The Joy of Letters

The latest 'Father Figuring' column


Published:

Image courtesy of Art of Line/Shutterstock.com

I wish that joy could fill every moment of Jessie’s life, but children, like their parents, must overcome difficulties. Two major challenges Jessie has faced in her young life come to mind. 

The first was when Jessie’s beloved dog, Ginger, died. Ginger was Jessie’s “sister” and wore as many outfits as Jessie’s Barbie dolls. Jessie didn’t just cry, she wailed. 

The other time Jessie’s tears flowed faster than the tissues could keep up occurred when my wife, Mattie, and I broke the news that we were moving to a new state. Jessie knew this meant her relationship with her friends — the only friends she had ever known — would change. Of course, Mattie and I emphasized the positives of the move: a good career opportunity, closer to family (some readers might not see this as a positive) and a chance for Jessie to meet new friends. All Jessie cared about when we pulled the rug out from under her young life was that she would miss her current friends. 

I understood, as I didn’t want to move either. Switching from a manual toothbrush to an electric one is too much of an adjustment for me. I’m not a big fan of change and, from experience, I knew a move was a major one — and a big headache.

Mattie and I tried to convince Jessie that she would eventually be happy. “You can write letters, text and Instagram.” 

Even with that said, Jessie’s stuffed animals continued to collect her tears.

I’ve always heard, “Kids adjust to change much quicker than adults.” From what I’ve seen, this is true. The transition to a new state and school went well for Jessie, but I’ll let her share her thoughts with you.

JESSIE, AGE 12:

I moved from Statesboro, Georgia, at the end of last summer. I have found out that it is easier than ever to contact to your friends via text, email or social media, but of all the forms of long-distance communication, receiving good old-fashioned letters is my favorite. I go to the mailbox every day, excited to see if any of my pen pals wrote. 

I also enjoy writing letters. I have a huge tub full of cards and stationery. I enjoy thinking about the happiness receiving letters brings to others. I have saved all the letters I have received since I moved to Florida. They are special to me. I hope I have convinced you why it’s good to write letters, as well as taking advantage of today’s technology. Now, let’s get back to Dad.

Of course, a piece of paper, card or electronic post isn’t the same as an in-person hug — or dog love — but I’ll choose mail over wail anytime. Though I like to get the mail when it arrives, I wait for Jessie until she gets home from school. My reward, other than not receiving bills earlier in the day, is to see Jessie running with a card in her outstretched arm. I can always tell when she receives a letter from one of her friends, not only because she waves it high in the air, but because of the big smile on her face.

We live in a changing, challenged-filled world. It’s great when we have family and friends with whom we can share the good times — and not-so-good times. I don’t write as many letters as I once did, but Jessie is right: There is joy in both sending and receiving cards and letters. Who know? Maybe one day I’ll write a letter to a friend or family member to say how much I like my electric toothbrush, though I doubt it.

Patrick Hempfing had a 20-year professional career in banking, accounting and auditing before he became a father at age 44. He is now a full-time husband, stay-at-home dad and writer. He is the author of “MoMENts: A Dad Holds On,” available at amazon.com. Follow him at patrickhempfing.com. J.L. Hempfing, now 14, began writing with her dad in kindergarten. Her current hobbies include reading, writing, playing clarinet and alto saxophone, and dancing.

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Cost: 150

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Website »

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View map »


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More information

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View map »


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Contact Name: Elise Gammon
Website »

More information

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View map »


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Contact Name: Kelly
Website »

More information

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Cost: $70/month

Where:
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2080 E Williams St
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Apex/Holly Springs, NC  27539
View map »


Telephone: 191-990-25432
Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
Website »

More information

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Cost: 0

Where:
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Palo Alto, CA  27009
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
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Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

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Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
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Palo Alto, CA  27009
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Sponsor: ActivityHero
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Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

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Cost: FREE

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Cost: See website for fees

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Cost: 0

Where:
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Sponsor: ActivityHero
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Website »

More information

We invite all Triangle youth between the ages of 8 thru 17 with a sincere interest in the Performance Art of Magic to join Magic Youth Raleigh! This youth program teaches magic history and theory,...

Cost: $35 per Student

Where:
New Horizons Fellowship
820 E. Williams St.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: The International Brotherhood of Magicians
Contact Name: Roger Way
Website »

More information

Class Description One day event, July 1st, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm If you've never knit before or need a quick review of how to cast on, knit and cast off, this is the perfect class. We'll knit a...

Cost: $18

Where:
Online
, NC


Sponsor: Durham Arts Council
Telephone: 919-560-2726
Website »

More information

Class Description Prior registration/payment required. One day workshop. In this class, we will learn one of the basic rhythms that defines flamenco dance: bulerias, a twelve-count beat. We will...

