemenway Stephen Bates Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley


Make a Map: Draw or design a map of a place you know well.


See the Spot: Visit a state historical marker. Find a list at


What’s in a Name?: Pick a Vermont place name — a town, a road, a lake, a mountain — and find out where it comes from. Ask your librarian or local historical society for help.



Remember This: Public memorials commemorate people and events a community wants everyone to remember. Visit a memorial in a Vermont town and find out who it honors, and why. Future History: Pick an object in your life that could be part of a future museum exhibit and write a label for it. Tell us what it’s called, where it came from and how it’s used.



Respectfully Disagree: Watch a short video about One Small Step, a public radio project that brings people who disagree with each other together for meaningful conversations. Practice talking with someone who disagrees with you about something — for example, a movie, a kind of food or a political issue. Listen to them and share what you think without using sarcasm, name-calling, insults or eyerolling. Tell us how it went. Connect to Neighbors: Join your neighborhood Front Porch Forum and write a post about your experiences taking the Good Citizen Challenge. Under 14? Ask an adult to post for you. Act Locally: Do something to help people in your community. For example: Make a cheerful sign, weed a public garden or help seniors learn to use digital devices.

10. Think Globally: Do something to learn about or help a community far away. For example: Watch a documentary, or attend a vigil, rally or event about a global issue such as war or climate change. 11.

Organize Support: Use Front Porch Forum to organize a donation drive for a charity or shared resource such as a food shelf, library or homeless shelter.

12. Clean Up: Spend at least 15 minutes picking up litter in a public place. 13. Appreciate Art: Find and reflect on a mural or sculpture in a public place. Tell us how it makes you feel. 14. Pitch In: Help a friend or neighbor with yard work or chores.

16. Library Loan: Borrow something from your local library — a book, a garden tool, a park pass, a telescope, etc. 17. Explain the Motto: Vermont’s state motto is “Freedom and Unity.” What does that mean to you? Make a piece of art — a poem, drawing, song, etc. — to explain. 18. Consider the Candidates: Watch or listen to a debate featuring candidates running for office in the August 9 primary election or the November 8 general election. 19. Deed Search: Go to your city or town hall and find the deed for a property that’s important to you.

SHARE YOUR PROGRESS AND INSPIRE OTHERS! • Upload high-quality photos of your work to goodcitizenvt. com. We’ll publish the best entries in Kids VT and/or Seven Days. • Write a letter to the editor about the Challenge to your local newspaper. • Post about the Challenge on your neighborhood Front Porch Forum, or if you’re under 14, ask an adult to post for you.

21. Watch the News: Watch a local TV news broadcast or the latest episode of “Vermont This Week” on Vermont PBS, available to steam online at 22. Read a Newspaper: Read a whole issue of your local community newspaper — find a list of Vermont papers at Can’t find your paper? Try the library. 23. Write a Letter: Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper about something or someone in your community that you appreciate. 24. Take Control: Improve your attention and ability to focus by changing your relationship to your digital devices. Do at least one of the suggested activities on the Take Control checklist from the Center for Humane Technology. Find it at

BONUS: Complete all activities in one category to be eligible for category prizes! More info online. SUBMIT YOUR ENTRIES AT

GOODCITIZENV T.COM See instructions at left. Got questions? Contact us at or 802-865-1020, ext. 114. KIDS VT SUMMER 2022


Leaving the Nest

A new mom’s guide to getting ready, staying organized and finding social time BY COREY BARROWS


recently came across a memorable quote: “It’s easy to take care of a baby. It’s not easy to do anything else with a baby.” I’m only eight months in, but it really resonated with me. When I went back to work after my maternity leave, I quickly realized I needed to make some changes to my routine to stay sane — and that I can’t put on a shirt until I’m ready to leave the house, because I will get puked on. For those of you who are expecting, or just embarking on your parenthood journey, I compiled and crowdsourced a few tips for getting out, staying organized and finding time to hang out with friends. More seasoned parents may appreciate some of these suggestions, too.

Wear your baby! Social events are much easier to navigate hands-free.

GETTING OUT OF THE HOUSE As an event planner, I have to look ahead and prepare for all the things that could go wrong. This skill comes in handy when you have a baby. For example, what if my child has a blowout at an inconvenient time and location? For those who are unfamiliar with the term, a “blowout” means that your child’s poop is so forceful that it leaks out of the diaper onto their back, leg, stomach or, if you’re really lucky, your white duvet cover (which happened to me yesterday morning before work … Note to self: Get rid of all things that are white in my house). How the heck do you prepare for poop-tastrophes and other unexpected challenges? • Always give yourself extra time before leaving the house. In most cases, something unexpected will happen, and the buffer will prevent you from constantly being late. • Bring extra food and a change of clothes for you and your little one. That way, if a quick trip turns into a longer outing, you’re covered. • Have extra diapers, wipes, etc., on you at all times. For air travel, one parent suggested making “changing kits” that consist of one diaper and four wipes in a plastic bag. That way you can throw away the whole thing, along with the dirty diaper, at the end of the flight. • Level up with a stylish and functional diaper bag that holds all your gear. I recently treated myself to the Citi Explorer Diaper Bag from the Citi Collective. I love it! I can fit diapers, wipes, bottles, my lunch and my laptop in the various pockets. Who doesn’t love a good pocket? Plus, I can wear it on my back and live that hands-free life — which is really important when you’re lugging around an infant carrier.

