BY MEGAN METLER
Special to the VOICE
Editor’s note: In a break this week from our usual feature, we diverge from Vilma Moretti’s A Little Book About Us to present a current account of what summer means for local youth. Author Megan Metler was born in 2005, and will enter Notre Dame College School this autumn.
“Kids today spend half as much time outside as their parents did,” said a recent survey by the National Trust in the U.K.
“If I have plans to go to my friend’s house, I’m usually outside more then inside,” said Laura Shaefer, 15. “But on a regular day where I’m home for the majority of the time, I would say I’m inside more than outside.”
Is it true that during summer break students spend more time indoors? Many people are outside enjoying the beautiful weather that this hot season brings. The sun is out and the flowers are in full bloom, but not everyone spends their time outdoors.
In a meta-study—or review of other studies—published in the government of Canada’s Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention (HPCDP) Journal, researchers examined physical activity or lack of it for ages 3 and up.
One conclusion? “The majority of children do not meet current physical activity guidelines and spend most of their days engaged in sedentary behaviour.”
The article also concluded that for over 40 percent of youth, walking on local streets accounted for the greatest proportion of their daily activity spent outdoors.
This has not always been the case. Residents of Lookout Ridge retirement community recall their summer vacations when they were around the age of 13.
“I helped my father on the farm. I mostly worked outside all day long,” said Fred Humpfries.
Elizabeth Heddema recalled how her family, which included her parents and their ten children, would listen to the radio for music and plays.
“We also went to the cinema. It had a balcony and fancy chairs. We all got dressed up and I would always wear a dress,” added Heddema. “During the summer we walked and biked a lot, we also went to the library to get books.”
For Logan Stankus, a 14-year-old student, summer is a busy season of hard work.
“Summer is a busy time on my farm so I work for most of the summer—what I do is cut, rake and bale hay and work fields,” said Stankus. “And when I have a few days to spare I go up to our cottage and ride my dirt bike, drive my boat and hang out with friends and family.”
Pelham is equipped with many summer activities readily available to students. The Pelham Pool, parks and camps are some examples. Hiking and backpacking were ranked the most popular summer activities among students in 2018 by Stats Canada.
A study by Stats Canada found that nearly seventy percent of Canadians participate in one or more outdoor activities.
“I spend a lot of time playing soccer, which is all outside and about 5 hours a week,” said Julia Treemer, 12. “And we go into our pool often. I am also going to a camp, which is really fun.”
“I look forward to summer break because I get more time to spend with my family. It’s also warm enough to open my pool which I enjoy using,” said Laura Schaefer.
Shaefer expressed how, like the majority of kids, she’s always excited for school to end so she can have two months off from study.
Summer is different for everyone. Some go on big trips, spend time outdoors or continue loved traditions with family. Adrien Rittner enjoyed camping when he was younger and continues to cherish the experience with his family.
“When I was younger I looked forward to summer break because there was no school, you had lots of freedom, camping, canoeing, baseball and fishing. I would spend all my time outdoors and was only inside to eat and sleep.” said Rittner, “Summer break was always way too short for me and my friends.”
Past and present, summer has always been a time for fun activities, new experiences, connecting with friends and family and a time to make memories that will last forever. ♦