Cost: $12

Where:
Online
, NC


Sponsor: Durham Arts Council
Telephone: 919-560-2726
Website »

More information

Drop in on a Wednesday evening between May 13 and July 1 (8-9:30 p.m.) for a supportive, inclusive, empowering virtual session for parents from prenatal through about 12 months. We'll facilitate a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Zoom
, NC


Sponsor: Triangle Area Parenting Support
Telephone: 984-464-1601
Contact Name: Leigh Greene
Website »

More information

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HEY YOU GUYS ITS THAT TIME AGAIN NLDC IS READY TO HAVE AN AWESOME SUMMER WITH YOU COME REGISTER FOR SOMETHING FUN, LEARNING EXPERIENCE AND REASONABLE IN PRICE...... HEY DON'T FORGET THIS INCLUDES...

Cost: $30 (Reg)-$120(weekly)

Where:
No Limitz Dance Company Studio
3326 Durham Chapel Hill Blvd Suite C-130
Durham , NC  27707
View map »


Telephone: 919-391-0022
Contact Name: Ms. Mo Lee
Website »

More information

Sign your children up for a WILD adventure! North Carolina Zoo is excited to offer Online Summer Camps as a way for kids to learn about animals and their natural environment while staying socially...

Cost: $30 - $80

Where:
VIRTUAL
, NC


Sponsor: North Carolina Zoo
Telephone: 336-879-7700
Contact Name: North Carolina Zoo
Website »

More information

https://superkidscience.com/programs-and-class/enrichment-with-finn/ A fun summer enrichment program for rising 6th graders.

Cost: 150

Where:
140 Sudano Court
140 Sudano Court
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Super Kid Science
Telephone: 919-995-3477
Contact Name: Marilyn Jesrani
Website »

More information

Animal Park (AP) Investigators will focus on teaching kids how to identify animals when they cannot see the animals themselves.    At the beginning of the week, we create a mess in the...

Cost: $200

Where:
The Animal Park at the Conservators Center
676 E Hughes Mill Rd
Burlington, NC  27217
View map »


Sponsor: The Animal Park at the Conservators Center
Telephone: 336-421-0883
Contact Name: Elise Gammon
Website »

More information

https://superkidscience.com/programs-and-class/enrichment-with-finn/ A fun summer enrichment program for rising 6th graders.

Cost: 150

Where:
140 Sudano Court
140 Sudano Court
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Super Kid Science
Telephone: 919-995-3477
Contact Name: Marilyn Jesrani
Website »

More information

Class Description Your camper will learn about puppetry while exploring various visual and performing arts games and activities. Campers will participate in three 45 minutes classes through out...

Cost: $80

Where:
Online
, NC


Sponsor: Durham Arts Council
Telephone: 919-560-2726
Website »

More information

Amongst the ancient oak trees is the heart of Raleigh. We'll help you see the forest for the trees and all its magic splendor. Tourist, local, or new to town, this is a lively small group activity...

Cost: $11

Where:
Downtown
500 S Salisbury St
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: Kelly
Website »

More information

Kindermusik is a research-based early childhood curriculum that includes 45-minute classroom lessons with materials and resources that encourages parental involvement . Research has linked...

Cost: $70/month

Where:
Hope Community Building
2080 E Williams St
Hope Community Building, Fuquay Varina Room
Apex/Holly Springs, NC  27539
View map »


Telephone: 191-990-25432
Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
Website »

More information

Live online classes for kids - FREE! Kids and families can join our online classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about art, medicine, music, cooking, science and...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
265 Cambridge Ave #60923, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Palo Alto, CA  27009
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

Live online classes for kids - FREE! Kids and families can join our online classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about art, medicine, music, cooking, science and...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
265 Cambridge Ave #60923, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Palo Alto, CA  27009
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

Get your family together and go on a scavenger hunt you can do from the comfort of your car.

Cost: FREE

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
Raleigh, NC


Sponsor: Search in the City
Contact Name: Christine
Website »

More information

Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

Do your Kids love Coding? The purpose of this FREE Coding and Minecraft class is to help kids develop awesome social skills during this time of social distancing. We have different classes every...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
-
North Carolina, NC  20079
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: community@activityhe
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

Have a child that misses seeing peers? Hard to keep him/her motivated and learning at home? If your child likes art, join our LIVE art class. Use any supplies available at home, and follow our...

Cost: 12/class

Where:
Zoom Online
RALEIGH, NC


Sponsor: KidzArt North Raleigh
Telephone: 919-271-0710
Contact Name: Chen Jiang
Website »

More information

Do you LOVE Yoga? We are offering free yoga classes. Kids and families can join our classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about yoga and kids can ask questions online...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
-
, NC  27099
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

We invite all Triangle youth between the ages of 8 thru 17 with a sincere interest in the Performance Art of Magic to join Magic Youth Raleigh! This youth program teaches magic history and theory,...