STAYING ORGANIZED I’m slowly accepting the fact that my house will never be as tidy and organized as I like, ever again. And that has nothing to do with my baby — my husband loves making piles on every surface he can find. ;) How do you stay organized when you’re not in control? • Meal prep for childcare on Sunday or the night before. It makes the morning routine so much easier when everything is planned, cut and packed. While 22


Corey with her family and friend hiking in Colchester

narration of your actions, you’ll likely entertain your baby and help develop their language skills. • For parents with older kids: Give each kid an ageappropriate task. This might be as simple as: “It’s your job to make sure the stuffed animal makes it into the car when we leave each location.” Kids love to help, and it’s a baby step toward taking responsibility for bigger things. • Toddlers love to imitate their parents — give them a sponge, a feather duster or an empty spray bottle, and put them to work. They’ll have fun and learn how to clean at the same time. Corey with her son and friends at Maquam Barn & Winery in Milton

you’re at it, pack your lunch for the next day, too. The less you have to do in the morning, the better. • Utilize curbside pickup services offered by stores such as Hannaford and Target. That way, you don’t have to lug around your little one while running errands. • To help coordinate with your partner, or just to remind yourself, put a whiteboard on the fridge that lists all the activities, meals, pickups and drop-offs for the week. • Do minor housework, like folding laundry or cleaning out a drawer, as you’re taking care of the baby. This will help you in the long run, because you’ll always be able to find what you’re looking for when you’re in a rush. And if you provide play-by-play

FINDING PERSONAL TIME When I was pregnant, everyone would tell me, “Say goodbye to your personal life!” Then they would laugh and walk away. To those people, thank you so much for that amazing tip — really helpful. Yes, I can no longer run a quick errand, go to the gym or grab dinner with a friend without coordinating with my husband first. But I can still carve out some “me time.” It just requires more effort and planning. Here’s some advice that I think is a little more productive and encouraging. • Set obtainable goals. If you want to exercise more, don’t say, “Oh, I really need to get back into yoga.” Instead say, “I’m going to take two yoga classes a week.” Then, look ahead at your week and plan how to make that happen. If going somewhere to exercise is too much of a stretch, try to incorporate your child into your exercise

routine. This past weekend, I put my son in his activity center in our garage as I worked out, and he was entranced by my single-leg dead lifts and hollow holds. If you’re feeling really ambitious, use your child as a free weight. A goblet squat with a 23-pound kiddo is sure to activate those glutes. • Wear your baby! Social events are much easier to navigate hands-free. Having your baby close allows friends and family to ooh and aah over their toes and fingers in a way that doesn’t overstimulate them. Parents I asked

recommended the Ergobaby and BabyBjörn carriers. • Invite your friends to hang out with you at home, but set expectations. Before I was a mom, an invitation to my house was usually accompanied by dinner, or at least a snack. Those days are over. When friends come over now, I tell them to eat beforehand or suggest that we order takeout. Mama is tired after working all day and doesn’t have the bandwidth to make food. Also, be sure to let friends know when your kids go to sleep. Those

without kids, who are used to hanging out late into the evening, might need a gentle reminder that your bedtime is earlier than it used to be. If you’re like me, just fall asleep on the couch while they’re there, and they’ll get the hint. • Take note of your child’s nap schedule and use those windows of opportunity to get things done. And if during that nap window you decide to neglect the laundry, dishes and other chores, that’s OK, too. That time is for you — do what you want! • If there’s an event you want to attend

— for example, the farmers market or a craft festival — and you can’t find childcare, ask a trusty friend, who you know won’t mind holding your bag or waiting while you change a diaper, to join you and your babe. Things take longer with kids, so patience is key. • Remember that it’s OK to neglect your social life a little and embrace the chaos of this time. You’ll get your sense of organization and social life back one day. It might look different than it did before, but it will be awesome in a new way. K

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eo Watch a vid g n featuri a at Eddie Merm m/ sevendaysv on kids-vt and WCAX-TV

Eddie Merma standing with the creations

Eddie Merma, Founder of the Sculpture School


any kids like to ride roller coasters, but would you trust them to build one? Eddie Merma would. The intrepid artist runs the Sculpture School on Knoll Farm in Waitsfield, where he works with roughly 200 kids ages 8 to 16 each year. He teaches them to use power tools and their imaginations to create everything from plastic-bottle boats to a Fourth of July parade float to an operational, 200-foot roller coaster out of recycled materials. Merma got interested in education after graduating from Columbia College Chicago. Fluent in both Spanish and English, he spent time as a caseworker running art lessons in a program for kids at risk of dropping out or being expelled from school. During that time, Merma learned that large-scale, handson creative work can have a transformative impact on young people. In 2013, he moved to Waitsfield to work on Knoll Farm as a farm assistant alongside farmers Peter

Forbes and Helen Whybrow. The idea for the Sculpture School took root after Merma set up his art studio in an underused storage shed and began collaborating on projects with the farmers’ then-8-year-old daughter, Wren Fortunoff; she’ll graduate from high school this year. Given the hands-on nature of the Sculpture School, Merma devotes the first day of each session to safety. In eight years, he said, he’s never had any injuries beyond bee stings, splinters and minor scrapes. Then the kids get to work. ​​ “We’re collaborating together where they’re the makers,” he said. “I’m like the assistant.” Though his summer programs are currently full, Merma will post fall offerings in July. Read on to learn what inspired him to create the Sculpture School, which he calls “a skate park for makers.” On his childhood: My dad’s from Peru. My mom’s from Guatemala, and they met in Chicago, where I was born. Traveling to those

Using power tools during fort building in April

countries when I was a kid and seeing how kids played there — as a child, I was like, Oh, that’s crazy that they’re using this trash as a toy. But I saw how much enjoyment they got out of it. If you’re coming from a place of scarcity, I think that’s where innovation really picks up.

