My First Kids’ Trip小朋友隊伍

AMC - Chapter Youth Program

I am not very sure how I got myself into leading kids’ trips since I had never thought I would be good with kids. Trained leaders lead kids’ trips for 8 to 12-year-olds, and the official name my club, Appalachian Mountain Club, gave to the program is Chapter Youth Program.

I believe that to educate people well, we need to start when they are young and I was so moved and happy when I saw how a bunch of kids learned, digested and applied Leave No Trace principles along a creek right next to a hut I had stayed for a cool summer night in the Whites last year. For some reason, the scene reminded me of my childhood and I had always been proud since then that I could never litter or spit. I should be grateful to my mom and my school teachers.

The path which led to the first official trip was long. First, on top of my leadership training, I had to take another one-day workshop to learn general guidelines for minors. We learned some trail games and youth behaviors, but most of time we were learning what we should not do to avoid lawsuits. Nowadays, people could sue anybody without a good reason, and the side effects brought by that require volunteers not only to have good intentions but also not to be naïve.

After the training, I had to pass a background check to prove that I didn’t commit any crime in the past. Then it was a long wait for all the paper work to go through between my club and the agencies we worked together with to promote this program.

Saturday, April 29th, I led a hiking trip for 8 kids with Elaine Feldman in Wissahickon, Valley in Philadelphia area. It was a short hike – maybe not even two miles – but it took a long time. Kids tend to be intrigued by everything and they like to ask questions and it seemed that these kids asked even more questions.

“Miss Szu-ting, what is this plant called?”
“Miss Szu-ting, what is the difference between mushrooms and fungus?”

Surrounded by endless questions and most of which I didn’t know the answers to. I guess that was why I didn’t become an ecologist or biologist. Sometimes when I wobbled through rocks I wondered: it seemed what I had been experiencing during the hike echoed the label I gave myself earlier – awkwardness towards kids.

However, it seemed that these kids didn’t mind that their curiosities were not well fed, and they just wanted to keep talking and interacting with somebody until their attention was grabbed by something else – and believe me, it all happened so swiftly, and at the end I didn’t feel embarrassed anymore that I was not an encyclopedia.

Every kid was equipped with a disposable camera on that day. The agency, EducationWorks, assigned them a project with the subject “Nature.” As my understanding, after the hike, kids would compose a write-up with a few sentences to describe their ideas of nature with photos. Every kid spent quite a few films with every dog they encountered as well as every trout on the hook of any fisherman. Trouts in the Wissahickon are in fact human raised and are released during the fishing seasons, but I am fine they are a topic of nature. Dogs? Isn’t it a bit over-stretched?

I didn’t say anything to confront their excitement, but I couldn’t help but wondered what the definition of nature is after the trip. Nature in my dictionary always means that something exists in the world the way it supposes to be. Didn’t those dogs look like they were what they were? Does my beloved cat, Mao-mao, stay with me by choice or every time when she looks out of the window, does she want to go for a run?

Perhaps after all I should not have thought that hard to find a definition for nature. It was not my project; my project was to lead the hike and make sure every kid was safe and sound. Before the trip, I thought it was just a 2 or at most 3-mile hike. While I was saying goodbye to those kids, I realized it took more out of me than leading an overnight backpack for adults. I can lead a backpacking trip alone for 8 adults, but for a kids’ trip, I will not want to have the adults/kids ratio less than 1:3.

My next kids’ trip will be in the fall because summer is vacation time for kids. Before then, I might want to come back to Wissahickon Valley to mountain bike a few times. I don’t come to Wissahickon Valley too often to hike because I like to hike on more challenging terrain, and I love to stay out in the woods at least for a night. But I discovered that it is an ideal place for mountain bikes after I biked from central Philly to the meeting point, Valley Green Inn, on that Saturday. There are so many trails for mountain bikers of different levels, and you can even stop at several places for bouldering.

Although I am not sure what nature is right now, I guess I can say it’s lucky for Philadelphia residents to get a taste of nature with only a half hour commute on a bike.

從來不覺得我懂得應付小朋友,所以到現在還沒搞清楚,我怎麼會自願為年紀八到十二歲的青少年,擔任健行活動領隊的。這個特別為青少年設計的戶外生活企畫,我隸屬的登山團體,Appalachian Mountain Club(AMC)稱之為Chapter Youth Program。

我相信教育從小做起,效益最昭著。尤其去年在White Mountains健行的時候,某個沁涼的夏日午後,在所居留的山屋的小溪旁,看著一群小朋友,興致勃勃的學習、消化以及應用「走過不留痕跡(Leave NoTrace)」的原則,心中有說不出的興奮以及感動。而該情該景喚醒我童年的記憶,是這麼驕傲著因為媽媽以及學校老師的教導,才成為不亂丟垃圾,不隨地吐痰的好孩子啊。



