Outdoor activity is crucial for summer

Published 9:17pm Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The gnats have arrived. It’s just the early wave, and I assume they’ll get more and more intense over the course of the next couple months.
I’m thankful the little pesky insects weren’t part of my summers growing up in North Georgia. If they were, it would have made all the time I spent outdoors slightly aggravating. My dad always joked when we would visit my grandparents in Moultrie that if I cut a hole in the back of my britches, they’d all leave my face and head to my behind.
I haven’t tried that yet, but depending on how bad the gnats get this summer, it’s an idea I should probably keep in my back pocket.
My summers did consist of what every young boy’s summers should be filled with – baseball with friends, exploring the woods on our bikes and running around the house pegging each other with a tennis ball.
I was never indoors. My dad would kick my sisters and me outside at 10 a.m., lock the door and say, “Don’t try to get back inside unless you’re bleeding.” If we were thirsty, we had all the water we wanted from the hose. Hunger was satiated with some sandwiches or watermelon around lunchtime. We wouldn’t be allowed back in until around 6 p.m. By that point the smell of hamburgers on the grill made our stomachs growl.
So for roughly eight hours every day, my friends and I were scrounging around for something to do. Sometimes we’d stretch our ideas too far and get in trouble, but mostly it was harmless games that resulted in more than a few bruises.
As much as I hated being kicked outside on those hot summer days, I am grateful my parents did it. I think I had more fun horsing around with my friends than I would have inside watching TV or playing Gameboy. I learned how to get dirty, sweat and exercise. I learned to get creative. It was fantastic.
Parents in Bainbridge and the rest of Decatur County should encourage their kids to get outside as much as possible this summer. It’s good for them, will make them stronger and well- rounded. If they’re not signed up for some kind of camp, they should be. The social experiences and outdoor activities are perfect for growing boys and girls.
They’ll thank you later.

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