On tinkering in the garage with his dad: He was just a do-it-yourself kind of person. As an immigrant, I think you really have to troubleshoot yourself, especially if you don’t know the language. You really have to figure things out. My dad’s a problem solver. He has that VERMONT VISIONARIES, P. 28 » KIDS VT SUMMER 2022



Vermont Visionaries CONTINUED FROM P. 27

mentality of, There’s always a solution. He instilled that in me. As a kid, skateboarding was the biggest thing in my life. There was no skate park in my town, so we wanted to make skate ramps. The fact that my dad was making these toy ramps with me that could potentially break my leg or my ankle — it’s a huge risk. But as a parent, if you can give that trust to your child, see what they’re interested in, help them lean in to it, let them take those risks and find their boundaries themselves — I think that’s huge. That’s how I treat this place. I think of it as a skate park for makers, for creativity, where kids can come and they make their own choices. There’s adults. We’re watching. We’re monitoring. There’s teenagers that come and help me. My role is not necessarily to tell them no but to ask how. On building oversize structures: I think when kids build something bigger than themselves, they have the opportunity to create their world more. It’s physical, and they’re moving. I think such a big part of education is that they can move, that they can touch stuff, that they can climb stuff. It’s a little risky. Those things make the learning experience exciting. I try to work as a collaborator with them. We’re on the same playing field — creatively, at least. That was my goal from the beginning: to keep it small, to keep it for this community, and to see kids from kindergarten through high school and to be able to support them through their path. The goal here isn’t to make someone be a carpenter. It’s more about the imagination. It’s more about unlocking something and keeping that creativity going — a way of seeing the world. You see this? [Holds up a slab of wood.] This could be trash to someone, right? But this could also be a post to someone. This could also be the start of a tabletop. You can sand it and unlock what’s inside of it. You can cut it up into 10 pieces, and this could be bricks. The goal is to see thousands of possibilities in something. I think that’s really what unlocks a lot of stuff in your life. No matter if you become a plumber or if you become a surgeon or whatever path you choose, you can always employ that idea of being resourceful and being creative. On being free from perfectionism: Nothing’s really permanent. Everything is 28


Fort building in April

Eddie Merma collaborating with students

always getting broken down and recycled. I think that puts an emphasis on the process and takes emphasis away from the product. In other maker programs that I’ve seen, the emphasis is on the product, and I think that stifles the process because you’re afraid to make mistakes. If you know that this isn’t permanent — maybe it’ll last a year or two — you approach it with more freedom. You approach it with more curiosity.

How one person’s junk is another person’s treasure: Have you ever heard of Adventure Playground in Berkeley? It’s a junk playground. The idea of Adventure Playground came from World War II in Europe. There [were] all these destroyed, empty lots from the war. There was a landscape architect who was rebuilding parks for kids. But he noticed that the parks that he was building,

no kids were playing in. They were all playing in the abandoned lots. So, this concept started coming up of Adventure Playground, which is just junk playgrounds. Because of the materials, the riskiness — it wasn’t organized in the way that the adult thought that play existed — it was a more wild kind of thing. I was at the dump, and I was like, There’s so many plastic bottles. The materials really inform a lot of the projects. I’ll go to construction sites and pull from their burn piles. This board [picks up a slab of wood] has probably been five different things. I’ll reuse it until it’s a tiny little piece, and then it’s no longer anything we can use, and then it will go to my burn pile. But even when it’s in the burn pile, kids are like, That could be something. What I really love is walking around and seeing a piece and seeing the Sharpie marker message on it, or seeing three coats of paint on it and looking back like, Oh, yeah, that’s the parade float from 2018. And then it became a soapbox derby car from 2020. Oh, and now it’s a ladder rung. Every piece has a little history to it. I love that. K This interview was edited and condensed for clarity and length.

Visit the American Precision Museum and see how STEM & design relate to machines and history.

Let your kids DRIVE FAST here!!




July 26-30 & August 23-27 HOURS

July 26-30 & Cost $450.00 August 23-27

Monday to Friday 9:00am-3:00 pm


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DATES Vtsimracer is a 4-seat race driving venue perfect for kids of any age July 26-30 & that like to go fast! With hundreds of real life tracks and all kinds 23-27 of different race cars and trucks to drive, VtsimracerAugust will give you a HOURS driving experience just like driving a real car! 4 people can race head Monday to Friday to head. Book an hour today!

