Have you ever wanted to try your hand at parkour, juggling, imaginary map-making, investing, or bee keeping? Get ready to try all that and more at no cost this Sunday afternoon at the Center for Arts at the Armory.
Somerville Skillshare invites the community to partake in a day of free classes led by area artists and entrepreneurs for their inaugural “skill sharing” event. The organization, run by a team of volunteers, seeks to connect talented residents across the city by providing a platform for free collaboration and education.
John Massie, the founder and director of Somerville Skillshare, said this is the first event of its kind in Somerville. He said that Somerville is one of the most talented artist communities in the country, and that he is excited to offer residents the opportunity to learn and connect in a way that encourages individuals to branch out and join the artist conversation.
“If you can make [education] free and open it up to as many people as possible, it’s an exciting thing," Massie said. "By definition, you’re hopefully attracting a very wide group and helping contribute to building community.”
Massie said that he and some of the other volunteers for Somerville Skillshare got the idea from similar events hosted in other cities, such as skillshares in Brooklyn and Boston. While these events have been going on for a few years, Massie said it has been exciting to see the overwhelming response to Somerville inaugurating its own event. More than 800 people have already registered for this free event, proving the city’s interest and demand for an educational platform.
“[You are learning] in a space that’s very informal, a fun setting, free, and you’re doing it with friends and other people in the same boat,” Massie said. “It’s making it as easy and accessible as possible to try new stuff.”
Class spaces will be set up throughout the Armory, Massie said, with about seven classes running simultaneously for 50-minute blocks. A small break will occur between each block, giving attendees time to continue their conversations and find their way to another class of interest. Massie said there will also be space available in the Armory’s café—and later in the performance hall—for individuals to continue discussions they may have started in the classes.
“In the spirit of trying to build and support community around education, we are giving people the space and time regimented during the day to help keep those conversations going,” Massie said.
MaMassie said that he hopes many people will take advantage of this opportunity, whether it is only for one class or for the entire afternoon. He said it’s the perfect invitation to try something new with talented teachers who can answer questions and share their own experiences.
“It is a chance to get a dose or small glimpse into the interesting and diverse things that Somerville residents are doing,” Massie said. “[We want people to walk] away feeling inspired by a class they took or a conversation they had, and to maybe jumpstart a brand new hobby.”
The first Somerville Skillshare will take place on Sunday, March 2, from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. For more information on classes that will be offered, the organization, or to RSVP, visit the event’s website.
Brooklyn Boulders Somerville will be holding tryouts for the SomerVillains, their inaugural youth climbing team, this Saturday. The rock-climbing team invites climbers ages 8 to 18 of all levels to come show what they’ve got on the rocks.
Dan Braun, the instruction manager at BKBS, said this will be Somerville’s first youth climbing team. The Brooklyn location has boasted a youth team for four years, and some of their climbers are already competing at the national tournament in Colorado, Braun said. He is excited to bring that opportunity to Somerville.
“Anyone can climb,” Braun said. “There is no obligation if you come and try out, plus you might find a passion you never had . . . It is great to start in your youth, because you have everything in front of you, and you can become a strong climber very quickly.”
Braun said there will be tryouts for two teams: a competitive team and a non-competitive team. The tryouts will compose of multiple stations where youth will traverse, climb, play games, and complete other activities that will help the coaches gauge climbing ability and how well youth work with instruction.
“We will be evaluating the kids on how focused they are, how well they take direction, and how strong of a climber they are. You can be on the competitive team and be a weak climber. If you’re very determined and take direction well, there’s no reason you can’t be on the team,” Braun said.
The season begins the week following tryouts and will last about 12 weeks. The second season will start in the fall, when tryouts will be held again, giving youth the opportunity to change teams.
Throughout the season, parents and climbers will carpool to weekend competitions that are held across New England. They will be participating in the USA Climbing's Sport Climbing Series this spring and the American Bouldering Series in the fall.
Braun said that it is always interesting for new gyms to start teams. He said typically a lot of younger kids will try out, but it does not take long for them to develop and improve their climbing abilities.
