The group does a lot of different events, such as
- going to museums in and around the DC area
- going to amusement parks
- football watching party at a member's house
- going to a winter holiday play/show
- going to local fairs and festival (county, renaissance, farm type)
- going on trips with the local park authority (We've done a walking tour of NYC and a railroad trip through WVa to see eagles.)
- going to sporting events (mostly hockey...I always suggest basketball but I'm voted down)
Speaking of being voted down, the members also pick the activities the group does. We have a meeting once a quarter and members bring ideas of things to do, share them, and then we all vote on them. The group leaders are also allowed to contribute. There are also some group favorites/traditions, like Dave and Busters, the Corn Maize, Lunch and Bowling at Fuddruckers, Mini Golf and Summer Picnic, and Winter Holiday Shopping. We meet on Saturdays and typically go out for 4-8 hours at a time.
I've been with the group for 3 years now. I do have to say that there are times when I don't want to go or I don't want to get up that early but once I get there, I have so much fun. I really feel connected to the group members. Very rarely do I actually feel like I'm "working" once I get past the waking up early part. I enjoy being around successful adults--I love hearing about their jobs, their relationships and their other activities. We have adults who have gone to the State level for Special Olympics--that's pretty cool. People in the group range from age 50 something to 23, but we are probably a little more tilted toward 30 and up. We have recently gotten some younger members, which is awesome because now I'm not the youngest person in the group anymore! It's just a really cool group of people.
So, today was Mini Golf and Summer Picnic at a member's house. We had a really good time. The timing was almost perfect and the weather was not too horrible for mid August. We broke into small groups for mini golf and it was pretty fun but I realized it's quite hard to mini golf and interpret at the same time, so I just kept score. We stayed on the course for about an hour and half and everyone adapted the game to their own abilities. Some took the time to line up the shot and some just hit the ball however they felt. But what couldn't be missed was the fun everyone had. We had a group of guys who were cheering and just rocking out!
The picnic was pretty fun. The thing that really struck me and inspired me to write this post was how everyone had a good time and was so social. There are certainly little clicks in our group but not really to the point of exclusion--just people who are friends. But everyone had a good time, talked with people, played games, and ate some good food.
Coming home, I realize how much work must have gone in to getting all these people where they are today. I wonder what their teachers would think of them now! Most of them talk proudly about going to one of the two county career centers--which is an accomplishment, in my mind. Anyways, I guess the point of this post was also to remember that no matter what level you are teaching or what skills you are walking on, they are all important and meaningful and do make a difference in the future of your student. It's worth it. As someone who sees the end product, it's totally worth it! So as school begins again for the 2009-10 year, in this time of lay offs and cutbacks, know that what you are doing is important, meaningful, and worth it for your students!