Ashokan Field Trip Memories
Displaying 1 - 4 of 5
Great Neck North
Unlike many of my Great Neck classmates, I did not spend my summers at sleepaway camp, so Ashokan was really my first experience away from my parents for more than a casual one-night sleepover with a friend. I remember being both excited and nervous on what seemed like a long ride to the Catskills on the school bus, hiding behind the high green seatbacks, too nervous to chat and plan with my classmates-- then hustling into the cabins and being assigned to our beds, nervously unpacking and setting up our linens, everyone joking and comparing what we’d brought. I only vaguely remember the organized activities, just wisps of a feeling of independence tinged with anxiety, the joy of being out in fresh air, the jostle and noise of other kids all around me.
My most clear memory from that brief time at Ashokan, however, also is one that became an enduring lesson for my later life. A group of us had been given trail maps and told to find our way on the trails to some destination. Of course, there was an adult chaperone with us, but that person was not supposed to tell us where to go, the idea was for us to figure out the way ourselves. At some point after hiking for a while we came to a fork in the path and a decision had to be made where to go next. I had been following the map all along, keeping my eye out for natural landmarks and I was fairly sure I knew where we were and that we needed to take the path to the right. The other kids, however, led by two louder and more confident boys, were adamant we go left. In my heart I was certain this was incorrect but after some mild protests I went along with the group. We found ourselves hopelessly lost and it took a lot of time and backtracking until we finally made our way back to the cabins. Later that evening, the Ashokan education staff member who had silently accompanied our hiking group pulled me aside; she told me she had noticed that I had read the map correctly but I allowed myself to be swayed into joining the group in getting lost. She gave me the advice to trust my own instincts, especially when I had done the work. This has been something that has stuck with me throughout my life—in times when I’ve had to choose between following others or do what I think is right (especially after doing the research), I have tended to walk out on my own path.
I remember a huge dining room where we all ate together. The food was better than I expected but very different than what we ate at home. Somewhere I have a photo of my friend and I trying to feed the chipmunks on our hike. I'll post it if I find it.
I also remember making this pewter leprechaun at one of the Colonial craft activities. I still have it (see photo)!
Great Neck North
I remember much jousting over the usual pre-teen social status in sleeping arrangements and who sat with who. What else to expect when kids are away from home together?
I am a second generation Ashokan alumni. Here is a picture of me with my mother who went to Ashokan, too!
Great Neck South
I remember Mimi the pig and feeding her all our leftovers.