“Generally there will be a lot of younger kids ages 8 to 12, but they stick with it through the years. Then, you see 14- and 15-year-olds who have become very strong climbers and competitors,” Braun said.
Regardless of experience level, Braun said parents should consider bringing their children to the tryouts. He said rock climbing is something that can be done all over the world and the teams give kids a good foundation for a future in the sport.
“Rock climbing is great physical skill to have, but it’s also very mentally challenging: It’s a physical puzzle,” Braun said. “It’s a great combination of camaraderie and competition . . . They’ll develop as strong climbers, and the climbing community is a great one to be part of.”
Tryouts for the SomerVillains youth climbing teams will take place on Saturday, March 1 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tryouts and gear rental are free. The price to participate on the noncompetitive team is $400 for the season, and the price to participate on the competitive team is $800 for the season. For more information or to register, visit their website.
Think your child has what it takes to become one of Boston’s inaugural Lego ambassadors?
From now until March 14, LEGOLAND Discovery Center Boston will be accepting applications from children ages 5 to 12 to participate on a team to help LEGOLAND become the best attraction of its kind.
Kelly Smith, Marketing Manager at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Boston, said this is another step that will bring the discovery center closer to its opening in May. The group selected Ian Coffey as the new master model builder on January 26, and now Coffey will select his panel of child advisors to give feedback on the new center.
“We had our Brick Factor competition to find the master model builder, but every one needs a great team of support,” Smith said. “So we’ve developed the junior competition, which will allow 12 kids to be part of a team to help Ian with events and activities leading up to grand opening, as well as after the fact.”
Ian Coffey, the master model builder for Boston’s LEGOLAND Discovery Center, said he is excited to select the team of children that will comprise the junior construction panel and that he will be looking for a variety of qualities in the applications.
“It’s my first real responsibility, which I’m really excited for,” Coffey said. “The things I’m looking for is how creative the children can be, how enthusiastic they are, and how their imagination comes about . . . [I’m looking for] who really had all those things coming together when they built with the Lego bricks.”
As part of the application, children must include a video or photo and written response explaining what makes them the biggest Lego fan and why they should be part of the panel. They should also show something they built with Lego bricks. Coffey said he is excited to see the responses and what the kids come up with by themselves.
“In an essay, I want to see the kid. I love the raw child, even a handwritten note,” Coffey said. “When you’re reading it and you can really see that they’re engaged in what they’re writing, that’s the kind of stuff that’s going to stick out to me.”
Smith said that while a major part of being ambassador is testing the rides and being excited about the attraction, another part is providing feedback to the center. She said LEGOLAND is an attraction for children, and as such their opinions help make the center the best it can be. She said that in the process, it also provides children a great opportunity to interact with adults and grow through working in a team atmosphere.
“It’s a team of 12, so they will need to work together and develop skills of teamwork. But also, interpersonal skills, speaking skills and confidence will be gained throughout the year . . . It’s a pretty strong role for a child,” Smith said. “[We’re looking for] children who feel comfortable working with a variety of different people.”
Smith said it will be interesting to see the number of children who apply. She said it’s great to be able to offer those selected the chance to experience the discovery center before it officially opens in May.
“The Discovery Center is a really exciting attraction coming to the Boston area,” Smith said. “It’s kind of a unique opportunity for a child to be able to experience something so new and great and incorporate it with a toy that’s so educational and constructive. It’s such a great toy that so many children love.”
Coffey hopes that parents will encourage and help their Lego-loving children to apply. He said that for him, it was all about taking steps towards what he loves, and he hopes a lot of children will do the same.
“I want kids to come out of this after day one saying this is my dream, I can reach it. I can do this,” Coffey said. “The creativity, design, imagination, you can build those and shape them, but I really want children to understand that if they want to become something—even become a junior panelist—to just keep going for it.”
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Boston will be accepting applications for its junior construction panel from now until March 14. The 12 winners will be announced on their Facebook page on March 17. For contest rules and to apply, visit the LEGOLAND’s website.