Cost: $35 per Student

Where:
New Horizons Fellowship
820 E. Williams St.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: The International Brotherhood of Magicians
Contact Name: Roger Way
Website »

More information

Thursday evenings are for music and outdoor adventure at the USNWC, and the River Jam Run is a great way to enjoy both. Kick off the evening with 1.5 mile, 3 mile, or 6 mile group run through our...

Cost: $6

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Contact Name: Race Director
Website »

More information

River Jam at the U.S. National Whitewater Center brings together live musical performances throughout the year to a one-of-a-kind outdoor venue, right in the middle of the world’s largest...

Cost: $6

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Contact Name: Jenny Hill
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

HEY YOU GUYS ITS THAT TIME AGAIN NLDC IS READY TO HAVE AN AWESOME SUMMER WITH YOU COME REGISTER FOR SOMETHING FUN, LEARNING EXPERIENCE AND REASONABLE IN PRICE...... HEY DON'T FORGET THIS INCLUDES...

Cost: $30 (Reg)-$120(weekly)

Where:
No Limitz Dance Company Studio
3326 Durham Chapel Hill Blvd Suite C-130
Durham , NC  27707
View map »


Telephone: 919-391-0022
Contact Name: Ms. Mo Lee
Website »

More information

Forget tourist-filled museums, make your own memories with a photo scavenger hunt tour in Raleigh! On a Let’s Roam scavenger hunt, you and your team will work together to wander throughout...

Cost: $11

Where:
500 S Salisbury St
raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Website »

More information

https://superkidscience.com/programs-and-class/enrichment-with-finn/ A fun summer enrichment program for rising 6th graders.

Cost: 150

Where:
140 Sudano Court
140 Sudano Court
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Super Kid Science
Telephone: 919-995-3477
Contact Name: Marilyn Jesrani
Website »

More information

Amongst the ancient oak trees is the heart of Raleigh. We'll help you see the forest for the trees and all its magic splendor. Tourist, local, or new to town, this is a lively small group activity...

Cost: $11

Where:
Downtown
500 S Salisbury St
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: Kelly
Website »

More information

https://superkidscience.com/programs-and-class/enrichment-with-finn/ A fun summer enrichment program for rising 6th graders.

Cost: 150

Where:
140 Sudano Court
140 Sudano Court
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Super Kid Science
Telephone: 919-995-3477
Contact Name: Marilyn Jesrani
Website »

More information

Class Description Your camper will learn about puppetry while exploring various visual and performing arts games and activities. Campers will participate in three 45 minutes classes through out...

Cost: $80

Where:
Online
, NC


Sponsor: Durham Arts Council
Telephone: 919-560-2726
Website »

More information

Animal Park (AP) Investigators will focus on teaching kids how to identify animals when they cannot see the animals themselves.    At the beginning of the week, we create a mess in the...

Cost: $200

Where:
The Animal Park at the Conservators Center
676 E Hughes Mill Rd
Burlington, NC  27217
View map »


Sponsor: The Animal Park at the Conservators Center
Telephone: 336-421-0883
Contact Name: Elise Gammon
Website »

More information

Kindermusik is a research-based early childhood curriculum that includes 45-minute classroom lessons with materials and resources that encourages parental involvement . Research has linked...

Cost: $70/month

Where:
Hope Community Building
2080 E Williams St
Hope Community Building, Fuquay Varina Room
Apex/Holly Springs, NC  27539
View map »


Telephone: 191-990-25432
Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
Website »

More information

Live online classes for kids - FREE! Kids and families can join our online classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about art, medicine, music, cooking, science and...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
265 Cambridge Ave #60923, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Palo Alto, CA  27009
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

Live online classes for kids - FREE! Kids and families can join our online classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about art, medicine, music, cooking, science and...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
265 Cambridge Ave #60923, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Palo Alto, CA  27009
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

Get your family together and go on a scavenger hunt you can do from the comfort of your car.

Cost: FREE

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
Raleigh, NC


Sponsor: Search in the City
Contact Name: Christine
Website »

More information

Do your Kids love Coding? The purpose of this FREE Coding and Minecraft class is to help kids develop awesome social skills during this time of social distancing. We have different classes every...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
-
North Carolina, NC  20079
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: community@activityhe
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

Do you LOVE Yoga? We are offering free yoga classes. Kids and families can join our classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about yoga and kids can ask questions online...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
-
, NC  27099
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

We invite all Triangle youth between the ages of 8 thru 17 with a sincere interest in the Performance Art of Magic to join Magic Youth Raleigh! This youth program teaches magic history and theory,...

Cost: $35 per Student

Where:
New Horizons Fellowship
820 E. Williams St.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: The International Brotherhood of Magicians
Contact Name: Roger Way
Website »

More information

●      Antonin Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 “From the New World” ●      Ellen Taaffe Zwilich: Avanti! Inspired by American dreams and legends, Dvořák created some of his greatest...

