Kids shielded their eyes and pointed excitedly as the helicopter circled a field next to Wilson Elementary School in Anoka Monday, July 22, and then landed.

Visitors from North Memorial Air Care stepped out of the chopper to meet students in the Adventures Plus school-age care program. Officers from the Anoka Police Department and Anoka-Champlin Fire Department also showed off their equipment and greeted the children.

Air care representative Bree Plessel told students that the air care service makes about 3,000 flights a year across its seven bases that serve Minnesota, and emergency medical crews can reach more than 80% of the state within 15 minutes using one of the air care helicopters.

For students the July 22 helicopter visit was the culmination of a unit about community service.

“We’ve been doing a community service project for the past two weeks,” Adventures Plus site coordinator Cassidy Streff said. “The kids have been learning a little about our community helpers, so our dentists and doctors and nurses, and also police and fire.”

The project included gathering food for the ACBC Food Shelf and first aid supplies for local hospitals and clinics.

“I love working with students in the summer because we are able to not just teach them about these themes — but show them what it looks like in real life with opportunities like this,” said Jane Machute, Adventures Plus site leader at Wilson.

Open 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., the Adventures Plus program is offered at each Anoka-Hennepin Schools elementary school year-round, and at rotating elementary and middle school sites over the summer months.

The community helper component is one of many educational pieces incorporated into Adventures Plus, according to program coordinator Jodi Abrahamson.

Instead of merely offering child care, the sites provide theme-based curriculum and field trips covering a variety of topics, ranging from arts to science and from cooking to sports.

Each year the program has a visit from police officers and firefighters at some sites, but this year a special connection landed a visit from the helicopter.

Abrahamson said it was a hit with the kids,

“They had so much fun,” she said.

To learn more about Adventures Plus, visit


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