During the long summer months, students who have moved home from school often have trouble filling their free time. The phrase, “Mom, I’m bored” is the most frequent one to land upon parents’ ears around this time of year.
But there is one local youth local who decided to take matters into his own hands and create fun, unique activities to pass the time. Hayden Bergeron is 18 years old, a recent Old Rochester Regional graduate and soon to be UMass Dartmouth student, and a driven young entrepreneur. He has lived in Rochester his entire life with six siblings and an incredibly strong mother who have helped shape him into the man he is today.
I had the pleasure of getting to know Hayden through the volunteer landscaping work he does on the weekends in Marion. For the past two summers, Hayden has pulled into my driveway promptly at 9:00 am to begin working. This past Sunday, as I dragged myself outside with a cup of coffee and my journal – my mind barely awake – I noticed that Hayden was already well into his work. He seemed calm and at ease, moving diligently around the yard in the pale morning light. As we spoke about his hobbies and summer plans, I realized that this landscaping job was only just scratching the surface.
Hayden and his siblings have come up with a myriad of ways to pass the time during the summer months. In his spare time, Hayden collects silver currency (coins and dollars) to sell on eBay. One of his younger siblings has accumulated a large collection of baseball cards and autographs to sell to interested buyers. In addition, Hayden is currently growing the hottest chili pepper in the world: the “Carolina Reaper”, which he says will most likely be eaten by one of his friends.
On top of all of these various jobs and hobbies, Hayden also works full time for a construction company during the week. In the little free time he has left, Hayden likes to play basketball, football, and lacrosse with his friends, and enjoys moments with the people who are closest to him. On the weekends, Mrs. Bergeron gathers all of her children (including three adopted from Haiti) for an outing to Church in the Pines. According to Hayden, this outing is a special time for siblings to bond, as religion continues to play an important role in Bergeron family dynamics.
It is clear that the Bergeron clan always makes the most of their free time, often finding new and interesting ways to spend their days. Hayden balances his life with the right amount of work and play, and continues to make family a top priority. I think this family could be an inspiration to all of us who are looking to fill time as the season draws to a close.
So as the summer winds down and your kids are wondering what to do with themselves, remember that time is what we make of it. There are always new, creative ways to fill the hottest months. So open up that paint set you’ve been dying to use. Or do some gardening. Practice a song or take a walk with a friend. But no matter what you wish to do to fill your days, make the most of the time that is given to you. Make some memories you will never forget.
By Jacqueline Hatch