終於,四月二十九日星期六,和Elaine Feldman一起帶領我生平第一次的青少年隊伍。整個隊伍總共有八個孩子,健行地點在大費城地區的Wissahickon地區。這個健行很短,不到二英里吧,卻花了很長的時間。孩子們有超活躍的好奇心,喋喋不休地問問題問個不停:




當天,每個孩子手中拎著可拋式相機,因為孩子所在的機構,Education Works,要求他們在健行完後,完成一個主題為「自然」的報告,需要圖文並茂。有趣的是,每個孩子都一窩蜂地花了不少底片在寵物狗,還有釣客手上的鱒魚上。根據我的了解,這條溪(Wissahickon Creek)中的鱒魚其實是人工養殖,再放生其中服務釣客的,不過,孩子把鱒魚當成自然的一部份,我是沒有問題,只是,寵物狗?這是不是有點過份延伸呢?



下一次再帶隊,就是秋天了,因為孩子們放暑假去了。不過,在那之前,大概還會來Wissahickon Valley來騎個幾趟越野單車(mountain bike)。我不常來這個地區健行,因為這裡的健行步道沒什麼挑戰性,而我又喜歡在林中過夜。不過,當天從費城騎車到集合地點的Valley Green Inn,才發現這裡,還真是越野單車的天堂,適合各種程度的單車手。另外,如果帶了岩鞋,還有好多地方可以暫時勾留,抱石一番。


Below is a great trip report written by Elaine Feldman

It was a beautiful spring day. The low temperature was in the mid 40’s in the early morning, and the high was in the 60’s. Due to a bus connection difficulty, the children arrived in the area around 12:30 PM. We got underway around 1:00PM.

The hike began on the East side of the Bridge at Valley Green with quick introductions and some discussion. We pondered some of the questions for which we might want to look for answers as we hiked the gorge.

The kids were “chomping at the bit”, and so we just got underway. There was plenty to attract our attention on such a beautiful day. Fishermen & fish, dogs and people, fungi and plants, moss and “just” the light on and flow of the water.

They got to get the feel of casting from a generous local fisherman, and we paused for quite a while, as each of us tried to master skipping stones. We talked about the Grist Mill and every one felt their thighs as we climbed the stairs to the Finger Span Bridge. A few, not so timid questions were raised as to whether this was safe to cross. Some were not so comfortable with being able to see way down.

We crossed back over the Wissahickon at the next bridge, in about ½ mile. Originally we thought we would walk to the Baptismal Pool, to take in the other evidence of historic activity in the gorge. But this was another mile along the path, and since we were exploring the way so intently, we were ready to make the ~1½ mile mark our turn around point. It was 2:30 when we stopped for snacks on the other side of the bridge. We all ate heartily!

We returned to Valley Green along Forbidden Drive. Certainly an easier foot path, but they found plenty of distraction. Dawdling while making friends with every dog and fish along the way. We got back to Valley Green just before 4:00 PM, said good bye to Szu-ting, as she unlocked her bike to ride home. The rest of us strolled across the bridge and up the incline to the upper parking lot.

All was well. Two small mishaps. Romero turned his ankle over doing a little rock hopping with unlaced shoes. He rested a little, [tied his shoes] said the pain subsided and could walk. Later in the hike he said he was fine. We also had an interesting jean splitting episode, and made a fashion statement with a duct tape repair.

Needless to say, it was fun.

6 thoughts on “<lang_en>My First Kids’ Trip</lang_en><lang_zh>小朋友隊伍</lang_zh>”

  1. 小Po 褓母,可以這麼說嗎?(哈)


    可以有這樣的經驗,小Po 以後一定是個好媽嘛!

  2. 快別這麼說,免得我媽媽看到又要催我了 … :-p

  3. 小朋友真的不好帶..現在能慢慢有經驗,以後就比較上手吧!
    我自從看了super nanny那個節目後,就發現帶小孩的技巧得好好學習. 🙂

  4. 是啊,很多時候看這些有時小天使,有時小惡魔的小朋友們,真不知道以前是怎麼長大的。真是感謝爸爸媽媽啊 ~~

  5. I was searching for the lyrics of an old song I learned decades ago and the only hit I got was your website.

    “手把槳兒上下搖,水花四濺高。 滿眼春色觀不盡,難繪又難描。 清晨朝露浴花梢,旭光 閃耀耀。 村前桃李爭開早,嫵媚迎人笑。 夕陽西下霞光照,一曲江天高。”

    But I can’t find this passage anywhere on your pages. Could you help me? I need the rest of it.

  6. Pingback: Final Frontier: An Outdoor Blog » Blog Archive » Help LittlePo to Climb Grand Teton – Raising Funds to Help Youth Expand Their Wilderness Experience捐款募集中—小Po將攀登Grand Tetonç‚

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