High School/My Life 10 Fun Things to Do with Your Summer Break by Eric Porteous One of my favorite things about high school was the last week of school. Sure there were finals, but I knew the school year was about to end, and it was almost time for summer break. Ah . . . summer break. Oh how I would look forward to it. Oh how I would long for it. Oh how I would plan out all the exciting things I was going to do, only to get trapped in a cycle of boredom within a week. You probably know the drill and have been there before. There’s nothing to do. It’s too hot, and theme parks are too expensive. So, what can you do? Well, if you’re not already going to Life Teen Summer Camp, here are 10 fun things you can do with your summer vacation: Backyard camping. Who doesn’t love a good camping trip? Why not take all the travel and preparation out of it and have one in your very own backyard? Grab a tent, some friends (of the same gender), and your sleeping bags, and get ready for a fun night laughing, telling stories, and more. For an added bonus, bring along some graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate to make smores. Chutes and Ladders Tournament. Bring back the memories of your childhood by getting out the old Chutes and Ladders board game from your closet. (You know you still have it.) Find some friends who own it to have multiple games, get a bunch of people together, and setup a tournament bracket. Give the winner a big blue ribbon to wear, and if you don’t have the game, try Candy Land. Volunteer some of your time for that ‘Cause’ you ‘liked’ on Facebook. We all have causes that we ‘support’ on facebook, but supporting something on your page and actively working for them are two different things. Take a look at those causes, and find out how you can volunteer some of that free time you have for them. It will make a world of difference. Create a short movie or documentary. Nowadays, websites like YouTube are very popular as people create videos that they hope will go viral. Sometimes the videos are great. Other times, not so much. Why not get a group of friends together, write a screenplay and script, and put together a 5 or 10-minute movie? You could work on this in one day, one week, or even a whole month. Christmas in July. One of my favorite times of year is Christmas: the joy, the gifts, the decorations. I just love it. So, why does it have to be only once a year? Get out your Christmas tree and garland, blast your favorite version of ‘Holly Jolly Christmas’, and host a Christmas party in July. If you really want to make it fun, organize a white elephant gift exchange, or watch a classic Christmas movie like ‘Elf’. Wiffle Ball Homerun Derby. If you’re a baseball fan, you know all about the annual Homerun Derby. (In fact, this year I’m really excited because it’s in Phoenix. If anyone has tickets, they want to donate to a man in ministry and diehard baseball fan, I think I may know someone who’s interested). Anyway, it’s an exciting event, and as a kid, I used to dream of what it would be like to play in my own. But, who says you can’t? Go to your local store, get that thin yellow bat and white wiffle ball, and play in your front yard. If you really want to go back to your childhood, pretend to be your favorite player. I’m Ken Griffey, Jr.! Help with Vacation Bible School. My mom is a Coordinator of Christian Formation at a Catholic parish, and she would love that I put this on the list. Why? Because she is always in need of good teenagers to help out at Vacation Bible School. As teenagers you are role models to many younger kids, and what better way to spend part of your summer than to teach them about the faith. It’s a great week, filled with lots of joy, and you’ll probably make some new friends too! Slip ‘N Slide races. Is it possible to not smile while you are around a Slip ‘N Slide? Ok, maybe if you sprained your ankle, but otherwise, this is one of the most joyful things in the world. So, what’s better than one Slip ‘N Slide? How about 2 of them, side-by-side, so you can race? For an even bigger smile on your face, grab a pack of Yoo-hoo and some popsicles. Make a scrapbook. I am not an arts and crafts kind of guy. I can barely draw a stick figure, but I do love reflecting on the many good times I’ve had in my life. If you’re looking for something to do this summer, take some time to go through some old pictures or mementos and make your own scrapbook. It’ll be a great thing that you can go back to at any time when you want to remember something special in your life. Learn something new. Summer vacation is a great opportunity to do something you always wanted to do but didn’t have the time. You have about 3 months of free time on your hands; use it to learn something new. Perhaps you could take some cooking classes. (If you’re going to be heading off to college soon, this is a good skill to learn; trust me.) Maybe you could take some guitar lessons or learn another instrument. What about learning another language? The opportunities are endless. After all, learning doesn’t have to be something we only do at school. Regardless of how you spend your summer break, be sure to make the most of it. Once you’re done with school and in the work force, you’re going to miss the 3 months of free time you used to have to do whatever you want. These are just some ideas. Come up with some of your own, and be creative. Your summer vacation will only be boring if you allow it to be.