Our Voice: Let's hear it for summer's options and opportunities

World Cup excitement

Who knew soccer was so popular?

Enthusiasts have had this tournament marked on their calendars since 2010, but even those of us who aren't soccer fans have taken notice of what's going on in Brazil.

It's a fever that has swept over the whole world, and the Mid-Columbia has been affected as well.

It's fun to be a small part of something bigger than any of us -- but it will be nice when the Google doodle gets back to fun ditties on topics other than soccer.

Summer activities

Besides the World Cup, the Mid-Columbia offers lots of ways to keep yourself and your youngsters entertained and engaged this summer.

We're grateful for that. If you catch yourself or your kids being bored, you're really just not trying.

This is a short and far from exhaustive list to get your creative juices flowing:

All three cities have a public pool and spray parks. There are so many parks in the Tri-Cities that if you visited a different one every day, you still wouldn't see them all before school started again.

Mid-Columbia Libraries and the Richland Public Library have summer reading programs and opportunities abound for bikes, hikes, kayaks and picnics. Benton County and Franklin County museums are waiting for visitors. The Reach opens next week, and farmers markets and u-pick farms are open all summer. This is the short list.

Summer is an excellent time to explore and enjoy the Mid-Columbia.

For more ideas, check out the entertainment section at www. tricityherald.com/arts.

Community gardens

Pasco has joined the ranks of other cities like Kennewick and Richland that offer public gardens. It's a nice service for people who live in housing that doesn't accommodate a garden area.

While it is unlikely that a family could survive on what is grown in a little public garden plot, there is no doubt that fresh veggies and tomatoes will supplement their meals, add nutrition to the plate and give the family a project.

Gardens produce food, but they also help to raise kids. There is something therapeutic about working the soil.

Community gardens still are fairly new in the Mid-Columbia. But it's an established program in other parts of the country. One surprising by-product of community gardens elsewhere has been that low-income neighborhoods that participate in a community garden are significantly more likely to address other problems in their neighborhoods.

It is a great idea all the way around.

Thanks to Lowes for the building materials, a local Boy Scout troop for assembling the raised planting beds and the Master Gardeners for the know-how, seedlings and plants that help get the project going.