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BOOK ONLINE AT 294 NORTH WINOOSKI AVE | BURLINGTON, VT 05401 | 802-448-3107 k4t-BurlyAxe0522.indd 1

DATES July 26-30 & August

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KINGDOM MTN BIKE CAMPS Kingdom Mtb Camps are skill-oriented mountain bike day and overnight programs for boys and girls who want to improve and have FUN! The Overnight Development Camp at Burke Mtn Academy, July 31-August 5th, is for your active daughter or son who loves riding -getting sweaty, muddy, dusty and meeting new friends. It promises physical and developmental growth as our time off the bike will be spent adventuring to other areas of the NEK like Lake Willoughby, breathtaking hikes, secret swimming holes, team sports and more. Our day camps are Monday-Friday, 9:00-12:00, late June through August. We also have weekend and family programs to suit your needs. Celebrating our 11th year and now servicing over 150 kids each summer helping them to safely progress and have fun out on the trails and not on their phone!

“My daughter came back from camp a changed girl, not only did she gain a huge amount of skill on the bike but her self esteem and confidence level grew leaps and bounds.” -JENNY FISHER k4t-KingdomCamps0522.indd 1

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5/11/22 2:01 PM


STAR TURNS For young actors, Very Merry Theatre provides ample opportunities

Don Wright directing rehearsals with the cast of Frozen



he young cast of a recent Very Merry Theatre production, The Adventures of Buster Bear, spread across the stage during a rehearsal at the company’s headquarters in Burlington’s Old North End Community Center. “Rodents, scamper!” called out Very Merry founder and director Don Wright from the lip of the stage. The children, portraying forest creatures, frolicked among the woodland set pieces. One young actor, probably 8 or 9 years old, suggested an alternate version of their blocking. Though the stage directions went unchanged, Wright considered the suggestion seriously and respectfully. It was a small moment, but it said a lot about the theater group’s culture. “[Don’s] always open to input,” said Trudy Farrell, 15, a Burlington High School student who plays Sandy in an upcoming production of Grease on Friday and Saturday, May 20 and 21. A longtime Very Merry player with more acting credits than she could quickly count, she continued, “It makes better scenes. You can kind of work together versus somebody telling you what to do, which I really appreciate.” 30


Very Merry founder and director Don Wright

Collaboration, inclusivity and adaptability are three of Very Merry’s hallmarks. Celebrating its 20th year in 2022, the nonprofit provides a nearly preposterous number of opportunities for young thespians to explore the stage. It partners with Chittenden County

schools to produce and perform original plays, and it stages additional shows at its Burlington studio. As its Saturday drama club, running since September, winds up on May 28, a slew of summer camps are gearing up to start. Wright estimates that he works with

1,000 kids per year in 40 individual productions. In April, he was directing five shows concurrently, with kids from first grade through high school. Amy Riley of Full Circle Theater Collaborative, another Vermont youth theater group, said Very Merry offers a wide variety of entry points for curious kids. “If you’re a student who’s driven to sort of explore different areas, you have the opportunity to run with that,” she said by phone. “They’re designing the costumes and designing the sets. Sometimes they’re leading warm-ups and actually running rehearsals.” Very Merry regularly works with schools in Burlington, South Burlington, Westford, Winooski and Essex Junction to put on school plays. Grants from the Vermont Council on the Arts pay for its programs in other schools throughout northwestern Vermont. This summer, it will offer 13 camps, some of which culminate in its famous Traveling Theatre Wagon tours, in which kids perform on a distinctive mobile stage — constructed on an 18-foot boat trailer — that traverses the state. “I’ve always looked at Very Merry


as a community,” Wright said. “Every other art form folds into it. You have architecture and visual arts and singing and dancing and acting and Kids VT asked former Very Merry Theatre parmusic. There are so ticipants and their parents to share memories many doors into the of their time in the troupe and what it meant to them. Here are some of their reflections: experience.” The son of educators at Proctor Academy in Andover, We are so grateful for all the N.H., Wright grew up in a crejoy and community Very ative environment. His mother, Merry Theatre has brought Nancy Means Wright, who died our family for over 10 years. in early 2022, was a writer who Both of our sons were involved with Very Merry encouraged Don to explore productions during their classic literature and theater. childhood, but our younger In 1987, after delving into film son, Declan, literally grew studies in college, he founded up on the Very Merry Home Base, a nonprofit that Theatre stage, participating provides home care for adults in 59 shows! with developmental disabilities. — Colby Kervick In the ’90s, Wright helped and Garth Allen out with plays at Edmunds Elementary and Middle schools, A favorite memory? I have where his sons were enrolled to look at my experiences as a whole at the time, and he ran summer during many years as a boots-ontheater camps in Burlington and the-ground parent, a board prez, set Charlotte; the latter still exists. builder, marketer and all-around In 2002, Wright organized his ambassador. Very Merry Theatre is theatrical efforts by establishing far and away the most extraordinary Very Merry. His team includes community builder I’ve ever been part of. music director Ashley O’Brien, choreographer Karen Amirault, — Bill Harvey and dozens of set builders, lighting technicians and musicians. Favorite memory: When our three Over the years, they’ve offered kids (Tasha, Dale and Abraham) were more programming than any in Annie and sang the entire show other children’s theater group in nonstop during our spring break Don Wright with the state. some of the cast vacation! It was so heartwarming to of Frozen Some Very Merry plays are hear them all sing together. Broadway Junior versions of — Genevieve Henry shows like Grease, and Disney adaptations such as Moana I began helping out with the sound and Frozen. But the bulk of its system and set construction projects productions are original shows when my daughter was in first grade, featuring legacy characters, 16 years ago. Don always lays things such as Peter Pan and Alice (of out as he imagined them but allows Wonderland fame), who now room for expression and encourages are in the public domain. Wright us all to contribute our own ideas. has also adapted Shakespeare For sound, it was important to get all those voices (some of them very and Charles Dickens. Titles tiny!) to be heard. When a solo came include Great Expectations; A up, I would get so much joy making Midsummer Night’s Dream: The that voice soar in all its glory. I ’40s Musical; Romeo and Juliet: strived to pull up even the shyest The ’60s Musical; and King Lear: voices of those that had put so much The Western. time in memorizing and rehearsing Wright pens the stories their lines. and song lyrics; the scores are — Greg Hancock composed by local musicians such as O’Brien, Bill Mullins, Jim Wolvington, Mary Ann Samuels, Mark Ransom and Brett Hughes.





