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What Does Summer Mean to You?

What Does Summer Mean to You?

By: Catie Weston, Director of Summer Camp and ACDS Alumna, Class of 2006

When someone says the word summer to me, I automatically think of “the pool.” I joined the swim team at 5 years old, and though I couldn’t make it the whole way across the pool without stopping, I was part of the team. As I grew up, the pool grew up with me. It gave me a safe group of friends in high school and a summer job to come home to in college. 

It’s hard for me to define summer without the pool, and I wonder what other passions I might have pursued if I had had other options. Here are my top 10 things that define summer:

10. Going on a picnic. Part of being involved at the pool was Wednesday night socials. We'd get a blanket, sit on the grass, socialize, and eat dinner.

9. Hiking. When I’m on the top of a mountain, breathing hard, and I can’t see a car in sight, I feel relaxed, accomplished, and ready.

8. Reading a book. My favorite books were always ones that I didn’t have to read for school. In my summers, I got to choose books that I wanted to read.

7. Going barefoot. In the summer, I go wherever I can without shoes. A true Californian goes barefoot in the sand.

6. Applying sunscreen. I love the smell of sunscreen. It brings back memories of our yearly tradition of friends throwing you in the pool on your birthday.

5. Learning something new. One of my favorite summer activities was a few summers ago when I decided that we needed better window screens. Naively, I thought that between Home Depot and YouTube, it would be a breeze. Wow, was I wrong. A miter saw and a first aid kit later, I realized this was a project for a professional. However, I continued on, and every screen got easier. 

4. Having fun. Ultimately, summer is a perfect time to relax. It's a time to do what you love without pressure. For adults, many of us have had this opportunity condensed into a week or two, but children are lucky to have this time. As their leaders, I think it is up to us to protect this time for them while it lasts.

3. Connecting. In the summer, I have time to see my friends, as well as my four nieces and nephews, all of whom are less than 5 years old. Even though they can’t always say, “Aunt Catie” yet, sometimes “Ang” gets the job done!

2. Playing with water. Jumping from a dock into a lake, or if you really need a thrill, jumping off a cliff into the ocean. Taking that leap, swimming as fast as you can, splashing your friends, building sandcastles with a moat around them. 

1. Attending Summer Camp. Without the option of on-campus summer camp when I attended ACDS, I spent my childhood summers at the pool, but my hope for our current students is that they can spend their summers at ACDS. They can start young with hands-on science, discovering techniques of famous artists and reading fairy tales. 

Over the years, Camp can grow with them as they spend time in the StarLab, keep up with Supreme Court decisions, and maybe even design and build window screens in the Makerspace. In high school, they can come back with their friends as camp interns, and even come back as teachers when they graduate. If I have my say, ACDS will have a pool by then.

For me, summer is defined by the comfort of the familiar, the connection of friends, and the challenge of trying something new, all of which can be found at ACDS Summer Camps. No matter what adventure you choose, close to home, or a change in scenery, those choices become lasting memories worthy of your top ten list.