Boredom busters

Thursday, June 8, 2006

As the summer takes off, a common dilemma is faced by most parents. Usually a youngster doesn't have to spend more than a week at home before they make that all too familiar statement: "There's nothing to do. I'm bored."

With eight and half weeks still to go, I'd like to offer you some suggestions for summer fun. Before I begin my list of "Things to Do" within an hour's drive of Cassville, let me say that I got my idea for this week's editorial from the most recent Cassville Area Chamber of Commerce newsletter. In the June edition, Amy White, chamber director, offers a list of local activities that I found delightful. Some of the ones on my list were also on her list, so thanks Amy for getting me thinking about all there is to do close to home this summer.

• Enjoy our local parks system. Walk on the Greenway Trail, which connects Rocky Edmondson Park, the downtown park and the city's South Park. This trail is great for walking, biking and jogging. It is also lined with fishing spots and swimming holes along the two-mile route. Thanks to the Silver Leaf Benefit Club the trail now includes several beautiful wildflower plantings.

• Take in a softball or baseball game at one of the city fields. Almost every week night, except Wednesday and Sunday, youngsters of all ages can be found playing ball. Even if you don't have a kid on the field, come on out and cheer on both teams.

• Visit the Cassville Family Aquatic Center. Take a refreshing dip in the pool and enjoy the water features as a family.

• Pack up the family and spend the weekend camping and fishing at Roaring River State Park. Take advantage of the park's educational programs offered through the Nature Center and hike one of Roaring River's many wooded trails.

• We are also blessed to live in close proximity to several Civil War battlefields that are an educational and interesting way to spend the day. Pea Ridge Military Park in Pea Ridge, Ark., and Wilson's Creek Battlefield southwest of Springfield are both within an hour's drive. These historic sites offer special educational programs, including battle re-enactments, at various times throughout the year. The parks also provide great alternative exercise sites with bike and walking trails.

• Spend the day at beautiful Table Rock Lake. Lucky for us, we live less than 30 minutes away from some of the best boating and fishing in the Midwest. We're also blessed, because we live near the quiet side of the lake where you don't have to have a huge boat to navigate the waters. Weekday evenings on the lake are the prime time to recreate on the lake in our opinion. There's nothing more relaxing than taking the boat out after work for an hour of two or wakeboarding, waterskiing and swimming. As a matter of fact, anytime on the lake is a great time. There are several public use areas around the lake that provide camping, swimming and boating access for a very minimal fee.

• Although summer isn't when rivers run fast, it's still the perfect time to take a lazy float trip down one of the area rivers. The Kings River, Flat Creek, Elk River and the Buffalo River in Arkansas are just a few of the nearby streams that allow you to enjoy the Ozarks beauty from a fresh vantage point while fishing, sunning and paddling to your heart's content.

• Public libraries are another place where children and adults can fight boredom. Each branch library is hosting summer reading programs, and special events are planned almost weekly at each library site. Reading a good book is the perfect escape and can take the reader to exotic locations all over the world. Encourage your child to turn off the TV and the Playstation and pick up a thrilling suspense novel or science fiction fantasy. Books broaden the mind and expand the imagination and create plenty of summer adventure.

Now that you've read our list of summer activity ideas there's no excuse to be bored, especially when we live in such a beautiful part of the country. Think of it this way, people spend thousands of their travel dollars coming to southwest Missouri each year while we get to enjoy this area for free. Happy summer.