WHEN INVOLVED: Part of the first

WHEN INVOLVED: Third grade through senior

troupe in 2002; part of the teen troupe; worked for Very Merry Theatre during the summer and for afterschool programming through 2010; served for a year on the board of directors

NOW: Partner and operations

manager, Lewis Creek Builders

Very Merry has had an enormous and lasting impact on my life. I have close friends I met 20 years ago through VMT. Adults often labeled me as “shy” when I was a young kid, but performing with Very Merry helped me find my voice and get comfortable putting myself out there. It instilled in me a deep sense of empowerment, responsibility and community. Everyone is coming together to create something bigger and better than any person could do alone. That, paired with the trust and artistic license given to cast members — and teenage staff members — gave me the sense that I can do anything, but that I don’t have to do it alone. Many of my favorite memories are moments when the kids, staff and parents all came together to make magic out of less-than-ideal circumstances during the summer programs. Performing on the wagon on a gorgeous Vermont summer day is fabulous, but my strongest memories are from the rainy days when we transformed a barn, library or church into a forest, jungle or castle in a couple of hours.

HENRY SEVERANCE WHEN INVOLVED: Ages 7 to 10 NOW: Clark University graduate student

studying community development

I really wasn’t interested in acting. I have a distinct memory of having to be dragged out of the car to go to one of those summer camps. But I think it speaks to the strength of Very Merry Theatre and the flexibility that they were able to find other things for me to do. I got to paint sets and do all these other things outside of acting that seemed more interesting to me. I noticed during late middle school and early high school that a lot of the kids who had started out with me were continuing to act with Very Merry, but they were also turning around and mentoring the next generation. I thought it was a pretty profound model of cultivating leadership. Very Merry is partially about the plays, but it’s also just sort of about that sense of community.

year at Burlington High School; worked as a counselor at Very Merry summer camps

NOW: Member of the Burlington School Board; University of Vermont graduate student studying clinical mental health counseling

My favorite memory was playing Daddy Warbucks in the eighth grade, in a production of Annie. It was just so cool to be given a large role. It was with all my best friends, and I got every kid who didn’t do theater to come fool around and try it with me. I think my first play was in third grade — Peter Pan, at Edmunds Elementary. I played a “star.” I think the stars were guiding Peter Pan and all the children when they were flying and making sure they weren’t hurting themselves. Don just wants to incorporate as many children as possible, and he makes up roles. Sometimes kids are really shy or don’t know what to do, and Don makes sure there’s a small thing for everyone. Don is really serious about getting New Americans involved, in getting children who weren’t ever interested in doing theater involved. He wants to make Very Merry Theatre as inclusive as possible. There were two kids at Edmunds Elementary when I was there, who I knew really well, who were new to the country. And as they started doing theater, you could just tell that, as the years went on, their English progressed so much more. It’s just so cool to see how Don affected the community.

ALEXANDRA BROWN WHEN INVOLVED: Ages 7 to 18; counselor at

Very Merry Theatre summer camps

NOW: Student at Mount Holyoke College

Very Merry was an extremely important and impactful part of my childhood. When I was 13, I became a counselor during the summers. People don’t often talk about their summer jobs as being the highlights of their childhood, but I can honestly say that many of my fondest memories are from this experience. Being a counselor at VMT provided me opportunities to lead, problem solve, be creative, and learn from Don, Ashley and the older staff members. I got to take on so many roles through that job, from using power tools to build sets, leading raucous games of capture the flag, to having conversations with young campers about our favorite female role models. I also took so many skills from this job. In the short term, it inspired me to start my own summer camp in my backyard, leading little kids in creating and performing a play. Long-term, it gave me the ability to connect and engage with anyone, bringing even the shyest of campers into the group and making them feel included and welcomed. I can only hope that one day my children will have the same opportunity I did to grow and find themselves through an environment like Very Merry.



Star Turns

Talent Development




June 19-25 &/or June 26-July 2 Providing fun and engaging activities for advanced and gifted students entering grades 4-9. Celebrating our 25th year at Northern Vermont University — Johnson!


Snack on the BITE-CLUB NEWSLETTER for a taste of this week’s flavorful food coverage. It’ll hold you over until Wednesday. SUBSCRIBE AT

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Aside from saving money on just what you can do with Band-Aids, licensing fees, Wright said, the bubblegum and children.” adaptations provide an opportunity Low-tech doesn’t mean scarce to create new characters. resources; the company’s storage area “It allows us to have each child is stuffed with piles of old backdrops, have a [named character],” Wright set pieces and thousands of costumes. explained — helpful because the Aside from providing a showcase troupe makes no for the talents of cuts. Anyone who young Vermonters, wants a part gets a Very Merry instills part. And in older confidence, passion students’ school and artistic ownermusicals — and ship in its actors. in all camps — “I think, with anyone who wants the younger groups, to sing a solo has [Don] tries to DON WRIGHT the opportunity. help them create Parent voluntheir characters,”

Our motto is: All children take center stage.

2/8/22 2:56 PM

New Village Farm

Located in Shelburne, VT, New Village Farm invites your family to join us outdoors all year. Our opportunities include:


5/11/22 1:11 PM

30 State St | Montpelier MON-FRI 10-4 | SAT 10-5 | SUN 10-3



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teerism is integral to VMT’s success. Gretchen Platt, whose three kids have been involved with the group, is its lead parent volunteer at Edmunds Elementary. She coordinates rehearsal spaces, organizes other parent helpers and oversees fundraising. Bake sales and playbill ads ensure that no child is turned away for lack of funds. Sometimes parents even end up onstage. In past productions of Peter Pan, Peter and other characters “fly” without harnesses and cables. Instead, the actors’ parents, dressed in black, lift their kids to a prone position on their shoulders and zoom them around. “I tend to go kind of low-tech,” Wright said, adding, “It’s kind of fun and charming to have kids’ theater be

explained Edmunds Middle School eighth grader Kuba Thelemarck, 14. “But, as we get older, he kind of wants us to have an idea of what our character should be, what they’re trying to get and what they want.” “They always make sure that you feel comfortable,” added Keola Bennett-Jones, 13, of Hunt Middle School. “Say you’re playing a girl character, and they usually wear a dress, and you don’t like wearing dresses. They’ll change up the costume for you.” Wright said that he and his team will do whatever it takes to ensure that kids have a place at Very Merry. “It’s all about passion and love of theater,” said Wright. “Our motto is: All children take center stage. We bend over backward to be inclusive.” K

The Community Sailing Center is a beautiful hub right on Lake Champlain perfect for children and families looking to explore the wonders of their own backyard! From award-winning youth camps, to sailing and paddle craft rentals, and even private lessons for the whole family, consider the Community Sailing Center your one-stop shop for family fun this summer!

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4/13/22 11:43 AM



SUMMER WAGON TOUR SCHEDULE All performances are free and open to the public.

DID YOU HEAR? Friday, June 17, 6:30 p.m., Staige Hill Farm, Charlotte

THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF PETER, WENDY AND HOOK Tuesday, June 28, noon, Richmond Library

Where learning is rooted in relationships. Ages 3-12

Explore. Discover. Grow.

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Wednesday, June 29, noon, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington Thursday, June 30, noon Deborah Rawson Memorial Library, Jericho Friday, July 1, 6:30 p.m., Staige Hill Farm, Charlotte

ANNIE, JR Tuesday, July 12, noon, Dorothy Alling Memorial Library, Williston Wednesday, July 13, noon, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington Thursday, July 14, noon, Shelburne Parade Grounds Friday, July 15, 6:30 p.m., Staige Hill Farm, Charlotte

THE MUSIC MAN Thursday, July 28, 2 p.m., Hancock House, Ticonderoga, N.Y. Friday, July 29, 2 p.m., Charlotte Library Monday, August 1, 6:30 p.m., Maple Street Park, Essex Junction Tuesday, August 2, 6:30 p.m., Bristol Village Green

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Looking for


to do?

Wednesday, August 3, 6:30 p.m., O.N.E. Community Center, Burlington Thursday, August 4, 6:30 p.m., O.N.E. Community Center, Burlington




3/30/21 2:49 PM

Save the Dates Fun stuff for families this summer



Do the Twist

Burlington’s 15th annual Festival of Fools has attendees and performers alike tongue-tied and head over heels with more than 100 free performances over three spectacular days. Church Street Marketplace fills up with buskers, dancers, sketch comedians, acrobats and more in a riotous celebration of street theater and the circus arts. Friday, August 5, through Sunday, August 7, at Church Street Marketplace in Burlington. Free. Info, 865-7166,

JUNE 2-5


Somebody Once Told Me…

…that Weston Theater is touring the state with its free production of Shrek the Musical, starting and ending at Walker Farm. Outdoor theatergoers of all ages enjoy the grousings and hijinks of everybody’s favorite ogre as he finds more than he bargained for on a quest to save the feisty Princess Fiona. Wednesday, June 22, through Sunday, July 10, 1 p.m., at Weston Playhouse Second Stage at Walker Farm and other locations statewide. Free; reserve tickets in advance. Info, 824-5288,


‘What, Like It’s Hard?’

Chandler Center for the Arts continues its nearly quarter-century tradition of putting on a Summer Youth Musical with Legally Blonde: The Musical. Teen and elementary school-age cast members tell the story of Elle Woods’ epic quest to go to Harvard Law School in an upbeat, candy-colored production sure to get audiences believing in girl power. Thursday, June 30, through Sunday, July 3, at Chandler Center for the Arts in Randolph. Price TBD. Info, 728-9878,

It Gets Butter

Lactose lovers and cream cravers have a cow at the 65th annual Vermont Dairy Festival in Enosburg Falls. Activities include the teen scholarship pageant, baking contests, fun runs for young and old, a Texas Hold ’Em tournament, milking competitions, and much more. Proceeds benefit the Enosburg Falls Lions Club, which provides financial assistance to folks in need of eyeglasses or hearing aids. Thursday, June 2, through Sunday, June 5, at various Enosburg Falls locations. Free admission; prices vary for some activities. Info, 933-4134,

Hail and Well Met

Pirates, princesses, knights and knaves rejoice at the return of the Vermont Renaissance Faire at Stowe’s Mayo Events Field. The magical weekend of merriment features such legendary sights as jousting, archery demonstrations, aerial acrobatics, dancers, bards, wizards, feasts fit for a viking warrior, and maybe even a unicorn. Saturday, June 25, and Sunday, June 26, at Mayo Events Field in Stowe. $5-30; free for kids under 6. Info, 778-9178,


We Got the Folk

For anyone looking forward to the return of outdoor concert season, Fayston’s Knoll Farm has you covered. The Picnic Concert Series features an energetic lineup of roots and bluegrass outfits, including Cold Chocolate, April Verch and Cody Walters, and Marc and Billy. Families can reserve a farm-fresh picnic basket ahead of time, pack their own or partake in pizza by the slice from a wood-fired oven. Friday, July 8; Friday, July 22; and Friday, August 12, 7 p.m., at Knoll Farm in Fayston. Price TBD. Info, 496-5686, 34



Baby, You’re a Firework

Montpelier’s blowout Independence Day celebration returns with a bang. Families attending the Capital City’s biggest annual festival witness a cavalcade of food trucks, the kid-friendly FamilyFest on the Statehouse lawn, the Montpelier Mile Road Race and a perfectly patriotic parade. The night caps off with live music and a phenomenal fireworks show, of course. Wednesday, July 3, 2-10 p.m., at various Montpelier locations. Free. Info, 233-9604,


JUNE 25 & 26

Find more family fun each week in the Seven Days calendar, available in print each Wednesday and online.




Make someone’s day a little sweeter!


with an

ICE CREAM CAKE! order now














5–7:30 p.m. | Music starts at 6 p.m.

Celebrate summer at Shelburne Museum and join us for Free First Friday Eve events this season. Enjoy an evening of live music, lawn games, food trucks, and special exhibitions – the entire Museum campus will be open and FREE to all! June 10: with Beg, Steal or Borrow July 1: with The Ray Vega Latin Jazz Sextet August 5: with Brickdrop ©Ben & Jerry’s Homemade, Inc. 2022 37333

Sept. 2: with The Reflexions

$5 OFF

medium-sized or larger cake

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JUST FOR KIDS Coloring Contest! Three winners will each receive an annual family membership to the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium. Send Kids VT your work of art by August 1. Be sure to include the info at right with your submission. Winners will be chosen in the following categories: (1) ages 5 and younger, (2) ages 6-8 and (3) ages 9-12. Winners will be named in the fall issue of Kids VT. Send your high-resolution scans to or mail a copy to Kids VT, P.O. Box 1184, Burlington, VT 05402.



Title _______________________________________ Contest sponsored by

Artist _____________________________________ Age ______________ Town __________________ Email _____________________________________ Phone _____________________________________


Become a Homeowner

through Habitat for Humanity We are accepting applications for a Partner Homeowner for homeownership opportunities in Randolph, Vermont. Apply before June 1, 2022

COLORING CONTEST WINNERS Our judges were charmed by the crackerjack submissions to this month’s coloring contest. Eleanor, 4, submitted a hopping purple bunny with a fluffy pink tail. Eight-year-old Amelia covered her creation from head to tail with the vibrant colors of the sunset. Quinn, 10, sent us a classic cottontail who favors roasting carrots to s’mores. Thanks to all who entered! We can’t wait to see what you make this summer!

The winners of annual family memberships to the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium are…

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Poppy & Tula Hoberman Defura, 5 and 3 South Burlington

“Ellie the Rabbit” 4.75 x 3.675 & under Eleanor Peltier, 4 COLCHESTER



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community arts center, theatre & gallery

2095 POMFRET RD. | SO. POMFRET, VT | (802) 457-3500

McKinley Carest, 5 Bolton

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Ariana Chanette, 9 Moretown “RAINBOW BUNNY IN THE FOREST”

Posey Ferrigno, 9 Burlington



Eliza Stanton, 8 Montpelier


River Monte, 7 Burlington

“Sunset Bunny” Amelia Evans, 8 RANDOLPH CENTER

6 to 8

Explore da Vinci’s full-size inventions brought to life!


Stella Walker, 10 South Burlington


Eisley Devit, 11 Williston


Matilda Boyce, 7 Middlebury

“Roasting Carrots” Quinn Steffens, 10 JEFFERSONVILLE

9 to 12

Sponsored by Bio X Cell, Chroma Technology, Concept2 Inc., Geokon, Mascoma Bank, and Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College

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5/12/22 4:32 PM

Youth Sports & Recreation Programs Summer Camps, Track & Field, Tennis, Flag Football, Soccer, Skateboarding, Ice Skating & more.


