10 Things to Do in the Twin Cities During the #2017NationalSummit

The following post is a collaboration between VolunteerMatch and HandsOn Twin Cities — a go-to resource for all things volunteering in the Twin Cities.

For the first time in nearly a decade, volunteer managers far and wide will convene for the 2017 National Summit on Volunteer Engagement Leadership at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota this month!

The conference brings together the movers, shakers, and magic makers from the field, so we can craft the future of volunteer engagement. If you haven’t registered already, learn why this conference is an invaluable experience for leaders of volunteers and get your ticket.

As you plan your conference tracks and pick sessions, consider these ten things to do in the Twin Cities during the Summit.

1. Attend the Pre-Summit
Tuesday, July 25: 7:30 am — 4:20 pm

Join HandsOn Twin Cities on Tuesday, July 25 for a day of learning and sharing best practices. This event brings together corporate presenters, nonprofit professionals, education staff, faith-based leaders, service corps members, and community volunteers for a full day of incredible discussion. This year, the Pre-Summit will feature two tracks:

  1. Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI): Be a Champion for DEI through purposeful and invigorating conversations.
  2. Personal & Professional Development: Build skills through a variety of thought-provoking and interactive sessions delivered by sector leaders from corporations, consulting firms, nonprofits, and educational institutions.

We are also pleased to announce that this year’s keynote speaker will be Jamice Obianyo, Director of Community Relations at Ecolab. View the schedule and speaker bios, then register for the Pre-Summit directly through HandsOn Twin Cities’ website.

2. Join Affinity Group Meetings
Wednesday, July 26: 9:00 am — 12:00 pm

In these group gatherings, meet colleagues from similar backgrounds or with similar interests from throughout the country. Each will have a designated “host” who will offer some structure to help you put names with faces, make new connections, exchange wisdom, and get the most value out of this time together.

If you are interested in attending a free affinity group meeting, please indicate so when registering for the National Summit. Have questions? Please contact Katie Campbell.

3. St. Paul City Tour and Dinner Cruise
Wednesday, July 26: 6:00 pm — 10:00 pm

Start your evening on July 26th with an hour and a half tour of St. Paul — Minnesota’s charming, historic capital city. Magnificent Art Deco and Victorian reminders of the past nestled in between sleek skyscrapers give this capital city an old-world charm. We’ll drive along Summit Avenue, one of the longest stretches of virtually uninterrupted Victorian architecture in the United States.

Next, we’ll enjoy a two-hour river cruise along the mighty Mississippi River aboard an authentic sternwheeler. We’ll start at Harriet Island, named after pioneer schoolteacher Harriet Bishop, and head down the same river used by Native Americans, settlers, and travelers to Fort Snelling State Park, located at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers. During the cruise, there will be a dinner buffet with two entrées and a cash bar.

A ticket for the St. Paul City Tour and Dinner Cruise is an additional $85 and includes the city tour, steamboat cruise, dinner buffet, and gratuities (plus, the memory of a lifetime). You have the option to select and pay for the cruise during National Summit registration.

Set sail onboard a sternwheeler bound for a memorable dinner along the Mississippi.

4. Get Moving with “Nice Ride” Bike Share

“Nice Ride” has over 1,800 bikes available 24/7 from 200+ locations throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul. Hop on a bike from any station and return it anywhere in the system. Take a spin around the lake, ride to the Summit, or across town. When you reach your destination, simply return your bike to the nearest station and check out another one for the return trip. Learn more about how it works and view a map of available bike stations.

Take a solo breather or bring a friend and tour the Twin Cities on bike!

5. Volunteer

VolunteerMatch and HandsOn Twin Cities connect you to a wide range of meaningful volunteer opportunities with organizations throughout the metro Minneapolis/St. Paul area. We make it easy for good people and good causes to connect, whether for just a couple of hours or as an ongoing commitment.

Use HandsOn Twin Cities Volunteer Opportunity Calendar to find a variety of volunteer opportunities that don’t require an ongoing commitment. Or browse thousands of volunteer opportunities on VolunteerMatch to find longer-term or skills-based opportunities, and hone your search by keyword, distance, interest, age, and more!

The ornate Minneapolis State Capitol towers over nearby landmarks.

6. Tour the Capitol Building
Monday through Friday: 8:00 am — 5:00 pm
Saturday: 10:00 am — 3:00 pm
Sunday: 1:00 pm — 4:00 pm

Home of the second-largest self-supporting marble dome in the world, the Minnesota State Capitol dominates the city’s attractions. While the building undergoes renovations, it is still open to the public. Take a free guided tour to see the restoration effort up close or host your own self-guided tour.

7. Check out the Local Beer SceneThe Twin Cities has a very lively and extensive network of breweries and taprooms. Check out Eater Twin Cities’s updated “Essential Guide to Twin Cities Taprooms,” to answer all your questions about what’s new, who’s expanding, and what you can find at each location.

8. Take a Walk Along the Mississippi River

The Mississippi River is the second-longest river in America, fourth-longest in the world. A mere 200 miles southeast from the source, Minneapolis is the first major city the river runs through. Enjoy the spectacle of the city’s famous bridges that intersect one of the country’s most famous rivers, and take a breather from the Summit to learn about its history with this free, on-demand audio tour.

“The face of the water, in time, became a wonderful book — a book that was a dead language to the uneducated passenger, but which told its mind to me without reserve, delivering its most cherished secrets as clearly as if it uttered them with a voice. And it was not a book to be read once and thrown aside, for it had a new story to tell every day.” —Mark Twain

9. Don’t Forget the Museums!

May was Minnesota Museums Month, a 31-day celebration of the more than 500 historic sites, art museums, zoos, gardens, and science centers across the state.From fine art and Native American history to local pastimes such as fishing and hockey, there’s a museum for everyone. Visit “Explore Minnesota” for a complete list of museums, galleries, and zoos, or check out City Page’s Top Ten List.

The Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum is located on the University of Minnesota campus.

10. Continue the Conversation and Collaboration
Friday, July 28: 3:00 pm — 5:00 pm

For those who can and wish to stay after the closing session, discussion and planning teams will continue to meet so that the vision for the Summit truly moves our field forward. More details will be announced (and planned for during the Summit itself). If your travel schedule permits, please consider joining us on Friday, July 28 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.

And don’t worry if you can’t — we’ll continue communicating with Summit attendees as well as the larger field after the Summit to implement various strategies that have emerged as priorities.

Have a sight or travel tip to add? Share it with fellow Summit attendees in the comments section below!