The following was submitted on behalf of Mohegan Sun:
Mohegan Sun and Suffolk Downs Tuesday announced the completion of terms for agreements with seven local communities, marking another critical step in the pursuit of a license to develop a world-class casino resort in Revere.
The agreements and agreements in principle with Cambridge, Chelsea, Lynn, Malden, Medford, Melrose, and Salem will provide significant economic and community benefits along with local impact payments that total $3.75 million among the seven municipalities. The agreements also ensure that small businesses in these communities will have access to millions of dollars in annual spending by the proposed $1.3 billion development and that residents in these communities will be given job opportunities at Mohegan Sun Massachusetts and have access to job training programs and problem gambling services.
“We are pleased to announce these agreements, which represent an important step in our efforts to develop an incredible destination that will benefit the entire region with the creation of new jobs, economic development, and tourism opportunities,” said Mitchell Etess, CEO of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority. “Each of these communities have been a great neighbor to Revere and Suffolk Downs, and these agreements illustrate Mohegan Sun Massachusetts’ commitment to work in partnership with our neighboring communities.”
Mohegan Sun Massachusetts expects to spend about $50 million annually on goods and services from businesses located within a 15-mile radius of Revere once the resort is fully operating. Similarly, MSM expects to create 4,000 jobs and has committed to hiring 75 percent of its workforce within the same 15-mile radius.
“Melrose is pleased to have entered into a Surrounding Community Agreement with Mohegan Sun at Suffolk Downs,” said Melrose Mayor Robert J. Dolan. “The benefits of this agreement with the city of Melrose, along with the clear regional benefits of employment, purchasing, and increased revenues for municipalities, will be a much-needed boost to our local economy. As we embark on this new era of expanded gaming in Massachusetts, Mohegan Sun has given Melrose a seat at the table.”
Also included as part of the agreed-upon terms are strong commitments to regional economic development and benefits – such as the cross-marketing of tourist attractions and cultural institutions in these communities, and providing local businesses with access to vendor opportunities and Mohegan Sun’s industry leading players club points program. Mohegan Sun has also agreed to fund approximately $1 million in additional study and design of regional traffic solutions not related to the impacts of the proposed resort.
Mohegan Sun has a signed Surrounding Community Agreement with Chelsea, which was unanimously approved by City Council Monday evening.
“The Suffolk Downs location is the best in Eastern Massachusetts to host a resort casino, and with Mohegan Sun as the development and gaming partner, it’s the best option for this region’s gaming license,” said City Manager of Chelsea Jay Ash. “This commitment to my city and to our neighboring communities illustrates that this will be a great source of economic activity that will benefit the entire region.”
Mohegan Sun also has terms for agreements in principle with Cambridge, Lynn, Malden, Medford, and Salem, subject to city council approval. The agreements are the result of comprehensive discussions over benefits to these cities to be provided by Mohegan Sun should it be awarded a license to develop a $1.3 billion resort casino in Revere. Mohegan Sun has also designated Boston, Saugus, and Winthrop as surrounding communities and is continuing discussions with those municipalities.
“As a gateway to the North Shore, the kind of development that Mohegan Sun is proposing provides an amazing opportunity to transform this area,” said Leslie Gould, president and CEO of the Lynn Area Chamber of Commerce. “Establishing partnerships within the region is a key to all of our success.”
Mohegan Sun Massachusetts will be a $1.3 billion resort casino with two hotels and world-class dining, shopping, and entertainment amenities on 42 of Suffolk Downs’ 52 acres in Revere. The resort casino will feature 5,000 gaming positions, a total of 500 hotel rooms, 170,000 square feet of floor space, and a 10,000 square foot spa.
“Our relationships with our surrounding communities is very important, and we appreciate the hard work and thoughtful approach of each of these city leaders to reach these agreements,” said Chip Tuttle, Chief Operating Officer of Suffolk Downs. “Mohegan Sun Massachusetts will not only preserve the future of thoroughbred racing at Suffolk Downs, but it will create new economic and tourism opportunities for the entire region.”
Currently, Mohegan Sun spends nearly $500 million annually on goods and services from local vendors near its Connecticut and Pennsylvania facilities.