OK~ What's a parent to do? The end of the school year is upon us. I am seeing that many parents are really challenged with what to do with their tweens over the summer. They are too old for daycare, yet they really don't need a babysitter 24/7, so what is a parent to do?
I did a little digging around on this topic today and you know what the best solution I could come up with was? Your local YMCA and Parks and Recreation Departments are a fantastic place for tweens to spend summer. Depending on your particular area, some offer programs geared toward tweens; but most offer programs for younger kids and allow tweens to volunteer. Let's face it, tweens can be excellent role models for 5 and 6 year olds. These are the "big" kids!
Our boys each spent 2-3 weeks at different types of summer camps throughout the years. Our oldest son was a volunteer at church camp for three summers- ages 12, 13 and 14. This kept him busy volunteering for one week out of the summer. The other two he spent attending church camp and another week was spent at Boy Scout Camp. And then he also had Music Camp. There are camps available for tweens all around, just ask.
I often hear, "I can' afford that." My response, "Ask about scholarships. Many organizations have scholarships available for those that can't afford to pay." I can recall a conversation with someone a few years ago in regards to church camp, and we had two scholarships for campers. We could not find two kids to fill the spots. My message here is..... ASK!!!!! There are often people willing to assist financially in keeping our youth busy over the summer.
I will also add, if you can volunteer as a parent to accompany your kids on any camping programs they attend, do it. I do not regret one moment of all of those nights camping under the stars in those Cub/Boy Scout tents with our boys. The years flew by- many fond memories and smiles!
In Iowa our kids have a lot of opportunity to help out in the agriculture industry. Ask around, a farmer often has "odd" jobs that are perfect for tweens. Hey, I spent many hours picking up rocks and I can honestly say that it did not hurt me. I got lucky, as I never dropped a big one on my toes.
The next time you hear someone complain about what their tweens, or kids in general will be doing this summer, encourage them to reach out to local community organizations. There are scholarships, opportunities to volunteer and just plain old GOOD experiences awaiting our kids in our local communities. After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?