It’s official; summer is here, and fun is no longer optional; it is mandatory. I have tentatively planned my first foray into fun beyond my own backyard—a trip south to climb my first 14er.

While I can’t describe myself as athletic (or even coordinated), I can happily say I do love a challenge. So, when a friend said, “let’s do this,” I reasoned, why not? I would like to tuck a 14er in my belt just to say I have. It helped she found a list of “easy” 14ers for beginners. So, my first bit of adventure this season will come in the form of a five-hour hike. It’ll be fun, I promise.

I also had some fun delving into the creamy, sweet world of ice cream for this issue. Not being a year-round ice cream lover, I really only crave this treat during our warm months, where it be-comes a ritual of summer. In the name of research, I endeavored to eat as much ice cream as I could and twisted the arms of friends and co-workers to do the same. We have some great spots here in Northern Colorado for ice cream, people watching and vitamin D recharging. Let us know if we missed your favorite spot.

Summer for many is also the season for change: Time to update, renew…relocate, even. We compiled a list of the best new neighborhoods in several categories. Despite all the building we see going on around us, this project proved challenging—it would seem homes are being snatched up as quickly as they are made available. Yet another testament to the draw this glorious spot of earth has for many people. How many of us followed family here, or have family following us here to grab ahold of the Colorado lifestyle?

We have also highlighted some of our precious nonprofits this month. During the pandemic, as most of us were desperately holding on to our health, our livelihoods, maybe even our sanity, these valuable resources were more taxed than ever, even while they watched their means of income dwindle in the face of canceled fundraisers. If you have a special connection with a local nonprofit, seek them out and see how you can help. Or if you felt a pinch somewhere in your own normally-comfortable lifestyle, find a nonprofit that fills that need and become a supporter. We need each other.

Now, while I am training to climb that little hill this month, I hope you all find something out there that challenges you. We have had more than enough to worry about and mourn in recent months. Let’s look toward the sun and celebrate a little.