Meerci Picnics: Shop for a Picinic and Share with a Friend… or More!

Meerci Picnics: Shop for a Picinic and Share with a Friend… or More!

Credit: Meerci Picnics

Meerci Picnics often sets up at six different parks in the Twin Cities.

College roommates launch luxury pop-up picnic service in Twin Cities. Chameer St. Urbain and Kanee Yang took their love for party-planning and turned it into a luxury pop-up picnic business.

Kare11: When it comes to picnics, Chameer St. Urbain and Kanee Yang go above and beyond your typical blanket and basket.

“It’s Instagram-worthy,” St. Urbain and Yang said at the same time, laughing.

Not only are they best friends, they have been college roommates at Bethel University since their Freshman year. During the pandemic, they took their love for party planning and turned it into a business.

“During COVID, it was just kind of hard to figure out what to do in a safe way,” St. Urbain said. “We thought this would… be like a cute idea and also unique for the summer just because you can be outside with a smaller party and still be COVID safe.”

St. Urbain has one semester left as a business major while Yang recently graduated.

“I’m taking a gap year before I go to med school and so I just wanted to do something different and new and fresh. So I saw that this is a great opportunity for me to do with my best friend,” Yang said.

Meerci Picnics launched in June, popping up in Twin Cities parks. The name is a play on St. Urbain’s first name, Chameer, while also a nod to the French word merci which means “thank you.”

“I had seen a lot of Instagram accounts for California… LA, San Diego-area and a lot of luxury beach picnics. We’re in Minnesota so there’s a lot of lakes and a lot of parks that we can use,” St. Urbain said.

 

Credit: Meerci Picnics
The business offers three packages: Paint and Chill, Tea Time and Picnic Party.

Meerci Picnics often sets up at six different parks in the Twin Cities: Bde Maka Ska, Lake Johanna, Medicine Lake Park, Gold Medal Park, Boom Island Park and Lake Harriet. Clients can also let them know if they have a special place in mind, like a backyard.

The business offers three packages: Paint and Chill, Tea Time and Picnic Party.

“We offer food from charcuterie boards, so our meat and cheese platter. We also have small finger pastries like macarons, small cookies. We also offer chocolate-covered strawberries, chocolate-covered pretzels and different treats like that,” St. Urbain said.

The two-hour reservations are for 2-6 guests although additional guests can be added for $30 per guest. Meerci Picnics will set everything up and clean up after.

 

Credit: Meerci Picnics
Meerci Picnics launched in June 2021.

Since launching a month ago, they have set up luxury picnics for a number of celebrations. It can be gifted to a loved one for a date night, anniversary or birthday.

“You learn new things like every week,” Yang said.

St. Urbain added, “Also, it’s really great to be able to work with your best friend and have that support and be sure that you have a partner and you’re not doing it alone.”

Depending on the number of guests, picnic packages range from $80-$210 with the ability to include add-ons.

You can book online or direct message them on Instagram or Facebook at MeerciPicnics.

 Heidi Wigdahl

Know a local business we should feature for our Behind the Business segment? Email Heidi Wigdahl at hwigdahl@kare11.com.

Happy Pride Month!

Happy Pride Month!

Photo by Patrick Forslund Photography
Kare11: Learn more about Pride in the Twin Cities and ways you can support LGBTQ+ youth impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

MINNEAPOLIS — The return of LGBTQ Pride month amid a retreat of COVID-19 cases across the United States, means Pride parties and parades are set to resume in cities across the country after a year of pandemic cancellations.

The return of those annual celebrations is a hopeful sign for many in the LGBTQ community, but Dr. Angela Kade Goepferd, Medical Director of the Gender Health Program at Children’s Minnesota, says the parades and public gatherings represent a lifeline to many LGBTQ young people.

“I think its particularly hard for LGBTQ kids, when these events disappear,” Dr. Goepferd said, during an interview with KARE11 last June. “For LGBTQ kids that physical distance and social distance when schools closed was really particularly hard. Youth tend to come out to their peers first, and then at home, so they lost that social network.”

In the year since Dr. Goepferd first expressed concern about the impact on LGBTQ youth, she says the problem only grew.

“What I have seen in the kids that I’ve taken care of is increased depression, anxiety, increased feelings of isolation, feeling they are at home with parents who don’t understand their identity,” Dr. Goepferd said. “(Parents) may not respect their identities or use their name and pronoun. That’s a lot of what I’ve been seeing and, nationally, that’s what we’ve been seeing as well.”

According to a new national survey conducted by the Trevor Project – a national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth – 42% of LGBTQ youth reported seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, while 48% could not access the mental health care they desired.

“That tells me that we have a mental health crisis in this country for all kids, I think, in general,” Dr. Goepferd said. “One thing that we’ve seen here at Children’s Minnesota is that, since the pandemic, our Emergency Department has been filling up with kids who are in mental health crisis. I think that a lot of kids are experiencing increased depression, anxiety and suicidality, and unable to access the services that they need. For LGBTQ kids, the pool of resources gets even smaller.”

And unlike their peers, Dr. Goepferd says LGBTQ youth have a harder time finding support at home. According to the Trevor Project survey 80% of LGBTQ youth reported that COVID-19 made their living situation more stressful, and only one-third of young people reported living in a home that is LGBTQ-affirming.

“So two-thirds of kids did not feel supported by their parents at home, versus about 50% of kids who feel supported in school,” Dr. Goepferd said.

With many students now back in school, Dr. Goepferd says she’s beginning to see more LGBTQ youth reconnect with their peers and support systems, but she says the return of Pride events, in person, promises an even more powerful hope on the horizon.

“It’s a different way to celebrate identity,” she said. “So often we talk about accepting kids or loving kids, but we don’t use the word celebration very often. Pride is just one big huge celebration. It’s visual, it’s community, it’s a way to say, not only is it okay that you are LGBTQ, it’s great.”

While the big celebrations are impactful, Dr. Goepferd says simply loving and supporting someone for who they are has shown to be one of the most powerful actions to help LGBTQ youth. She says young people who report being loved and supported for who they are, have far better mental health outcomes and far lower rates of attempted suicide.

If you are thinking about suicide and in need of immediate support, you can call the TrevorLifeline at 1-866-488-7386, text START to 678-678 or click here for online support.

 Kent Erdahl

Happy #Pride month to all our LGBTQ friends and family.

We love you, we support you and we’re proud to have you as a part of our community! 

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