Summer of Adventure

Summer is nearly upon us.

The sun (occasionally) shines and the breeze is sometimes a little bit warm. Even though it might not feel like it here in Minnesota, summer is right around the corner. When school lets out, take a day or two – sleep in, lounge around, wear your jammies all day. Then, get yourself together, because I’ve got a challenge for you.

Your summer mission, if you choose to accept it, is to embrace adventure.

Before you ask, I’m not going to suggest you solo kayak some thrilling rapids (though if you have the training, gear, and parental permission, I guess go for it?) or bungee jump over a canyon. Nope, the adventure I’ve got in mind for you is a little more daring than that.

In this, the summer of adventure, I want you to take a really close look at your comfort zone and find new ways to step outside it. Summer is a great in-between time, whether it’s between grades, schools, or as you prepare to head off to college. It offers you a lot of chances to notice whether you’re stuck in a rut or holding yourself back because you’re uncertain about something. So this summer, I challenge you to shake it up a little. Nudge yourself out of that safe and comfy routine and do something new. Not sure what that is? Read on.

First, some ground rules. When planning your adventure, you must always (always) be safe – no risking life and limb, my lovely adventurers. Also, your parents or guardians must know where you are and what you’re doing – heck, invite ‘em to join in, nearly everyone could use a little adventure in their life. Also, adventure doesn’t require a plane ticket or a hefty bank balance either – you’d be surprised how easy it can be to find an adventure close to home. Here are four things you could do to get the adventures started.

Be a Beginner

Remember how excited you used to feel when something new arrived in your life? When your first-grade class learned to square dance or your parents got you a new bike for your birthday? The fun of being silly with your friends, the exhilarating feeling of wobbling down the driveway on the new bike? You did those things with joy and you didn’t worry if you looked silly! It can be easy to forget about how fun it can be to be a beginner as you get older. So embrace new beginnings. Think of something you’ve been meaning to try and do it – without worrying whether you’re good at it. Paint with watercolors! Bake a croissant from scratch! Learn to say good morning in twenty languages! Whatever you do, remember to enjoy the experience without getting hung up on success. I promise, when you look back on it, you’re not going to be disappointed if you didn’t become a master pastry chef, you’ll be glad you spent a week dusted in flour and doing silly french accents while rolling out the dough with your BFF.

Celebrate Where You Live

You don’t need to travel to exotic lands to have an adventure. Get to know your own hometown better! Did you know that in Minnesota we’ve got the world’s largest ball of twine (Darwin), a museum dedicated to SPAM (Austin) and a state pie festival (Braham)? Plan an adventure to some of the many summer fairs and festivals that might be right around the corner. Celebrate Aebleskiver Days or grab tickets to the Great River Shakespeare festival. It’s definitely still an adventure, even if you’re just driving to the next town.

Learn Something That Makes You Nervous

This summer, learn to do one thing that makes you just a little bit nervous. Look through the class lists in your local Community Education catalog or check out Parks & Recreation activities in your area. Pick something that catches your interest and also seems a little bit scary. Things sitting squarely at the corner of “nervous” and “excited” often make really good adventures. For instance, I’m not a sporty person, but on a whim, I signed up for a six week class on Russian kettlebell lifting. I was really nervous that I’d look stupid or totally fail, but it did sound fun. When the class was over and I could swing a kettlebell? I felt like a total boss. So find what makes you juuuuuuust a little nervous and get out there. Take a class on woodworking, learn to use power tools, and feel extra handy. Join a kickball league and put that “best kicker in the third grade” skill to use on the field with some new teammates. Write poetry in a creative writing class and see how it feels to share it with the world (or at least your class). Learn a new skill that scares you a bit and see how valliant you feel when you’ve taken it on.

Do Something Good for Someone Who Needs it

Adventures aren’t always about going somewhere exotic or learning to flamenco dance (though if either of those things are on your list this summer, please, by all means, tell me about it). Sometimes, having an adventurous spirit means putting yourself out there and helping someone else. Get more engaged in your neighborhood or community. Volunteer to lead bingo afternoons at a retirement home or help out at a food shelf. Offer to mow the lawn of the sleep-deprived new parents next door. Enlist the help of parents, friends, and neighbors to find ways that you could do something unexpected to help someone else, even if it’s not your usual routine.

Are you ready for adventure this summer? Pick one, choose your own, or do one of each! Make sure you keep track of all your summer adventures (and keep us at Homeworks posted).

An adventurous summer awaits.

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