Lisa Friedlander and Ilene Miller — entrepreneurs and founders of Activity Rocket.com
Potomac Ilene Miller and Lisa Friedlander are busy Bethesda moms who had an innovative idea — and now their inspiration is benefiting scores of families throughout Montgomery County, Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia. “Activity Rocket” has taken off and is soaring.
Mlller and Friedlander are “recovering attorneys” with five children between them who range from ages 6 through 11. As best friends, they discussed the headaches of calendar juggling, decision-making and carpooling demands for their own children’s after-school activities and summer camps. The two entrepreneurial spirits then developed the idea of a web-site business that would provide a tool to help moms and dads choose their children’s activities without stress.
Friedlander explains how the idea took shape. “I was looking for activities for my then 3-year-old daughter, Camryn, and Ilene was searching for an airline ticket on a popular website. I spent three hours looking and she was finished in a few minutes. That’s when the idea hit us.”
Last year, they launched Activity Rocket — a website that provides a guide and a list of available activities, classes, sports, camps, afterschool and enrichment opportunities for children in the area. The free website tells where the classes are held, which day of the week, and how much the class costs. Moms and dads can choose to search by class provider, location, how far the class is from home, class start date, day of the week and time of day.
“You can prioritize by age, gender, zip code, activity, day and cost — and feedback is instant with a listing of all the activities according to the specifications put in,” Miller said. “Also included on the website is a planner so parents can schedule an activity and be certain that it will not conflict with their other children’s schedules. More information is provided about the class through comments from former students. Classes are also listed for children with special needs and information is included so that parents can check out the appropriateness of a specific class for their child.”
Parents can also read educational blogs on the “Activity Rocket” website. The blogs cover topics that range from “Tips to Play it Safe with Sports and Orthodontia” to “How to Separate from Your Young One” to “Kids Say the Darndest Things.”
“We hope to eventually take ‘Activity Rocket’ nationwide,” said Miller. “We have received requests from other Maryland counties and friends from other states are hoping we will expand quickly.” They have hired additional staff to help them manage many requests from providers who would like their information on the website. Partners include their first client, the City of Rockville Recreation Department, Montgomery County Parks and Recreation and hundreds of other businesses.
The Activity Rocket website is www.activityrocket.com. To list a business, class or camp, contact email@example.com or call 301-563-9404. For more information, go to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updated: This story has been changed to correct Lisa Friedlander's name.