Did you sign me up for the special summer class? my toddler asks. I launch into a lengthy explanation about her school camp options. Stop when I realize what she is referring to. Oh, you mean the Liberty Science Center little kid camp, I say. Yes, you are all registered for that.
Each spring, I longingly read through the summer camp options at LSC. I count down the years until my eldest child is eligible to attend. This year, as she enters fifth grade, is the first that she is old enough to attend. And much to my surprise and delight? There are new camp offerings for younger kids, so I registered all three of my children.
Several years ago, I set myself a challenge. Go to events open to the public and find a way to have special experiences similar to the ones I get when I attend private events. It was definitely a challenge, since public events tend to be extremely crowded plus have many fewer staff members in attendance.
I set myself several ground rules. Do not tell anyone in advance that I am coming. Show up armed only with what I normally carry with me, specifically my handbag and DLSR camera. And also? Bring my family with me.
The results? Were extraordinary. It turns out that when you are patient and friendly, people will go out of their way to help you. I learned in several instances that the absolute worst thing I can do is wave my press credentials around. Simply being a mom has gotten my entire family into places like Philadelphia Independence Hall, where there is a six month waitlist for tickets.
Why do I do this? Why don’t I simply accept the numerous invitations for private events that flood my email inbox? Because the best way for me to write about experiences is by behaving like a regular person. If I have a gold VIP star next to my name on a list then I find I cannot accurately answer questions about pricing and access.
One of the reasons why I chose to send my children to public school is because I want them to have experiences that anyone can have. And this summer will be more of the same since Liberty Science Center is making the program accessible to kids from a wide range of backgrounds.
Kathy Zucker is an international social media Shorty Award winner, mother of three and a startup founder at companies including the Metro Moms Network®.