Originally created 06/20/06

Extreme activities are few and far between for teens



After 180 days of waking up early, hours of classes, tons of homework, a few detentions and endless high school drama, we would all run out and hop onto the first train of adventure that comes our way, you would think.

I asked some teens whether they were doing something extreme for the summer or whether they were doing the usual.

Unfortunately, I got the same responses that I would if I had asked what they did the summer they were 12.

Nine out of the 10 teenagers I asked said that once again they would follow the American tradition of relaxing with the family. You know, the same old same old: cookouts with the family, trips to the lake, family reunions, etc.

Don't get me wrong: Most teenagers want to do something extreme for the summer but aren't allowed to because of things such as family vacations.

Jasmine Griffin, 15, a rising sophomore at Curtis Baptist High, is one of these teenagers.

"I will be chillin' at the lake all summer and going to the beach. It's the usual for me," she said. "I really wish I could have a 'what happens in Mexico, stays in Mexico' kind of summer."

Meisha Edwards, 14, a rising ninth-grader at Curtis Baptist, agrees.

"Of course, I'd love to get outside of Augusta and have an extreme vacation, but staying home and hanging with my girls isn't all bad because I know we'll have our own extreme adventures right here in Augusta," she said.

Of the teenagers I asked, the main reason for their less-than-extreme summers plans was because of their parents' concerns.

That's not too surprising. According to the National Parent Teacher Association, 41 percent of parents surveyed said that they were very concerned or extremely concerned about their teens making proper decisions in unsafe situations and that 92 percent of parents planned to talk openly with their teens to ensure they have a safe summer.

Parents should be worried about their child's safety.

The U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that 27,000 summer-job injuries have been reported in the past 10 years. Car wrecks also are more of a concern: Teens average 44 percent more hours behind the wheel each week during the summer - an estimated 23.6 hours, compared with 16.4 hours during the school year, according to a 2003 survey by the organization Students Against Destructive Decisions. Car wrecks are the No. 1 cause of death among young people, the survey reports.

It's easy to see why parents of teens would urge more family time and less free, unsupervised time for extreme adventures.

Surprisingly, not all teenagers have a problem with having to stay home during summer break.

"I'm helping with the 4-year-olds class this week at Vacation Bible School to take care of my community service for the year; helping my aunt move into her new house the first week of July (and getting paid for it, too) and going to camp at the end of July," said Sarah Harrison, 15, a rising sophomore at Curtis Baptist who is known for being a proud homebody.

"Other than that, I'll just be spending my time at home reading, writing, making icons (on Live Journal), spazzing all over the Internet, and hanging with the girls," she said.

Oh, and are you wondering what extreme task the one teenager, out of the 10 I questioned, has taken on?

Ceci Griffin, 15, has decided to spend a week in New Orleans on her church's choir tour.

"I don't know if this is interesting, but I'm going to New Orleans with my youth choir to help clean up, sing and witness to the people down there and let them know we still care," she said.

If that isn't an extreme way to spend your summer, then I don't know what is.

Shanda Edwards, 15, is a rising sophomore at Curtis Baptist High School.