All any youngster really needs to be happy on a summer day is a bat, a ball and a vacant lot. Bats and balls are not too difficult to come by these days, but the right vacant lot is as rare as an Indian-head penny. True, most towns have civic playing fields set aside for kids, but more often than not they are booked solid. And what's even sadder from the kids' point of view is that when one is available there is usually some grown-up in charge of things.
In Seattle not long ago a group of enterprising youngsters, led by 15-year-old Jim Hajek (above center), put their minds to finding a vacant lot—and found one. They got permission to use it, cleared and mowed it, and then, with donated lumber and paint, built their very own ball park, complete with backstop, benches and scoreboard. "We're in charge here," says Jim. "No dads tell us what to do." And in final proof that modern kids can do pretty well if left to themselves, he adds, "Why, sometimes we even let the girls play."