For many families, June is the start of an abundance of summer activities and vacations.

There are a ton of things to do in the Midwest. Between St. Louis, Kansas City and Omaha, the options are endless. But what most people don't know is there's an abundance of family-friendly fun right here in St. Joseph.

This month's cover girl, Ashley Strueby, is the mom behind Joe Town Fun, a Facebook page dedicated to getting the word out on what's going on locally. You can read more about how she got started and learn about her list of ideas of things to do with your children on Pages 6 and 7.

And speaking of summer fun, Kristen Carver gives Josephine readers some insight into planning a float trip on one of the many rivers in southern Missouri. If you haven't been on a raft or canoe with friends or loved ones, you really should try it out. Her story is on Pages 12 and 13. I've been on float trips with my husband and children. I think my now 18-year-old daughter went on her first one when she was just 4 years old. But I've also been with a group of rowdy friends. Both trips are equally enjoyable.

And while we have camping trips booked, I find myself being a homebody, too, during this time of year. I enjoy entertaining around the pool with friends and family, cooking in the evenings on the grill and just having good conversation.

I'm always looking for new ways to cook on the grill. I never knew that pretty much anything you can cook on the stove or in the oven has an outdoor-friendly option. But I have always been interested in learning from others.

Lisa Horn got some great tips about learning to cook from Nicole Radke at Friedrich's Market in St. Joseph. The business offers cooking demonstrations the first Saturday of every month and meal-in-a-box kits. You can read more on Page 23.

Jenn Hall can be reached at jenn.hall@newspressnow.com. Follow her on Twitter: @SJNPHall.

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