Cost: Free

Where:
Boone, NC  28608


Sponsor: An Appalachian Summer Festival
Telephone: 828-262-4046
Contact Name: Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts
Website »

More information

River Jam at the U.S. National Whitewater Center brings together live musical performances throughout the year to a one-of-a-kind outdoor venue, right in the middle of the world’s largest...

Cost: $6

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Contact Name: Jenny Hill
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Forget tourist-filled museums, make your own memories with a photo scavenger hunt tour in Raleigh! On a Let’s Roam scavenger hunt, you and your team will work together to wander throughout...

Cost: $11

Where:
500 S Salisbury St
raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Website »

More information

Farmers markets are essential to the livelihood of farmers and food producers and are exempt from the Governor's Stay at Home Order (page 6). Farmers markets offer an efficient way for residents to...

Cost: free

Where:
Holly Springs Cultural Center
300 W. Ballentine St.
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Farmers Market Coordinator
Telephone: 919-567-4010
Website »

More information

https://superkidscience.com/programs-and-class/enrichment-with-finn/ A fun summer enrichment program for rising 6th graders.

Cost: 150

Where:
140 Sudano Court
140 Sudano Court
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Super Kid Science
Telephone: 919-995-3477
Contact Name: Marilyn Jesrani
Website »

More information

PARENTS JOIN OUR DHHS APPROVEDCPR/AED & First Aid Certification ClassesFoster parents are required to be CPR & First Aid certified. Must register in advance. Space is limited. Parents, bring your...

Cost: 50-80

Where:
Holly Springs, NC
1001 Silverstone Way
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Save A Life Now Training Center LLC
Telephone: 919-215-6942
Contact Name: Valentina Cordoba
Website »

More information

https://superkidscience.com/programs-and-class/enrichment-with-finn/ A fun summer enrichment program for rising 6th graders.

Cost: 150

Where:
140 Sudano Court
140 Sudano Court
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Super Kid Science
Telephone: 919-995-3477
Contact Name: Marilyn Jesrani
Website »

More information

Amongst the ancient oak trees is the heart of Raleigh. We'll help you see the forest for the trees and all its magic splendor. Tourist, local, or new to town, this is a lively small group activity...

Cost: $11

Where:
Downtown
500 S Salisbury St
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: Kelly
Website »

More information

PARENTS JOIN OUR DHHS APPROVEDCPR/AED & First Aid Certification ClassesFoster parents are required to be CPR & First Aid certified. Parents, bring your child to class with you. Children 10 years...

Cost: 50-80

Where:
Holly Springs, NC
1001 Silverstone Way
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Save A Life Now Training Center LLC
Telephone: 919-215-6942
Contact Name: Valentina Cordoba
Website »

More information

Kindermusik is a research-based early childhood curriculum that includes 45-minute classroom lessons with materials and resources that encourages parental involvement . Research has linked...

Cost: $70/month

Where:
Hope Community Building
2080 E Williams St
Hope Community Building, Fuquay Varina Room
Apex/Holly Springs, NC  27539
View map »


Telephone: 191-990-25432
Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
Website »

More information

Live online classes for kids - FREE! Kids and families can join our online classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about art, medicine, music, cooking, science and...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
265 Cambridge Ave #60923, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Palo Alto, CA  27009
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

Live online classes for kids - FREE! Kids and families can join our online classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about art, medicine, music, cooking, science and...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
265 Cambridge Ave #60923, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Palo Alto, CA  27009
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

Get your family together and go on a scavenger hunt you can do from the comfort of your car.

Cost: FREE

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
Raleigh, NC


Sponsor: Search in the City
Contact Name: Christine
Website »

More information

Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

Do your Kids love Coding? The purpose of this FREE Coding and Minecraft class is to help kids develop awesome social skills during this time of social distancing. We have different classes every...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
-
North Carolina, NC  20079
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: community@activityhe
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

Do you LOVE Yoga? We are offering free yoga classes. Kids and families can join our classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about yoga and kids can ask questions online...

Cost: 0

Where:
Online at your Home
-
, NC  27099
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle Lim
Website »

More information

We invite all Triangle youth between the ages of 8 thru 17 with a sincere interest in the Performance Art of Magic to join Magic Youth Raleigh! This youth program teaches magic history and theory,...

Cost: $35 per Student

Where:
New Horizons Fellowship
820 E. Williams St.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: The International Brotherhood of Magicians
Contact Name: Roger Way
Website »

More information

River Jam at the U.S. National Whitewater Center brings together live musical performances throughout the year to a one-of-a-kind outdoor venue, right in the middle of the world’s largest...

Cost: $6

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Contact Name: Jenny Hill
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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