Minnetonka at We Day Minnesota

Minnetonka Student Correspondents: Jenn & Nick

On October 8th students from across the state had the opportunity to attend Minnesota’s first ever We Day event.  Minnetonka Student Correspondent Nick Raap joined the press team at We Day to cover this inspiring event for the Minnetonka blog.  Read Nick’s recap of this special one day event below!

Queen Noor of Jordan onstage at We Day Minnesota 2013

Minnetonka We Day Student Correspondent: Nick Raap

We Day – There is no event more inspiring and meaningful. Every student who is there has earned their way through service to see an awesome line up of speakers and performers! They have given their time and effort to help others, whether it be planning a trip abroad to build a school or collecting books for children, they have done something meaningful. And after all of their hard work, We Day is their reward!

Free The Children co-founders Craig and Marc Kielburger Photo Courtesy of Michael Rajzman/Free The Children

We Day and We Act are initiatives of Free the Children an international charity and educational partner founded in 1995 by Craig and Marc Kielburger after they read the story of Iqbal Masih in a local paper. Iqbal was born in Pakistan to a very poor family. At age 4, he was sold into slavery by his family for the equivalent of $12 dollars. He was chained to a carpet for 14 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 6 years.

At age 10 he escaped and started to speak out about child labor. Two years later, Iqbal was murdered. His story went worldwide, and it was that story that Craig and Marc used to start Free the Children. Today, Free the Children has grown and We Day is one of the world’s largest charitable organizations, with over 3.2 million fans on Facebook.

Robin Wiszowaty and Mia Farrow both in Minnetonka at We Day Photo Courtesy of Michael Rajzman/Free The Children

Stories like Iqbal’s are the types of inspiring stories that many speakers at We Day shared with 18,000 students. Speakers like Martin Luther King III, who shared his father’s message of freedom and equality. He gave hope to the crowd by saying if his mother and father were still alive, they would be championing the We Day cause.

Or when Mia Farrow told everyone that when she was a young star with her own TV show, she was miserable. She said that she had bounced around for a few years, trying to find a purpose in her life before she found Free the Children and her calling.

The Kenyan Boys Choir performing in their Minnetonka Mocs! Photo Courtesy of Michael Rajzman/Free The Children

Many of the speakers at We Day had a common theme in their speech- that all of the 18,000 people present were the leaders of tomorrow. Barbara Bush said “I am here today because I believe that young people are the fundamental key to success”, echoing Marilyn Carlson when she said that “this whole event (We Day) is because we believe in you.” And they are right. Those 18,000 people, they are the future; they will be the leaders of tomorrow. They are the new ‘Great Generation’. Not a generation of Me, but a generation of We!

For more of Minnetonka at We Day, click here!

Star of Disney's Good Luck Charlie Bridgit Mendler wearing her Thunderbird II Mocs. Photo Courtesy of Michael Rajzman/Free The Children

Behind-the-Scenes at We Day Minnesota

Minnetonka We Day Correspondents: Jenn & Nick

On October 8th, 18,000 students from across Minnesota flooded into the Xcel Energy Center for Minnesota’s first ever We Day.  Each student in attendance had to earn their way into this daylong celebration of musical performances and inspiring speakers by committing to one local and one global act of service this year.

Minnetonka We Day Student Correspondent Jenn Fabian went behind-the-scenes as part of the press team to cover this incredible one day event for the Minnetonka blog.  Read Jenn’s coverage of We Day below!

Students from across Minnesota packed the Xcel Energy Center for We Day!

Minnetonka We Day Student Correspondent: Jenn Fabian

If there is one overriding message to take away from We Day and the Me to We Movement, it’s that we are never too young to change the world.  We Day celebrates this generation—and empowers it to strive for ever more.

While each speaker at We Day Minnesota brought their own unique and inspiring message to share with the 18,000 young people in attendance, arguably the most powerful talks were those given by people our age or even younger.

Minnesota's first ever We Day

Hannah Alper, at ten years old, has already accomplished more than most of us in our teens could ever dream of accomplishing.  She started her own blog, Call Me Hannah, and while she began writing about the environment, it soon turned into so much more.

As she pointed out, she was the same age as the now famous education activist Malala Yousafzai was when she began blogging.  At 10 years old, both girls realized there was something wrong in the world, and they refused to stand idly by.  Despite their young age, they knew they could do something to impact at least one life, but they did so much more.

Free the Children co-founder Craig Kielburger takes the stage at We Day Minnesota in his Minnetonka mocs! Photo Courtesy of Michael Rajzman/Free The Children

As part of the press, I was able to attend the press conference with Debby Ryan, Joe Jonas, and Craig Kielburger (one of the founders of Free the Children, the organization responsible for the creation of the Me to We Movement and We Day).

During the press conference, Debby Ryan spoke about her belief in the positive power of social media and what the Me to We Movement is doing to erase the negative stigma associated with social media: “Everything’s gone online and we have so much more power now than ever before, and people like Me to We and Free the Children are kind of changing that and transforming that and using that power for good.”

