The parent’s worst nightmare is upon us! This nightmare breeds fear of inactivity, lack of supervision and some realistic concern that the tween/teen will remain in vegetative, media-induced hypnotism or high risk activity for the rendering of those 10-12 weeks better known as “SUMMER VACATION”. As educators, counselors and principals, the concern for our students’ well-being and retention of values, knowledge and interactions are priority, but as statistics speak, data shows that millions of young people across our nation of all races and social classes engage in vandalism, bicycle theft, car burglaries and random crimes of opportunity at an accelerated rate during these summer months! (1)
Although increased down time, boredom, occasion for increased group activity and less consistent supervision may contribute to “being in the wrong place at the wrong time”, last school days’ messages may stoke young people to invest in summer as opportunity. Encourage students to:
- BE SMART AND MAKE WISE CHOICES
- CONNECT TO OPPORTUNITY
Reassure students to listen to their inner voice when asked to join others or participate in planned and unplanned activity and if the read out is “Don’t, Leave, Not Good”, then BE SMART. One poor or “following the crowd” decision can permanently change a life. Communicate with students to build on their strengths, expand their capacity and find opportunity.
This opportunity can often be revealed through scheduled summer jobs and participations. Encourage students of all ages to work either as a volunteer or as a paid employee. Research indicates that summer jobs, especially for high risk students have reduced juvenile arrests by as much as 43% in some of our larger cities. (2) Opportunities are often available in day camp assisting, YMCA camp counseling, life guarding, pool maintenance, park assistance, VBS church programing, babysitting and child caring, dog walking, lawn and garden tending, cooking for elderly or even working with parents to schedule paid chores as taking care of family laundry, washing of vehicles, etc. Driving teens may look to “errand running” for elderly or busy moms. Ask counselors to brainstorm productively with students to create positive, self-reliant activity.
Suggest that the social media mogul, create summer blogs and share with friends, teachers, etc. Encourage the Xbox devotee to create his/her own Apotheon or Chronicle Survivor and forward the accomplishments to the media teachers. Encourage digital photo collages of summer life be forwarded to the art department. Encourage music, rap and lyric writing.
Ask supervisors and counselors who work during the summer weeks to randomly text, Instagram students regarding their summer investments, providing attention and feedback that many desire.
Have a great summer break!!
For more ideas on surviving Summer Vacation by thriving, contact us at www.allingen.com.
- Juvenile Justice Information Exchange; “OP-ED: The Myth of Juvenile Crime in the Summer”; Marc Schindler and Amanda Petteruti ; August 20, 2014.
- Sciencemagazine.org; “Summer Jobs Lower Violent Crime Rate for Urban Teens”; Jeffrey Merris; December 4, 2014.
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Bullies and bullying can be prevented by the slow and methodic process of mentoring and coaching from a caring mindset. Each and every young person carries a wealth of potential. It’s up to us to see, call forth, and empower that potential. Your diligence and long hours toward maturing this generation are not in vain, but rather are changing the world.