Summer now feels like its hitting top gear. The Summerfest is starting in Bray, and the local youth projects and summer camps are underway. It’s an expensive business keeping children and young people busy, so what can families do for little or no cost?
A question we at YouthSpin and colleagues in the youth service often get asked is, ‘is there anything for children and young people to do over the holidays?’ We generally don’t hold a list of summer activities, as inevitably you miss out on a certain amount, but usually the workers will have an idea of some of the local community based summer projects that happen each year. There are also a large and growing number of commercial summer camps that happen each summer in different towns that will let you get involved in sport, art or general activities.
The difficulty for many families is the cost of these projects and camps.We make some suggestions for families to do for little or nothing around County Wicklow?
The community based summer projects are a low cost option, usually run by volunteers who fundraise through the year to make the project happen. They usually cater for local children only with a mix of activities run in local community centres with trips out and about. They are generally a lot of fun, and really well run.
The Spinc overlooking Glendalough lakes
Take a walk
We are really lucky in Wicklow to have a fantastic place to go walking. Whether you prefer to go inland to the mountains or stay on the coast there is plenty of choice.
There is of course the Wicklow Way which stretches right through the county, but there are more local walks to be found all over the county. Bray Head is always popular with visitors, but how many locals are aware of the less strenuous path up from the roundabout at the Southern Cross, running beside the golf course. Wicklow Head, Brittas Bay, along the quays or beaches in or near Wicklow Town and Arklow, the Spinc at Glendalough or by the Lakes in Blessington are all options around the county.
If you are too old for a summer project, maybe you could get involved as a volunteer. It would be probably too late to volunteer this year as the Garda Vetting process can take weeks, but you can volunteer though out the year. Volunteering is a really rewarding experience and can boost your CV that might be missing some work experience. Check out Wicklow Volunteer centre to see what is available in your area
In Bray they have the month long Summerfest with it’s airshow and big slide, but from Enniskerry to Arklow there is some sort of festival happening during the summer. Check local news or social media or posters in shop windows and see if there is something happening where you live.
Edit: Some festival events happening around Wicklow county (Thanks to Wicklow Arts Festival FB page)
A day on the beach
Have a day out on the beach, but mind where you walk
If the weather is suitable there are any number of beaches along the East coast. They aren’t all gorgeous and sandy like Brittas, but each has its own unique charm, and a bit of local knowledge can help find the best spots. Watch out for parking costs at Brittas Bay though.
Catch up on your reading
We wrote a piece for the European Youth Portal which recommended young adult or teen books that would be turned into movies. Reading for pleasure is a much more satisfying experience than reading for school. Wicklow libraries are free to join, giving you access to thousands of books, as well as audio books or music cds. If they don’t have what you are looking for, try borrowbooks.ie to borrow items from other libraries.
Make a video
If like us at YouthSpin you could spend hours watching Youtube videos, why not create your own. A lot of phones offer HD or at least decent quality video, as do regular digital cameras. Alternatively put a load of photos of your summer adventures together in a slideshow. Share with your mates, and hey presto, you are a Youtube hit.
The list goes on, and only limited by weather and imagination. Summer should be a time for exploration and creating memories that will be the subject of those nostalgia filled family get-togethers in years to come. We have a great county, so get out and enjoy it.