December 31, 2008

Fresh Air; It's A Good Thing

I never attended summer camp while growing up. I grew up in a big city, Detroit. No one I knew ever attended summer camp. We spent our summer vacations at home and time in July or August was spent driving south to visit grandparents and other relatives. But my summers were always filled with fresh air.

At home, my mother maintained a beautiful rose garden in our backyard. The garden took a little less than a quarter of our large yard. I spent time with her while she weeded the garden, watered it, and used her fingers to bump aphids off of the rose petals. At other times, she used bug sprays to kill pests that would have damaged her plants. The borders of our yard were filled with hollyhocks, shrubs, and other plants. As I followed her through her garden, she explained why roses were delicate plants and required detailed, tender care.

At other times during the summer, we hung our freshly washed laundry out to dry. (I'm really dating myself here). On a sunny day, I would run through the rows of sheets and towels hanging on the lines. I can still remember the damp feel of the fabric as it touched my face. I can still hear the sound of my mother's voice yelling from the back porch: "Don't put your dirty hands on my clean sheets!"

During those summers, my friends and I played baseball in the (paved and swept clean) alleys, played double-dutch, rode our bikes to the playgrounds, and stayed outside until the street lights came on. Even though we never left home, our summer vacations were filled with fresh air and friendship.

It would be great to share the gift of fresh air with a young person in 2009. Allow someone who's always lived in the city to spend some time at a camp in the country. How? Well, maybe you can grab a few dollars from your anxiously awaited tax refund. How about downsizing that special dinner you and your honey will have on Valentine's Day and sending the extra to the Fresh Air Fund? I'm sure you can think of other ways. Watch this video and get a little inspiration.

See? I knew you would come up with something.

The Fresh Air Fund
633 3rd Avenue, 14th Floor
New York, NY 10017

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