Jaws dropped. After all, we just started school, summer's just now over, etc. But the Venturers have a firm date for Sea Base in June. I'm going to the Congo in July. The school year keeps shrinking the amount of summer people can have: school ends around June 5 and starts again around August 12. The number of weeks in which large trips and other programs can be negotiated are fewer every year. And it's not just getting a free week; if the same people (me or anyone else) are critical to more than one program, then you've got to give people some recovery and prep time between major events. One cannot simply schedule the summer up to the last available day.
The thing we've all got to deal with is that everybody is busier than ever. Kids do more sports than they used to and the sports don't stay confined to a single season each. School keeps expanding and taking over everyone's life. And just because the fall and spring breaks are expanding, don't think the schools won't schedule all kinds of stuff on those supposedly "out" weeks! The church that wants to have opportunities for all age groups, but can't afford a large staff, has to lean heavily on the pastor and too few highly-committed volunteer leaders in order to provide those opportunities. It's just the way life is.
And so that means we're talking about next summer even though we've barely gotten out of this summer. That's why my calendar is almost booked up through next July -- because there are all the expected things here, there, and everywhere that we know we want to do, and the only way to get them all in is to carefully balance the schedule way in advance. Also ist das Leben in die grosse Stadt, verstehen? It also means I've already gone through my calendar and blocked off certain vacation weeks, or I'd never get any time away.