Summer is just around the corner, and with it comes a sense of brightness and possibilities. Some people are gearing up for their summer vacations while others are trying to make the most of every moment to better themselves. One thing you could do, to improve your life and those of your community, is offer a helping hand as you go.
As easy as it is to dismiss old cliches about kindness being key, cliches exist for a reason. When it comes to kindness, the key it might be referring to is the key to a happier and more fulfilling life. More and more, scientists are starting to reveal the evidence that helping others translates to better mental and physical help as well as happiness. Here’s a few surefire ways to enjoy your time this summer, while bettering yourself and the community.
Clear a Path
When summer starts to come around, most of us have a few spots in mind that we can’t wait to visit. Except for those really special and personal spots, most of these are going to be frequented by others as well. Unavoidably, that means people are going to leave their trace. On the flip side, especially after the pandemic, maybe they’ve even fallen into disrepair or overcome by nature. These are things that are easy to help with as you go about your summer fun.
Here are just a few examples of how to help others while you go about your summer fun:
- Take ten or fifteen minutes to clear trash and debri at the beach, lake, or river. Keeping the shores clean and your enjoyment up.
- Clear hiking paths and mark for others. Here you’re cutting down on community costs to upkeep natural areas, helping the nature of the area by keeping people on path, and potentially saving someone from getting lost.
- Clean up the area when you hunt or fish, and rotate where you do it. This will help keep the areas clean and unpolluted while not depleting communities of animals by blocking from necessary feeding and breeding areas or over-harvesting them.
Raise a Barn
If you’re older than Gen-Z, you’re probably old enough to remember the concept of a barn-raising. Communities used to get together to help their neighbors complete their homesteads in the summer, especially for those in the hardest times, such as new families or those that lost everything in a tragedy. In these moments, the community was coming together to help a family make good for themselves. As old fashioned as a barn-raising might sound, there’s no reason for us not to be doing the same today. Here are a few ways you could, “raise a barn,” with your neighbors.
- Help plant a neighbor’s or community garden. Aside from making you feel great in the moment, helping a neighbor with their garden could help them fight food costs, increase property values, and maybe they even bring you food throughout the growing season – cutting your cost and providing food coming from a source you can feel good about.
- Help with home improvements – Most of your neighbors might not need a whole barn, but helping with projects like a bathroom remodel, building a patio, or even car repairs, can give you something to bond and interact over, but also help improve the value of that person’s assets. Just the savings from having extra hands could be huge for your neighbor, might encourage them to do the same for others, and could enable them to save and make even more money from a new or improved asset.
- Donate excess gardening and home improvement supplies – Supplies can be expensive and harder to access for the people who could use it the most. It takes much longer to take these things into your own hands when you have to slowly build up tools and supplies.
Become a Coach or Big Brother/Sister
Impacting the life of someone younger than us in a positive way could be one of the most fulfilling things someone can do. Passing on your knowledge and years of experience can help someone avoid the same mistakes, or just give them a positive influence and someone to lean on. Someone who they know cares. There are a few classic ways to do this, most of which just require pursuing the opportunity.
- Join a Big Brother / Big Sister Program – There are lots of kids out there who need a positive role model and the program will even work to match you with the right kid.
- Become a Coach – If you’re a former athlete who can’t shake their love of the game, coaching is a great way to stay involved and to benefit your community. Maybe you can pass on pieces of your game, maybe you help unlock a player’s confidence, maybe you just give them a presence to lean on.
- Teach a Trade or Skill – If you don’t have time to be formerly involved, maybe be on the lookout to pass on your knowledge and skills. Maybe you’re a carpenter with kids, taking the time to show them your skills could be a way to inspire them or at the very least, go towards making them a fully capable adult.
Take a Common Sense Approach and Improve Your Community This Summer
Finding ways to improve your community isn’t rocket science, and as much as our time is limited, the truth is that you can help a little every day by just keeping your eyes open for ways that you could help people and improve your community. Pick up some trash that’s not yours, repair something that’s not yours to repair, offer your help or equipment to someone lacking the same resources as you. Whether you believe in karma, heaven, or just want the dopamine rush of doing something good, in the end, it’s going to benefit you – and make the summer a little brighter as well.