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Winger, Minn., family balances multiple summer activities

Nadelly and Joy Neubert perform at a dance recital. They recently stopped dance classes in favor of softball and volleyball. 1 / 2
Reed Neubert, 11, plays baseball. His parents encourage all five of their children to play sports from an early age. 2 / 2
Nevette Neubert has no trouble filling her calendar with activities and there seems to be no end in sight. She’s a mother of five active children ages 6 to 16, and runs a home day care center three days a week in the summer.
 

 With multiple camps, sports and other activities, she often finds herself pulled in more than one direction.

 

 She says because her family lives in rural Winger, Minn., the hardest part is arranging transportation for everyone.

 

 “My husband has to take one of them and go in one direction, and I have to take another and go in a different direction,” she says.

 

 She hopes it will get slightly less complicated in coming months as her oldest son, Aaryk, 16, gets his driver’s license.

 

 While his summer job keeps him away from home most of the time, she says it will be a big help when he can drive himself and, perhaps, occasionally one of his siblings, to activities.

 

 Nevette says the key to keeping her family sane and happy is prioritizing.

 

 Every year, the whole family goes to Bible Camp for three days and two nights. She says her oldest kids teach, and she helps organize the camp.

 

 She and her husband try to give their kids a say in their summer activities, but it’s impossible to say yes to everything.

 

 For example, Aaryk, who says he hopes to pursue a career in engineering, attended a two-week robotics camp at Northland Community & Technical College through middle school, but wasn’t able to attend baseball camp because, with four younger children at home, his parents couldn’t make the schedule work out.

 

 He says the robotics camp was a valuable experience for him because it showed him what engineers do and helped reaffirm his decision to pursue that for his career.

 

 When their second son, Bryce, 14, asked to attend the same robotics camp, the Neuberts had to say no because he wasn’t as interested in technology as his brother was. Instead, Bryce focuses on baseball and basketball through the summer.

 

 Nevette says their youngest son Reed, 11, will likely attend the camp because he is already ball coach runs the practices, and he finds it more enjoyable than mandatory practice during the school year because they work on plays, and it helps him stay in shape.

 

 Ultimately, Aaryk says camp is a great way to socialize throughout the summer and focus on favorite activities. He encourages other kids who are on the fence about going to camp to go for it.

 

 Bryce says his favorite camp is Gym Rats Basketball Camp. He says his friends are there since it’s a local day camp. He also enjoys baseball camp since, he says, it’s essentially one long tournament and he gets to meet up with friends from other towns year after year.

 

 He says he likes going to camp because he enjoys meeting new people and having something fun to do when school is out.

 

 Nevette says not all of her kids are as active as Aaryk and Bryce.

 

 Joy is more of a homebody Nevette says, so she tries to arrange for her to stay home as much as possible, rather than taking her to all of her siblings’ activities.

 

 “I never wanted to be the mom that ran her kids around to all this stuff,” she says. She says she has to remind herself of that as her kids get older and more involved. interested in engineering.

 

 Their girls Nadelly, 9, and Joy, 6, also have to make sacrifices. Most recently, they stopped doing dance, a difficult decision since Nevette’s sister was their instructor.

 

 Nevette says it’s important to her that her kids are active, and she thinks if they don’t start early enough in some activities, they might not be able to pick it up later on.

 

 “To be able to compete and to be in it, if everyone does it, you’ve kind of got to do it, too,” she says.

 

 This presents a challenge she didn’t anticipate would come with a large family.

 

 She had four siblings, but she says her parents didn’t face the same pressure to have their kids in so many activities.

 

 She says she and her husband played sports as kids and they want that for their children, as well. Their kids seem to take well to that.

 

Socializing through the summer

 

 Aaryk says he is most looking forward to football this summer. His football coach runs the practices, and he finds it more enjoyable than mandatory practices during the school year because they work on plays, and it helps him stay in shape. 

Ultimately, Aaryk says camp is a great way to socialize throughout the summer and focus on favorite activities. He encourages other kids who are on the fence about going to camp to go for it. 

Bryce says his favorite camp is Gym Rats Basketball Camp. He says his friends are there since it's a local day camp. He also enjoys baseball camp since, he says, it's essentially one long tournament and he gets to meet up with friends from other towns year after year. 

He says he likes going to camp because he enjoys meeting new people and having something fun to do when school is out.l 

Nevette says not all of her kids are as active as Aaryk and Bryce. 

Joy is more of a homebody Nevette says, so she tries to arrange for her to stay home as much as possible, rather than taking her to all of her siblings' activities. 

"I never wanted to be the mom that ran her kids around to all this stuff," she says. She says she has to remind herself of that as her kids get older and more involved. 

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