Your guide to family events, stories and news in Western Wisconsin.


Savoring Spring Amid Challenging Times

a note from the editor about the changing seasons

Hey, Chippewa Valley: Welcome to spring! Or maybe more winter. The well-worn joke about Wisconsin weather is that if you don’t like it you can wait a few minutes and it will change. That’s never more true than during this time of year – the transitional period between winter and spring – when you can open your door to find a subzero wasteland, a pleasant spring day with chirping birds and budding plants, or a full-on blizzard. Sometimes all in the same week.

If Wisconsin weather had an official emoji, it would be the little shrugging guy.

However, if there’s anything we’ve learned to live with over the past year, it’s uncertainty. Not long after the March-April issue of Chippewa Valley Family rolled off the presses last year, we found ourselves in lockdown during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the biggest collective disruption families had experienced in generations. We faced the future with uncertain shrugs – not to mention tears and sleepless nights full of worry. We dealt with suddenly closed schools and radically changed routines, altered or lost jobs and, yes, as frightening new illness.

One year later, we’re still dealing with all of this and more.

As I write this in late February, the temperature outside is well below zero, even without windchill. And yet, despite the frigid weather and the unpredictability of the world, hope springs eternal, and we know spring is on its way. Adherence to health guidelines and the arrival of effective vaccines means that life is gradually returning to some sense of normalcy. The virus is still with us, but it’s clear that it will weigh less heavily on our hearts as the weather warms and the year continues.

And with that optimism in mind, we present to you an issue full of stories  that emphasize the positivity all around us. You’ll learn about an Eau Claire teenager who is one of the first to break a century-old gender barrier to become an Eagle Scout. You’ll read about an extraordinary family who’ve cheered their neighbors and improved their neighborhood by creating a Little Free Library – for sleds! You’ll discover a sweet new spot downtown that will bring out the kid in all of us and consider how to find the right summer camp for your kids – even amid a pandemic.

Enjoy this issue of Chippewa Valley Family, which we hope will bring a little warmth into your life, no matter what the thermometer says!

(Photo at top: Lambing time at Govin’s Farm in Menomonie.)