One of the perks of getting to this point in my life is that I get to sit on some pretty great boards of directors. Like, say, the University of Illinois College of ACES Alumni Association board. And through that board, we get to come up with some pretty great ideas and sometimes, we can even make them happen.
Case in point: The ACES Family Academies. It's a brand new program this summer, July 9-10, on campus. The idea is to invite grandparents to bring their grandchildren back to campus for a real college experience with real classes, geared toward kids. But in reality, it can be any adult/child combination: aunts and nephews, uncles and nieces, parents and children, neighbors and young friends.
They'll attend some cool classes together in a variety of ACES curricula, they'll spend the night in a real (air conditioned!) college dorm, and they'll experience a genuine collegiate tailgate. It's open to children ages 8-12, and the adult doesn't even have to be an alumni of the college to participate. More than 30 hands-on educational classes are slated for the program, taught by actual College of ACES faculty.
My friend and ACES Alumni Director Tina Veal says, "We're really excited about the memories alumni and their grandchildren, children or young friends will be able to experience together – a chance to relive your college days and create new memories with your little Illini!"
My college experience was the making of me, and if there's anything my husband and I would love, it's for our kids to have a similar experience - or at least for them to have the opportunity to have that experience. I love that this gets them on campus, in an actual classroom. Because do you know when I first saw the inside of a college classroom? Freshman year, day one. Yikes.
Take a look at the links and think it over. Registration ends May 1. And if you're not in Illinois, take heart: several other state land grants offer a similar program, like Wisconsin, Michigan and Oklahoma.