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obsessed? Find, fix and feather with Nest Notes — an e-newsletter filled with home design, Vermont real estate tips and DIY decorating inspirations. Sign up today at

In person appointments at our new office starting this summer Telehealth for integrative medicine and Lyme disease available now DR. KATHRYN BOULTER, ND • DR. JACKIE BURRELL, ND DR. KOREY DIROMA, ND • DR. RONALD STRAM, MD Stram Center for Integrative Medicine 150 Kennedy Dr. South Burlington, VT 05403 Phone: 802.891.3459 Fax: (802) 376-1814 38


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Katie and Kevin Titterton

Howdy, Partner To cope with COVID-19, we started a business together


eople reveal themselves when they learn you’re going into business with your spouse. The responses range from the rosy (“You’re living the dream!”) to the apocalyptic (“You’re brave. My partner and I would kill each other.”). It’s understandable: There is both fear and fascination with the unknown. Committing to a lifelong relationship with one person is daunting enough. To some, merging personal and professional lives on top of that seems completely deranged. Neither of us ever expected to run a business. We’ve both always been mission-driven arts nerds and figured we’d always work within organizations, heading to an office in the morning and home again at night. But in 2015, when our first son was born, we looked at the cost and availability of childcare compared to our nonprofit salaries. Since it was basically a wash, Katie decided she’d step out of the traditional workforce for a year, enjoy hanging out with our baby and examine new options. She worked as a freelance writer for publications including Kids VT and started offering her skills to nonprofits as a project-based communications director. Meanwhile, Kevin stepped into senior management, directing marketing at the nonprofit where he’d worked for years. We had our second son in 2018. The bags under our eyes became more pronounced, but we were advancing. But the first year of COVID-19 exploded every fault line in our work-life balance, as it did for many other working families. Kevin was burning out, with the blood pressure to prove it. Katie was plunged into crisis communications for her clients. Our kids’ early childhood education program closed. While our oldest started kindergarten on time, our

toddler was home with us, full time, for a year and a half. We were learning a valuable, obvious lesson: It is impossible to meet traditional job expectations and provide adequate care for young children at the same time. It doesn’t matter whether you work from home. A lot of parents faced this dilemma during COVID-19, and a lot of them reduced their hours or quit their jobs. And most of them were women.

Our office space is a kitchen table; our conference room is a bedroom closet. We figured these were our choices: • One of us does the unpaid kid and home duties, and the other tries to get a high-paying corporate job to cover all our bills. • We split the kid duties, Katie continues her consulting practice and Kevin becomes a wildly successful mushroom forager/yurt builder. (This plan required some magical thinking regarding finances.) • We go into business together, combining our overlapping and complementary skills and building on Katie’s existing practice and client base, while maintaining the flexibility to take care of our kids. So, in late 2021, we launched our communications business, Clear Spot, from our Richmond home. We have significantly more freedom and flexibility now — albeit the terrifying, selfdetermined kind. Neither of us can count on a salaried paycheck every two weeks. Being paid hourly has an enormous effect on our relationship to time, and an hour that isn’t spent working comes with the

understanding that we aren’t using that time to generate income for our family. There are also upsides. When our child gets sent home with a runny nose, or when we just want to go for a bike ride, we can shuffle our schedules. We work with many wonderful people who are advocating for important causes; our clients include Let’s Grow Kids and the Vermont Association for the Education of Young Children. The client variety is good cross-training for our brains. And when we find points of convergence across different sectors — which happens a lot — it really feels like we’re helping to advance the common good. One year in, we’ve yet to drive each other completely batty, but we do spend a lot of time together. In our case, our business has mutual skills and interests as its foundation. And — this is important — we like working with each other. Maybe, had COVID-19 never happened, we would have eventually taken this step anyway. But for us, necessity was the parent of entrepreneurship. We’ve all heard countless stories over the past two years about the difficulty employers face hiring and retaining employees, and the challenges families and educators experience as they try to make a broken childcare system work. We’re not unusual. When kids are young, parents live on a hamster wheel in which they need childcare so they can work so they can pay for childcare. When childcare can’t be found, or work schedules can’t accommodate childcare, the wheel stops turning and the hamster’s hair turns white. When friends ask about our professional life together, we tell them we’re not too different from any remoteworking couple, except we speak the same jargon. Building a business out of our home is cool, but it’s not glamorous. Our office space is a kitchen table; our conference room is a bedroom closet. Meetings are sometimes interrupted by a child shouting from the top of the stairs that the toilet is clogged. We do talk a lot about work, but we try to keep it to when we’re walking the dog, or when we’re making dinner and the kids are watching “The Stinky & Dirty Show.” This is us playing our hand the best we can. We’re sticking to our values and exploring what it means to be in partnership. It’s far more economically rewarding over time to stay on the salary ladder, but only one of us would be able to do that, at the other’s professional expense. Going into business together is an attempt at equity and solidarity with each other in all ways, and that has its rewards. If we can keep it up without our children forming a competing business out of the playhouse, we’ll call it a win. K

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