May 25, 2018

School’s (Almost) Out

School’s (Almost) Out

It’s hard to believe that Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer, is already here. But first and foremost, let’s not forget the true purpose of the holiday. It’s a day to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. We should all be sure to pay homage to these heroes, whether it’s saluting a veteran, marching in the Memorial Day parade in your town, donating to a veteran’s organization, raising the flag, or showing your appreciation in a way that is meaningful for you and your family. Monday is another opportunity to honor them.

But before Monday rolls around and we kick off summer, many of us will be spending this weekend dusting off the barbecue grills we stored away for the winter. We’re in the home stretch of the school year, and that means Tracy and I will be getting ready to pack up the kids soon for our traditional July-August sojourn on the East End of Long Island. Some of you may be gearing up for another summer ritual: Getting the kids ready for camp.

Camp means many things to many people, but one thing it hopefully means is less screen time for our kids. Regular readers know I love tech, but with schools bringing computers and tablets into more and more classrooms and kids glued to their phones the rest of the time, there’s a little too much of a good thing. Camp and family vacations are a great way to get our kids off of devices, away from video games, and back outside in the fresh air and sunshine where they belong.

Unfortunately, many children aren’t fortunate enough to be packing up duffel bags or even heading to a neighborhood day camp. They spend their summers in city environments, and they may not have the opportunities to enjoy the summer sun and outdoor activities that many suburban kids take for granted. It breaks my heart to think about how many children have never experienced a hike in the woods, a bicycle ride or a swim in the ocean. That’s not to mention how many kids are home alone during the day while their parents are at work, without structured activities to keep them engaged and happy during the long summer school break.

If you live in New York City, you may be familiar with the Fresh Air Fund, which pays for children who live in low-income communities to escape hot, noisy city streets and get away to the country or the shore. The Fresh Air Fund is one of the charities nominated by Marcum’s NY/NJ associates this year as a beneficiary of the Marcum Foundation’s planned giving program. Having a chance to experience nature can be life-changing for kids who have never experienced it – especially in a setting where they can make new friends.

With summer such a long time in coming this year, it’s easy to get caught up in making our own plans to make the most of the mid-year vacation season. If you are charitably inclined, consider making a donation to a group in your area that provides summer respite for kids whose parents can’t. It can make all the difference for a child who might otherwise miss out on summer fun.

P.S. I hope you and your family have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend.