There are a lot of reasons that I love living in Dayton, Ohio. But three of these reasons top the list: June, July and August. Summer in Dayton is a chance to unwind, enjoy long days and warm temperature, and reconnect with God and with one another. The approaching summer and a recent challenge to the ‘summer bucket list’ by Sara Humphrey, our children’s ministry director, have sparked me to encourage you to put down the phone and enjoy the best time of this time of year. As you begin to check items off your summer challenge list, let me share with you what my favorite summer pastimes to do are.
- Go biking. Dayton has over 600 miles of paved bicycle trails along rivers. These beautiful trails wind through wooded areas, follow along rivers, sit in the shadows of downtown skyscrapers and take you to many charming small villages.
- Go to a Dayton Dragons Game. Minor league baseball as it was meant to be played, with passion, hustle and the chance to make the major leagues. Even if you don’t like baseball, taking in a Dragons game is fun for the whole family. There are many reasons why Dayton Dragaons baseball has been called the hardest ticket to get in sports, selling out every single game for 17 consecutive years.
- Play “Kick the Can” or whatever game you played growing up in the backyard or under the streetlights.
- Go to festival or fair. Eat fried food. Don’t feel bad about it. Repeat.
- Get Ice Cream at Graeter’s, Young’s Jersey Dairy, Coldstone Creamery, the Root Beer Stande or the Dairy Shed in Bellbrook. Why not eat at all of them?
- Invest in yourself spiritually. Keep Sunday worship a priority. If you happen to be traveling, visit a great Bible-teaching church in that community. And of course, don’t forget about Vacation Bible School.
- Go to an amusement park.
- Watch fireworks and catch fireflies.
- Make a fashion statement. Wear baseball caps, t-shirts and cargo shorts often and without apology.
- Take evening walks.
- Take a “J-cation.” What is a J-cation you ask? This is a Jason vacation – a one-day local vacation where you travel no more than 50 miles, spend less than $50 and do the things that you wish you could do, but never really made the time to do. In other words, if you were hosting a guest, what you encourage them do, but probably have never made the time to do yourself. It is the equivalent to “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” without coming home to your principal on your doorstep. I invented the term J-cation as a play on my name. It actually was a holiday invented by me a couple years ago where I actually get to do what I want to do for a day and not feel guilty about it. I only celebrated it once.
- Eat off the grill and on the patio.
- Take a drive down country roads with the windows down and the radio loud.
- Run (or walk) a 5K or 10K.
- Read a book that has not been assigned to be read. This year will mark the 500th anniversary of the start of the protestant reformation. So this summer I am planning on reading Rescuing the Gospel: The Story and Significance of the Reformation by Erwin Lutzer
What are your favorite things to do in summer?