Everything to do when your friends are gone for the summer


Summer has its amazing aspects, like sunny, warm weather and the burden of homework lifted from your shoulders. It can also be lonely, however, if you're stuck at home while your friends are spending their vacations traveling, or away at sleepaway camp. (The best part of school, after all, is hanging out with your classmates in the hallways and the cafeteria!). To fight the boredom and prevent the long, summer days from dragging on endlessly, check out these 10 activities.


1. Try your hand as a dog walker or pet sitter. 
If you can't have your BFF around, what better way to cheer yourself up than hanging out with a puppy? Walking the neighborhood dogs is an easy way to make some money, spend time outdoors, stay active and keep a smile on your face. If there are no sidewalks or parks near your house, you could always offer to watch your neighbors' dogs or cats while they travel. You'd be doing them a favor, and you'd get your daily dose of companionship.

2. Join a summer sports league.
We bet that if you join a rec team in your favorite sport, you are likely to make a ton of new friends within the week. Teammates bond so quickly because they share a common goal, and win or lose, your fellow players can form a valuable support system for you while your besties are away. You'll get tons of exercise, improve your skills and maintain a healthy social life. Not sure where to look? You can find a youth sports program near you here.


3. Write, write, write! 
Whether you're a fiction lover with an active imagination, or you prefer to record your thoughts and daily activities, keeping a journal is a great way to pass the time. It gives you an opportunity to reflect, invent new characters and keep your mind alert. You never know what will happen, and keeping a record of your summer will ensure that you remember every surprise. (This way, when your friends return, you can easily let them know *everything* they missed during their time away.)


4. Take art classes at a local school.  
Even if you've never picked up a paint brush, you might surprise yourself with how quickly you can learn a new skill. Many colleges and universities offer summer art courses, where you can learn to draw, paint or sculpt with other students around your own age. You can even watch YouTube tutorials at home to learn a new craft or pick up a few adult coloring books (we heart these pretty pencils from Prismacolor for any artists-in-the-making!). By the end of the summer you'll have a beautiful portfolio of your creations to take with you.

5. Become a certified lifeguard.
If you're 15 years old or older, you can go through Red Cross training to become a lifeguard, and work at your neighborhood pool or a nearby beach. You'll swim, have a weekly paycheck to look forward to, spend time relaxing under an umbrella and meet new people. You'll also learn valuable, life-saving skills like CPR and First Aid; once you've completed the course, your certification usually remains valid for around two years, so you can use it again next summer if need be.


6. If you prefer hanging out indoors (with the AC cranked up), spend time at your public library.
While you might not have access to your school's library over the summer, public libraries are often just as convenient. Can't find a book to read? GL's Beach Blanket Book Club might be able to help you with that! Libraries also can have magazines, movies and audiobooks in stock and some even host book signings with popular authors.

7. Start your own garden in your backyard.
Gardening is a great skill, and you can take tons of different approaches. Butterfly gardens are becoming incredibly popular, because they include plants and/or flowers that are designed to attract gorgeous butterflies. If you love to cook, why not grow your own ingredients? While it might take you a while to see a full-fledged apple tree out your window, other fruits and vegetables, like tomatos and strawberries, grow relatively quickly. When your friends come home at the end of the summer, you can welcome them back with personal bouquets or fruit baskets.


8. Check out the offerings at your local YMCA.

There are over 2,700 YMCAs across the country. Each offers tons of youth developments programs, athletic opportunities, camps, volunteer initiatives and nature retreats. Looking to get active, but not interested in competitive sports? Many locations also offer relaxed, personal exercise classes like yoga and Pilates; others encourage spending time in local parks and participating in outdoor community service. You'll get to know more people in your neighborhood and make positive contributions by giving back.


9. Find a pen pal.
Pen pals have been popular for hundreds of years, and it's easy to understand why; whether you communicate through email or good, old-fashioned pen and paper, you'll have easily made a new connection. Receiving friendly, encouraging messages from another girl your age will help you curb the loneliness of being apart from your school friends. Sending your own nice notes back to her will be fun for you, too. Interested? Check out the Student Letter Exchange's website.


10. Learn to code.
Interested in technology? Want to learn a new language? Love finding new ways to be creative? Obsessed with Karlie Kloss? All good reasons to check out Codeverse. With a mission to teach a *billion* young people to code, Codeverse offers everything from weekly classes to full-fledged camps. Regardless of your strengths or skill set, you'll get a personalized experience that takes into account your age, your comfort with computers and other forms of technology, and your goals. Who knows? By the end of the summer, you might have designed your own app!

What are your plans for the summer? Will your friends be in town? Let us know in the comments! 

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by Bridget Curley | 6/13/2017