The abundance of educational and recreational opportunities for students in Southern Chester County provides more than enough enhancement to make up for three months of not sitting in a classroom.
We have been reminded of the chances kids have to expand their worlds, especially here at the Avon Grove Sun, with the presence of one college and one high school intern.
Frankie Donlon is a college student interested in photojournalism. She has been spreading her intellectual wings by attending local events and learning how to put them into readable form. She has her ear to the ground, especially in the Oxford area, and is finding things that are going on. And her camera is ever-ready to record the visual aspect.
Jenn Kelly, a senior at Avon Grove, came on the scene and then abruptly went off for a week of journalism camp. She said she's interested in writing as a career and is taking advantage of the summer months to enhance her skills.
We also ran into an enterprising Avon Grove senior, Sarah Gaffney, who is involved in serious scientific research at the university of Delaware. Given the luxury of a summer vacation, what she's learning during full days of work in a laboratory outstrips school-year science class.
These three kids are learning, among other things, to structure their own time and apply their own abilities to a goal.
The internships at the Sun, and Sarah's at the university, are not the only windows to enhanced learning during the hot weather, however. In the course of covering young people in the paper, we have seen opportunities that equal, if not surpass, the day-to-day schooling we see inside academic walls from September to early June.
First and foremost are the sports and recreational leagues that help young bodies grow into strong and healthy adults. The local YMCAs make a mighty effort to provide not only swim teams and lessons, but swim and party activities that are appropriate for all ages. And their teams are large. Many kids who could not make a varsity team at the high school level (or have no access at all lower school levels) can compete and learn sportsmanship everyday of the week at the Y.
Baseball and softball teams abound in this region, a hotbed of enthusiasm for the sports. Starting with Tee-Ball for 4-year-olds and going beyond school years to middle age men, the local recreation associations see to it that there's plenty of time at bat for everyone.
And then there's the intellectual enhancement that's offered by the Avon Grove and Bayard Taylor libraries. Not only are there day-to-day story hours and weekly projects, but special events like Science in the Summer engage young minds in a relaxed atmosphere that does not require testing or the drudgery of homework.
Special interest camps offer students of all ages to challenge their skills. The Boy Scout and Girl Scout camps provide workshops and special interest sessions in a relaxed atmosphere of the out-of-doors. And while they're outside, the kids are coming into contact with nature, learning about conservation and survival skills, all the while forming friendships outside the confines of school walls where they are limited in their chances to make a lot of noise and run around.
In the 20-mile radius of Southern Chester County, there are also many museums and art galleries where students with time on their hands can go to spend a leisurely afternoon soaking up culture. Or they can go to Philadelphia and learn about public transportation and the fast life on the streets.
Yes, the months in the classroom are vital and teach kids a unified body of information for their post-secondary studies or work. But rejoice in the summer, the gifts it offers and the chance to just goof off. It makes our kids strong, healthy and creative without pressure and homework. And that's got to be good.