Summers don’t have to revolve around watching reruns and mowing the grass.
Carrie MacQuaid, who lives just blocks from the Power and Light District, says all the local festivals make the metro area especially fun.
“One of my favorite events of the summer is the Nelson-Atkins Young Friends of Art Summer White Party,” she said. “It’s a great party YFA puts on every year on the lawn of the Nelson-Atkins on the second Friday in July. They have food, drinks and DJs, and everyone is encouraged to wear all-white attire.”
Carrie Lundy of Gladstone and her 12-year-old daughter Whitney volunteer on Saturday mornings at Harvester’s Community Food Network.
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“We prefer the 8:30 to noon shift so we are motivated to get going and are full of energy when our shift is over.” From there they often bike, hike or enjoy an afternoon at Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun.
Lundy said sharing an objective that’s uninterrupted by other distractions has given her and her daughter precious time to talk. “It has created a bond … and shown us some insights into each other.”
Nature lover Nick Varvel of Olathe often spends part of his weekend bird watching at area parks including Shawnee Mission, Heritage, Kill Creek and Prairie Center.
“It gets you outside and reconnects you with nature … and all the worries of the world fade away, at least for a few minutes,” Varvel said. “It’s sort of a tame alternative to hunting.”
Bird watching is actually a knowledge-based game, said Varvel, who finds it thrilling to hunt down rare birds. “More often, you get to see a new behavior, or a weird color morph, or hear a new song.”
One Saturday Cody Messner of Kansas City, North, shared his boyhood passion with youngsters in his Coves neighborhood by hosting a youth fishing tournament.
“There are so many indoor distractions these days, but the feel of a tug on the end of a line, and the unknown of what is beneath the water putting up a fight,” he said, “puts a smile on a face that an iPad or smartphone is unable to replicate.”
It didn’t take long for 8-year-old Rhett Smith to get hooked on the sport. “We had one,” Rhett said, “and he just got away!”
Westport’s Shawn Sotheran enjoys being outdoors playing kickball on Sundays at Gilliam Park with about 10 to 15 friends.
“A buddy from college played on the team and invited me to join a few years ago.” said Sotheran, who also plays volleyball Thursday nights at Volleyball Beach in Martin City with fellow teachers at Center Middle School. “It doesn’t take a lot of motivation for me to get out and play volleyball or kickball. I like the competition and the time with friends.”
Kansas City’s Heart of America Shakespeare Festival at Southmoreland Park near the Plaza in late June and early July has become a summer tradition for Sara Langford’s family. The parodies before each show by the teenage performers of Team Shakespeare have given her sons fun insights into the plots.
“We pack a picnic dinner, sit in the blanket section and enjoy the extraordinary sets, costumes, actors and performances under the stars,” said the Liberty mom.
Nearly every Saturday morning Lou Eisenbrandt can be found tending the flower beds and lush vegetable garden surrounding her Overland Park home.
“When you are gardening, you can see what you’ve done and feel like you have accomplished something,” she said. “I absolutely love it.”
On Sundays, Eisenbrandt switches from gardener to golfer. “I think the more you can do and can discuss besides your job, the more interesting you are. Every facet of your life makes you a more interesting person!”