Happy Friday! Megan here.

Weather check: Chilly and windy

This weekend, you'll get smart about mental health for Mental Health Awareness Month. You'll also find a roundup of free summer fun in Sioux Falls. Plus, find a few Super Simplified Stories to take you into the weekend.

And now, news:


Get smart about mental health with Dakotah Jordan

Simplified: Dakotah Jordan is the education and postvention manager for Lost & Found, a nonprofit that works to eliminate suicide. She chatted with Sioux Falls Simplified about the importance of mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month.

Answers are edited for length and clarity. Responses are quotes from Jordan.

Let's start with your background, how did you "get smart" about mental health? What in your background prepared you for your role today with Lost & Found?

I have a bachelors degree in social work, and in college I went through a very strenuous academic program and needed to take care of my own mental health.

  • I found yoga in college – for me it was always a mental health tool. I became a yoga teacher and started a business to help people use yoga and breathwork as tools for mental wellbeing.

Since coming to Lost & Found, I have immersed myself in learning more about the suicide prevention side of mental health. I’ve become a trainer in multiple prevention trainings, read books, learned from those with lived experience, attended conferences and more.

We're all about simplicity here. Can you describe the importance of mental health in 10 words or fewer? 

Mental health impacts every area of your wellbeing, prioritize it.

What's something you find most folks misunderstand or get wrong about mental health? If you could set the record straight, what would you say? 

I would like to think this is changing, but when we hear the words mental health, it has a negative connotation. People assume you're talking about mental illness.

  • We don't talk about it as a neutral term, and it is – just like physical health is a neutral term.

See the full interview here


Super Simplified Stories

  • Don't forget your free landfill pass. Sioux Falls residents have until Dec. 31 to use your annual free pass to the landfill. Last year was the first time the pass went paperless – instead of getting a postcard in the mail, you just use your driver's license to confirm your address and use the free pass.
    • This year, the free passes extended to eligible households in Lake, Lincoln, McCook, Minnehaha, and Turner Counties.
  • Pools opening soon. Sioux Falls public pools and splash pads will open at 1 p.m. on May 31, weather permitting. The splash pad at the Great Plains Zoo is also now open. Learn more on that here.


Where to find free summer fun in Sioux Falls

Simplified: School's out, and summer is in full swing. Here's a roundup of fun things you can do in town without spending a dime.

  • Catch a concert. Levitt at the Falls hosts 50 free outdoor concerts each summer, and this year's season kicks off May 31. You can find a full lineup here. You can also find live music during Mondays at McKennan, as well as Fridays on the Plaza downtown.
  • Splash around. You will have to pay at least a day rate to use the city pools, but there are also a couple of options for water fun that don't require any payment. Pioneer Spray Park, Hayward Park splash pad and the McKennan Park wading pool are all available to use for free.
  • See some art. It costs $0 to walk around and check out the 80 sculptures included in the downtown SculptureWalk. You can also vote for your favorite because each year the city purchases one sculpture to become a permanent installation in Sioux Falls.
  • Get fit. The parks and recreation department offers six free Fitness in the Park classes throughout the summer at Rotary Park. No registration is needed, and you can find dates and times here.
  • See a children's theater show. Catch a free children's theater performance in the McKennan Park bandshell as part of the city's Storyland Children's Theatre. The first show is "The Wizard of Oz," starting June 18.
  • Check out a state park. Typically you have to pay an entry fee to get into a state park, but if you've got a library card, you can rent a state parks pass from Siouxland Libraries. It's a great, free way to check out places like Palisades State Park, Good Earth State Park, Newton Hills State Park and all the other regional parks. Learn more here.
  • Explore the outdoors. You can learn all about outdoor activities like hunting, fishing and more through programming at the Outdoor Campus. Find hours and a detailed list of programs here.

Did I miss something? Reply to this email or share with us on Instagram/Facebook/Twitter @sfsimplified.


What I'm falling for this weekend:


More Simplified Stories

Stuff to do: May 22-28
Here’s a look at what’s happening in Sioux Falls this week.
How Dorothy’s List shines a light on inclusive businesses
A new organization is working to not only help people support businesses who are allies to the LGBTQ+ community, but also to provide resources for those businesses to show that support year-round – not just during Pride Month.
They’re in. What’s next for four new City Councilors?
Now that the newly elected City Council members are officially in, Sioux Falls Simplified asked them what they’re first priorities are.


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Reach out

What story do you want to see simplified? Falling for something local? Send any news tips, attaboys, missed typos or BBQ invites to megan@sfsimplified.com.

Thank you

Thank you to Sioux Falls Simplified sponsors, including Dakota Adventure Supply, the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, Panther Premier Print Solutions, Barre3 Sioux Falls, Midco, the Great Plains Zoo, and the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance. When you support them, you're also supporting Sioux Falls Simplified.