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Welcome to Summer! The kids have been out of school approximately 2.76 days and are they already driving you batty? Mine too, thank goodness we live in Omaha and there are so many awesome family activities happening this year. As I was putting together our calendar-of-fun, I filled nearly every day with an exciting Omaha Public Library event!

Summer Reading Program (SRP) is no joke, hundreds of activities decorate the OPL events calendar. With 12 branches scattered throughout Omaha, there are fun things happening nearby no matter which pocket of the city you live in. Many of the branches are hosting a SRP kick-off party with bounce houses, music, and food! This is the perfect time to sign your kiddos up for the program. Last year, over 25,000 kids committed to read 10 hours over the course of June and July. Those who do complete the hours will receive a prize pack!

Friends, families, daycare centers and schools can all sign up together! Sometimes that extra incentive of group camaraderie can really push kids to read more! And, if that doesn't work, then how about checking out a book on the topic of something they're passionate about! What I love about SRP are the many diverse programs put on by OPL's many community partners. We can attend a Wildlife Encounters show and then check out a book on marsupials to continue learning about at home. Aurora is very excited about the possibility of playing with a kangaroo!

There are so many big events, like magic shows with Jeff Quinn, reptile encounters with Papio Natural Resources District, Out and About Storytimes all over the city, costume character storytimes, mad scientist shows put on by the Omaha Children's Museum and Dr. Oxygen, as well as a Storm Chasers baseball game for the SRP participants! And, the best part, everything is completely free for library card carrying, Douglas county residents. Even babies can can get a library card!

I love that this year's SRP theme is "On Your Mark, Get Set, Read!" For all of the little boys out there, I think this will be especially effective in sparking an interest in reading. OPL will be hosting lots of active and sports themed activities throughout the summer to encourage families to make healthy choices together. I know Grayson is really looking forward to the mini triathalon that will wrap up the SRP at one of the branches.

Last year, of the 25,000 kids who signed up, 17,000 completed the program and earned prize packs. That is an awesome turnout for Omaha's youth, and a great testament to the value our city places on literacy and community involvement. Growth is always good though, so I encourage every family to stop by their local branch for a kick-off party on June 4th, or anytime thereafter and register. Whether you come to one event or fill up your calendar with OPL activities like we do, your kids will have a blast and you'll introduce them to exciting new ideas!

For those interested in volunteering, OPL is always looking for teens and adults to help register kids for SRP or pass out prize packs! These hours count towards church, scouting and school volunteer hours, so check online or stop by your local branch for an application!

*All photos are courtesy of the Omaha Public Library's Flickr account

Brigette

from Life Lesson Plans and The Gossamer Girl

Brigette was born and raised in Nebraska, but ever since her husband joined the Air Force, she has traveled around the world with him and their two young kids. First living in Hawaii, and then in Germany, their family has soaked up all sorts of cultural experiences that she loves to weave in to her writing. She and the kids are now back home and are rediscovering their roots. Recently, Brigette started writing a personal blog called The Gossamer Girl where she shares lifestyle stories about h ...

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