This time of year, parents are either full of hope and plans for the impending summer vacation or they're dreading the whole idea.
Really, there is nothing to fear.
We live in a land of opportunity when it comes to summer activities.
For example, Tuesday's Tri-City Herald listed 14 summer camps in the Mid-Columbia. And that's just the camps.
We won't repeat that information because it's easy enough to find at tricityherald.com, but here are some more activities for your consideration.
You can be a total geek, sports nut or bookworm (or all three combined) this summer.
The Mid-Columbia Libraries and the Richland Public Libraries have something going every day. And they both have summer reading programs that start Friday.
Barnes and Noble offers a summer reading program as well. Sign-ups start Saturday.
To add a little physical activity in your schedule (besides lugging books to and from the library), check out your city's (or a neighboring city's) park and recreation schedule.
Each city has a swimming pool and other classes and programs.
Most of the dance, gymnastics and other sports-related businesses in town offer summer camps, too.
Most residents have probably heard of the CREHST museum, and it's a must-see for all Mid-Columbians. But here are a few more museums listed on the Tri-Cities Visitor and Convention Bureau's website: the Benton County Historical Museum in Prosser, The East Benton Historical Society Museum in Kennewick's Keewaydin Park, the Franklin County Historical Museum in Pasco, the Tri-City Genealogical Society in Richland, the Washington State Railroads Historical Society Museum in Pasco and the White Bluff Quilt Museum in West Richland.
Has anyone been to all of these?
And this doesn't count museums in nearby Walla Walla, Yakima and Toppenish.
It should be mandatory for each person living in the Mid-Columbia to visit each of the farmers markets during the summer -- preferably to try a new food.
There is also an abundance of outdoor events like the Live@5 concerts in Richland's John Dam Plaza on Thursday nights starting this week and Thunder on the Island on Wednesdays on Clover Island and Smoovies in the Park, beginning Saturday with a showing of the Muppets at the Columbia Park Amphitheater (subsequent movies will be at the Calvary Amphitheater at 10611 Clearwater Ave., Kennewick).
The summer is a good time to spend practicing an art that you already love and to try something new. The beginning of summer is a good time to consider what you will enter in the Benton Franklin Fair this year and get working on it.
It's also a good time to get involved in some volunteer work.
Volunteering teaches kids of all ages to look beyond their own circumstances and help someone else. Lots of the events we enjoy in this community are dependent on volunteers.
Here's our challenge -- make this summer the best yet. There is no excuse not to.