Summer vacation used to be just that -- a vacation. It was three months when children and teen-agers had nothing more to do than hang around the neighborhood, riding bikes and swimming. But today, many teens have fun-filled summers with weeks spent at camps, playing sports or working at part-time jobs.
So what are area teens going to do this summer? This is just a partial list of their activities:
Many teens spend their summers working either part-time or full-time. Some save for college or cars while others just have extra spending money for entertainment.
The federal government's Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that about 33 percent of teen-agers between 15 and 17 years old work during the summer, while only 25 percent of them work during the school year.
Kaci Brindell, 16, has a part-time summer job that she'll keep when school starts later this year. Brindell works about every other day at Dexter Barbecue and spends time baby-sitting her niece on the days she's not at the restaurant.
"A lot of my friends have summer jobs," said the Jackson High School junior. "Even if they don't work at an established place then they're baby-sitting."
Brindell said most of her money earned pays for her car and a cellular phone bill.
Several schools in the area offer enrichment and remedial programs for summer school.
Students at Scott City schools get their choice of a music enrichment program in band or voice lessons or a "blast from the past" class. Thirty students are enrolled in the band/music enrichment program, which is like getting private lessons, said Diann Bradshaw, principal at the middle school.
Another 27 students are enrolled in the "blast from the past" course, which is a combination of literature, history and math lessons. This week, students are studying French literature and language in the mornings and then math lessons during the afternoon.
Bradshaw said the students have been interested in the enrichment programs and like coming back to school during the summer. In all, 113 students in grades 6 to 8 are enrolled in summer school at Scott City.
Summer also means baseball games and plenty of time spent at area ballparks or working out during sports camps.
Southeast Missouri State University offers a variety of sports camps for youth, including basketball camps for boys and girls, a soccer academy, girls' volleyball, softball and gymnastics. Contact the Southeast athletics department for specific dates and costs for each camp.
Drew Lincoln will spend about four weeks of his summer at various camps, including two separate football camps.
Lincoln will be a sophomore at Central High School and is going out for defensive end and offensive tackle on the football team.
Much of his day now is spend lifting weights and doing conditioning. "We do the upper body and running and then switch," Lincoln said.
When he's not at sports camp, "I'm going to try to hang out at the pool a lot, too, and try to stay semi-cool. And I can get more conditioning in."
The Cape Girardeau Parks Department offers summer classes for children and youth, with the bulk of classes scheduled for July.
A new day camp class begins this year that will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is filled with activities for children ages 6 to 9 and 9 to 12.
That class has turned out to be one of the most popular this summer, said Chris Eastridge, recreation coordinator.
"We'll see them one year in a class and in a different class the next year," he said.
Parents like the day camp schedule because it lets them drop their children off at one spot and doesn't require them to come back to pick them up until later, Eastridge said.
Some of the other classes offered include cooking lessons, cheerleading and baton, bowling and arts and crafts. A "Show Me Cape" class allows the children enrolled to visit different places in the city, from the television station to the hospital.
"In general, I think the kids enjoy it," Eastridge said. "If they're in the sports class, they go to the pool or go play putt-putt golf. We have fun stuff for them to do."
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