I’ve seen a whole mess of caps and gowns around town today, so Memorial Day, Summer Solstice, all of that seems secondary to the real start of summer—School is Out!
First Lady Michelle Obama helps fill care packages during a Congressional Service event at the Kennedy Recreation Center in Washington, D.C. June 8, 2010. (by Lawrence Jackson)
Ahh the dreamy days of 3 months of unplanned time. When I was a kid it meant a ton of bike riding, skateboarding, playing tag under the streetlights, and certainly getting up to our fair share of no good…but it didn’t mean an inordinate amount of time in front of a TV (or more likely today, computer). We cherished being outside. Not so much today’s kids. The lure of video games, Wii, TV reruns, and facebook are all far too strong to get them out the front door. In a White House press brief, “Research shows that many of our young people suffer learning set-backs and develop unhealthy eating habits during the summer break. Children can lose more than two months’ progress in reading achievement over the summer, and inactivity during the summer months can cause children to gain weight three times faster than during the school year.”
To counteract the ennui and inaction, First Lady Michelle Obama is extending her First Lady Platform against childhood obesity (Let’s Move) and spearheading “United We Serve: Let’s Read, Let’s Move” Here are some ways for you to get involved, motivating your own family and others. You could
- Build or rehab a playground
- Clear a walking trail
- Sponsor a sports tournament or camp for kids
- Support a child to meet the President’s active lifestyle challenge
- Conduct summer feeding program outreach
- Create a community garden
- Glean a local farm and donate the fresh produce
- Read to kids
- Organize a book drive
- Organize a back to school supplies drive
This summertime energizing movement is a joint project of the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Departments of Education, Agriculture, Interior, and Health and Human Services, as well as the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences…and US.
A little Wii, a pinch of facebooking and keeping in touch, a daily dose of reading this blog…it needn’t add up to an entire summer day. Fill the rest of the time, and make sure there is ample food/nutrition and play opportunities for families that cannot supply enough on their own. When the school bell rings in September, you’ll look back at this summer with satisfaction, knowing you did something more than score a personal best on Super Mario Brothers.