By Connor Roe, Summer Associate
Why do teenagers drink? Why get high? The answer is simple: boredom. All summer teens will work, acquire money and then have nothing else to do. So, inevitably, they will drink. And because the parties can't always be within walking distance, they will drive. And that's one easy way in which they can end up in our office.
I never really had a problem with boredom during the summer. The biggest reason for that being that I was never home. I have spent every summer since I was 14 away at a summer camp in New Hampshire. It has been one of the greatest blessings of my entire life. There was never a dull moment. Through summer camp I was given an arsenal of practical skills, while simultaneously being taught leadership, work ethics, and independence.
I believe summer camp is so essential for young people today because not only will it keep them active and out of trouble but it will teach them independence for when they eventually have to leave their house. Other parents would tell my mother, "I could never send my child away for two months!" But my mother knew that it was the best possible place for me to be. Kids wouldn't have so much trouble leaving home to go to camp (or college for that matter) if parents weren't always so sheltering of them. A recent article in the New York Times stated that homesickness is merely a result of "kid sickness." Some parents cannot bear being away from their children so they keep them contained in a bubble that they've created. As a result their child may feel guilty or nervous for their parents when they are away from home. They are outside of their bubble and they are dying to get back in.
Upper Arlington is a prime example of a bubble. It's a sheltered community. Don't get me wrong though. I've lived in UA most of my life, and I think it is an excellent place to live. However, there are some things you can't learn by never leaving home. For example, while I was at camp for two months these past summers, I learned independence and how to live with other guys who I had never met before. Not only was I gaining from the experience but my parents were too. They got experience with having me away with no form of communication other than the occasional letter. Now we all feel as though me going away to college will not be as difficult. We are all better prepared.
Teens need new experiences. It is essential, believe me. New experiences halt boredom. And without boredom, drugs and alcohol have far less appeal. Their chances of ending up in our office decreases exponentially. And while they are gaining all of those important life lessons, they will meet some of their best friends they will ever know. I am sure of it.