Five ways to spend your summer

Teens who haven’t yet made plans for this summer should considering checking with local camps to see if counselors are still being hired. (ThinkStock)

JASON KAPLAN, LADUE HORTON WATKINS HIGH SCHOOL, JUNIOR

In case the news hasn’t spread, summer (and freedom from school) is just another month away. A plethora of swimming pools, glasses of lemonade and blistering heat are waiting at the finish line. But swimming every day for three months isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and even lemonade gets old after a while. If only there was a guide on how to spend the perfect summer in five easy steps… oh wait, it’s right here.

1. Work. While it might be too late to get a job at the J Day Camp, it’s worth a call, in case they’re still looking for a last-minute counselor. If not, there are plenty of other opportunities. Try a local restaurant or movie theater, watch the neighbor’s kids for a few hours or ask the lawn crew if they need any help this summer. Finding a summer job in St. Louis is not as difficult as it may seem, and with the right effort, making a couple hundred bucks should be an easy task

2  Volunteer. Can’t find anything to watch on TV? Call the Harvey       Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry to sign up as a volunteer. Its new location is bigger, better and capable of feeding more people than ever before. Extra hands are always welcome, and some tasks might include sorting and shelving food or bagging and distributing the packages. It’s one of the most rewarding activities in the area. If this doesn’t sound interesting, go oneline to St. Louis Volunteen, www.stlouisvolunteen.com, which lists all kinds of opportunities to volunteer throughout the area. It was started by Simone Bernstein about five years ago when she was still at Clayton High and has grown throughout the years.

 3  Learn  Just because the calendar says June doesn’t mean school is out of session. If you haven’t yet crossed mastering Hebrew off of your bucket list, pick up Rosetta Stone and get started. Call your rabbi and set up study times, and organize a group of friends to practice with you. Learning a new language, studying a culture or practicing old traditions are excellent ways to enrich a summer experience.

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4  Play. Playing comes naturally to teenagers, but unfortunately, it’s sometimes difficult to come up with ideas. When was the last time anyone got their entire neighborhood in on a game of capture the flag? It’s just like finding the Afikoman, but there are two of them! Summer isn’t all about sleeping and being lazy, and active behavior is vital to a successful break. Try fishing, golfing, playing Frisbee or walking the dog. Get everyone together and make it a group effort. At the end of the day, set up a fire and make s’mores. Maybe this was all already part of the plan, but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded and inspired, right?

Travel. Hey 18-year-olds, great news! Registration for summer 2013 Birthright trips closed in February (summer 2014 is closer than it seems), but come September it’s time to register for a winter trip! Get on the list as soon as possible, as spots fill up quick. For everyone else looking to get away before then, airplane tickets to the Big Apple are one click away, and a road trip to Chicago is even easier on the wallet. This summer potentially holds the trip of a lifetime, so be sure to check out some museums wherever the destination, and take lots of photos. If a family trip to Israel isn’t out of the question, then by all means hop on an international flight and go! Travel safe!

There’s lots to do this summer and just three months to make it all happen, so try taking it one day at a time (just like Phineas and Ferb) to make the most of the freest of seasons.

 

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