By Linda Scherer
WINSTED, MN Name an activity that kids love, and most likely the WHAT UP committee has offered it as one of its free family events.
The WHAT UP events, usually scheduled the third weekend of each month, are popular with area youth because they are suggested by the organization’s youngest committee members who are in tune with their peers.
The current youth members are seventh-grader Roman Heimerl, eighth-graders Allison Condon and Lauren Kahle; along with juniors Leigha Felder, Anna Dietrich, Allison Christensen, and Beth Chalupsky.
As part of the committee, younger members also find that giving their time and talent for others can be rewarding, according to WHAT UP Chairman Jeff Campbell.
From the very beginning, WHAT UP has valued youth input. Its first outdoor movie at the amphitheater in Mill Reserve Park in 2009 was chosen because a survey of students at Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted public school, Holy Trinity, and students’ parents indicated it was a favorite activity.
Movies in the park scored the highest, with music in the park, and tournaments in kick ball, video games, and bean bags also offered as suggestions.
A new WHAT UP event this year was a scavenger hunt that took place in April.
The children were divided into groups of four and had 90 minutes to complete 10 challenges, according to Campbell. Teams had to make free throws at the basketball court on Main Avenue, do some golf putting, find objects around town, and visit some Winsted businesses.
The first-place team members each received $10 in Winsted Bucks, and the second-place team members each received a certificate for a free Subway sandwich.
“Everyone had a lot of fun,” Campbell said.
Coming up this summer
Future summer movies are scheduled for the third Friday of the month May 13, June 17, July 15, and August 19.
Previous to the movie Friday, May 13, the Holy Trinity High School Jazz Band will perform at 8 p.m. Showtime is 8:30 p.m. The movie is “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” with Nicholas Cage.
All children must be accompanied by an adult.
In case of rain, the movie will be shown the following evening at the same time.
To enhance the movie experience for everyone in the park, WHAT UP is in the process of purchasing new equipment to show movies, including a high definition DVD player and projector, along with a new 9 foot-by-13 foot screen, according to Campbell.
Part of WHAT UP’s great success has been its business sponsors and volunteers, who are always ready to help out.
Many businesses have sponsored WHAT UP movies.
Each movie has to be licensed to show publicly, and it costs $350 to rent. WHAT UP gets local sponsors to cover the costs.
Past and current sponsors are TDS Telecom, State Farm Insurance-Tim Dahl, Winsted Gentle Dental, Keaveny Drug, Winsted Area Chamber of Commerce, the city of Winsted, and the Winsted Fire Department.
If a business is interested in sponsoring a movie, contact Campbell at (320) 485-4535.
The Blue Note always provides free popcorn for all attending and in June, free ice cream will be offered to celebrate dairy month, according to Campbell.
Other 2011 activities being considered by WHAT UP include an event to follow the Winsted Summer Festival’s Kiddie parade and a Halloween Fun Day in October.
WHAT UP is even looking ahead to 2012 and Winsted’s 125th anniversary. Some activities being considered are a weeknight movie in the park and a history-based scavenger hunt.