Let’s face it: As adults, summer is a bit of a letdown. You spend the majority of your youthful years counting down the days until that long awaited dismissal bell, granting you seemingly endless days of popsicles, bike rides, water parks and too much television. But college graduation comes and goes, and carefree fun is replaced with worrying about PTO and sick leave.
One Austinite is out to help you make the most of your summer, regardless of the abundance of adulthood’s obligations. Inspired by the spirit of her friend Esme Barrera, Kerissa Bearce started “No Bummer Summer,” a tribute to the catchphrase of her late friend, in 2012. “Esme liked to encompass all those things and I think she was the perfect example of being an adult, but knowing how to have fun with the wonder of a child.”
Following a summer trip to Inks Lake after Barrera’s tragic passing on New Year's Day of 2012, Bearce and friends had an idea. “High off the adrenaline of jumping off cliffs and side-stepping leeches, we came up with the idea of having a No Bummer Summer punch card. I asked on Facebook what kind of things were quintessential summer activities, and by the end of it we had 20 ideas.”
Bearce then took to her computer, and within days, the punch cards were in the mail and the No Bummer Summer was underway.
With activities spanning from eating a sno cone and taking a night swim to day drinking and watching an outside movie, the card offers inspiration for those looking to shake their summer blues. During the first summer, Bearce saw an explosion amongs online participants, mostly comprised of her social media savvy friends. “I knew my friends would take to Instagram to document the No Bummer Summers they were having. There were three pictures tagged on Instagram with #nobummersummer at the beginning of June and well over 600 at the end of August.”
In its second year, the No Bummer Summer initiative isn’t slowing down. While Bearce spent much of her time battling a chronic illness, she responded to social media feedback, and returned with another card, full of 40 summer activities ready to be checked off the list. And this year, she’s gone digital. Rather than delivering handwritten notes via mail, Bearce decided to widen the scope of the project, offering a PDF download of the card. There’s also an Instagram account for the cards, of course, with the hashtag #nobummersummer.
Those looking to honor Barrera, without spending their summer lighting sparklers and taking road trips (both featured activities), can donate to Girls Rock Camp Austin, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering girls and women of all backgrounds and abilities through musical education and performance.