Bridgit Mendler, Debby Ryan & E! News correspondent Jesse Giddings

We Day is not just about changing the world—it is about changing our world.  As one person we can only do so much, but when you harness the power of 18,000 young people, we can reach more people than we could ever imagine.

How will you change your world?

We Day Minnesota Co-Chairs Dean & Hutton Phillips

Minnetonka Mural Project

Before & After: A Minnetonka green space transformed

When faced with an empty outdoor space at our Minneapolis headquarters, Minnetonka employees along with artist Andrea Avery, creatively came together to construct a beautiful mural capturing the essence of Minnetonka and in turn creating a gorgeous green space for all to enjoy.

Watch how this timeless piece of art came to be and learn more about artist Andrea Avery’s Minnetonka story and the inspiration behind the Minnetonka Mural Project.

Minnetonka employees letting their creative juices flow!

Meet the Artist: Andrea Avery

What are some of the techniques you used to create this Minnetonka mural?
To tackle a mural of this size, it can be approached in many different ways. First, this was a true collaboration with the Minnetonka team and myself. The concept was developed and executed together.

We freehand painted many of the trees and shrubs, and used different spray painting and stencil techniques for the leaves. We projected the logo to make sure it was as accurate as possible. The woodland animals are all prints of paintings I have done, which were then wheat pasted on the mural. About a dozen Minnetonka employees were involved in the creation of the mural, from the design, to putting up scaffolding, to actually taking different shifts to help paint. This was a really great collaborative effort that fully transitioned the space.

Minnetonka Mural Team: Creative Manager Mark Bahn, artist Andrea Avery & Director of Marketing Kalyn Waters

What does Minnetonka mean to you and how did that translate into this mural project?
I grew up in a small tourist town in northern Wisconsin called, Chetek. You could buy Minnetonka moccasins at the local dime store, so the beaded Thunderbird has become a symbol of nostalgia and Americana to me and my family. I’ve  had a pair ever since I can remember. My mom also wears Minnetonka moccasins so I guess you could say they are a staple fashion piece in the Avery family.

When I think of Minnetonka the first thing that comes to mind is “handmade.” Minnetonka reminds me of home– being out on the lake fishing or on a hike in the woods. That was largely the inspiration for this mural project, the natural surrounding of the north woods as well as the changing of the seasons.



My Minnetonka Story: Jenni Pettersson

Jenni's Toubkal hike in her favorite pair of Hi Top Back Zip Boots

What’s your Minnetonka story? Minnetonka fan Jenni Pettersson of Gothenburg, Sweden sent us these amazing snapshots from her hike up Toubkal mountain in southwestern Morocco in her Minnetonka boots!

Jenni & her friends hiking to the top of Toubkal

Following a road trip through the Atlas Mountains, Jenni and her friends spontaneously decided to hike Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa.  Since the hike is 13,671 feet (4,167 meters) Jenni and her friends spent over 9 hours hiking to the top, all while in her favorite pair of Minnetonka Hi Top Back Zip Boots! Jenni told us that at the end of her hike, her boots were a little dusty, and her legs were certainly tired, but her feet were happy thanks to her comfortable Hi Top Back Zip Boots!

Thanks Jenni for sharing your incredible Minnetonka story with us!

A little dusty from the hike but still comfy!

Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa


Minnetonka x Wren – Limited Edition Collaboration!


Is it fall yet? We can’t wait to share our new Fall Limited Edition collaboration with you right now – the Minnetonka x Wren moc!  Minnetonka collaborated with women’s ready-to-wear brand Wren, founded by former Vogue and W fashion editor, Melissa Coker, to create this classic style moc featuring luxe deerskin and metallic beading, available here for purchase for a limited time.

How did this partnership of two classic brands join forces you ask? Melissa’s love for Minnetonka began as a child growing up in the Midwest, spending summer vacations in Wisconsin. The  highlight of each trip for her was buying a new pair of Minnetonka moccasins. Fast forward to Fall of 2013, and Melissa worked with Minnetonka to develop this new take on the iconic Thunderbird moccasin, the style that started out her Minnetonka love affair as a young girl.

To unveil this exciting collaboration, we channeled our inner 1960′s free spirit girl and partnered with award-winning filmmaker, Maximilla Lukacs and the indie pop band, Guards, to create an exclusive acoustic music video of their song “Not Supposed To.” Maximilla shot in a style reminiscent of 1960′s documentary filmmaking, including the use of Super 8 film stock for super saturated colors, which make the Wren dresses worn by Guards’ Kaylie Church, pop alongside the Minnetonka x Wren Mocs.

Front left to right: Wren designer Melissa Coker, Filmmaker Maximilla Lukacs, Minnetonka Marketing Manager Kalyn Waters; Back: Guards

Behind-the-video shot of Kaylie Church, member of Guards, wearing the Minnetonka x Wren moc paired with a Wren leopard dress

Push play below to see how the acoustic video turned out – and click here to purchase the Minnetonka x Wren moc!