Plan now for children’s summer opportunities

Saturday, April 21, 2018

As silly as it sounds — given the current cool weather — summer is indeed right around the corner.

School will soon end and youngsters of all ages will have a carefree time with no tests, homework, etc.

But that raises the age-old question — What do we do this summer?

The question of occupying youngsters over the summer months has been around as long as there have been youngsters and summer.

Each year parents bemoan the lack of activities to occupy those long, lazy days of summer.

The reality is that without some summer activity, kids — especially teens — can often find mischief. Mischief leads to trouble.

But I argue that there are indeed ample opportunities to fill those long summer hours. But those plans start with parents.

My wife and I are blessed to work with a weekly church program for at-risk kids. “Our” kids are first, second and third graders. And they are a joy.

So this week, we asked them of their summer plans.

Not one could provide an answer. Not one.

I can’t provide a comprehensive list of what’s available in our town, but our Sports Complex has countless summer sports leagues. The YMCA has literally thousands of members and hundreds of summer activities. Just about every church has some form of Vacation Bible School or some similar activity.

There are school programs throughout much of the summer months; we have a dozen or so public parks that offer room to play. Our movie theater offers kid-friendly summer entertainment; the library has a host of free summer programs, etc.

The worst thing a parent can do — in my most humble opinion — is to set a kid in front of the television all summer long.

Summer should be a magical time for young people. It should include experiences that form memories lasting a lifetime.

But without some guidance by a parent, kids will be kids. And sometimes, that’s not necessarily a good thing.

I would encourage parents now — not in the first week of June — to explore summer opportunities and make plans to fill those long, summer hours with activities for their children.

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