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Reinvent Yourself Through Recreation 

by Cara Gardner

For some reason a majority of adults think playing is just for kids. In fact, most of the people we interviewed for our On the Street question this week, ("How will you spend your time this summer?"), responded by exclaiming how much work they had. It's true that you might not be able to get out of career responsibilities, but there's no reason not to make play a priority -- after all, recreation is proven to keep us healthy and sane. And playing is the best way to meet new people and check out new scenes. Think about the word "recreation;" literally, it's re-creation. Play is a way to transform, grow - re-create. And part of the process of re-creating through recreation is embracing new experiences. After all, how re-creational is play if you're involved in the same games with the same friends all the time? Instead of patronizing a new coffee shop or bar in order to meet people, this summer I'm going to sign up for hand drumming or belly dancing classes to discover interesting new friends. I think I'll also jump out of an airplane and walk for a very long time, with no particular destination.


Ever since I watched, wide-eyed, as a family friend impulsively decided to skydive for the first time during a walk through a remote, albeit open, airfield, I've had the bug to do it too. There's just one minor problem: I'm deathly afraid of heights. Obviously, it's not a logical thing, this desire to jump out of airplanes; it's the playful, deviant, reckless side of me. And this summer I'm giving in. The West Plains Skydiving School (466-1181) is taking reservations for skydiving.


Roughly translated as "people walking," Volksmarches are a German tradition enjoyed the world over. Semi-organized groups of people, young, old and in between, walk six to eight miles through a course of beautiful scenery, often stopping for beer, food or community festivals along the course.

When I was a kid, my family took up Volksmarching; we wandered for miles together, through orchards, along lakes and past beautiful old barns all over the Inland Northwest. We visited little towns throughout the region and spent hours chatting idly with other Volksmarchers as we walked; we discovered plenty of fascinating people who most likely never would have walked into our lives had we not been walking too.

Publication date: 06/10/04

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