It was New Year’s 2001 and I decided to actually make a New Year’s Resolution. This was my first Resolution to undertake voluntarily (outside of a school assignment), but it was without a doubt the most fun and most memorable. My resolution? It was simply to do something new every week. Now that, in and of itself, is relatively vague, so yes there were guidelines. In a nutshell, new had to be legal, moral, and reasonably safe, and it had to “really be new.” (I “knew” what that meant in my own mind, but essentially it had to be more than reading a new book, the activity as a whole had to stretch me.)
That was, without a doubt, one of the most fun and interesting years I remember and the habit of doing something new, while not necessarily weekly, has stuck with me. I’m always on the lookout for a small adventure. New things have included: Swing Dance lessons (didn’t learn much, but had fun), learning to make Ukranian Batik Easter Eggs, silversmithing (LOVED this), Hot Air Balloon flying lessons and flight, flying over the Plaza Christmas lights in a 3 passenger Cessna, rappelling, learning to make sushi, oil painting lessons, cooking lessons with Plaza restaurant chefs, tours of wineries or homes of Kansas City’s rich and famous, renting and riding a bicycle built for two through Hermann, attending every festival in KC from the Japan Fest (tremendous fun) to the Italian Festival (skip it) and much more.
So, how do you find new things to do? My top three sources were: KC websites, books, and inexpensive community classes.
Many people think Community Education means computer courses for the elderly or ballroom dancing for singles. While those classes do exist, Community Education has come to mean much more! The class offerings are varied from the practical, to the artistic, to the just plain fun. Classes make great personal enrichment, a fun Mom’s Night Out, or a great date with your husband!
As you read this list, please note that it is just the tip of the iceberg. Local Community Centers and Public Schools also offer courses and programs. Many stores and shops, such as scrap booking stores, and mosaic and pottery shops offer classes as well.
KC Art Institute (www.kcai.edu): KCAI offers non-credit, inexpensive courses in painting, stained glass, drawing, photography, sculpture, etc.
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (www.nelson-atkins.org): The Nelson offers classes for all ages ranging from hands-on art courses to tours and historical workshops and lectures.
Urban Arts and Crafts (www.urbanartsandcrafts.com): This unique Kansas City shop offers offbeat art materials and unique courses ranging from jewelry making to crochet.
The Paper Source (www.paper-source.com): This Plaza boutique features unique stationary and cards. They also offer courses in making your own paper crafts.
Cake Decorating, Crafts, and More:
These local stores offer classes for all ages in topics including: cake decorating, painting, sewing, crochet, knitting, embroidery, and specialized techniques for their products.
Williams Sonoma (www.williams-sonoma.com): Call your local location for information. Their culinary courses offer cooking demonstrations, full meals, and take home recipes from top area chefs.
Culinary Center of Kansas City (www.kcculinary.com) Offering the widest range of gourmet and practical cooking courses in KC, classes are offered year round and most courses include a complete meal.
Local Libraries offer classes… and they are often FREE:
Johnson County Library (www.jocolibrary.org)
Mid-Continent Public Library (www.mcpl.lib.mo.us)
Kansas City Library (www.kclibrary.org)
Kansas City Red Cross (www.kcredcross.org)
Lee’s Summit Hospital (www.leessummithospital.com)
Children’s Mercy (www.childrensmercy.org)
Carondelet Health (www.carondelethealth.org)
Overland Park Regional Health Center (www.oprmc.com)
Olathe Medical Center (www.ohsi.com)
Classes are practical ranging from Family CPR to Baby Sign Language and Parenting courses. Some hospitals also offer exercise courses, and even healthy eating or cooking.
Local Colleges offer Community Education covering MANY topics:
Johnson County Community College (www.jccc.net)
Metropolitan Community Colleges (www.mcckc.edu)
UMKC’s Communiversity (www.umkc.edu/commu)
Search for “Community Education” or “Non-Credit” classes when you visit these sites. These courses are NON-CREDIT courses that are “just for fun.” You will find Photography, Jewelry Making, Investment Courses, Foreign Language, Dance, Cooking, Art Classes, Local Historical Tours and Courses, and more. The courses tend to be inexpensive and require no homework!