Alley Pond Adventure….in the rain

In the documentary “Long Way Down” in which Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman ride their motorbikes from John O’Groats in Scotland to Cape Town, South Africa, there is a segment where they spend some time at a survival training course.     They do this before the journey begins, and on the night they are camping there, it is raining.    The training coordinator tells them that the most important thing they can do is “give themselves over to the weather.”   Don’t fight it.  If you do, you will be miserable.

How very true.

Today we went to our friend Maeve’s birthday party, which was held at the Alley Pond Adventure Park out in Queens.   And it rained, a constant light mist interspersed with heavy downpours, the entire time we were there.   The party was a blast.   Maya and Ben had coats that could be designated as rain gear, if one was feeling generous, but it didn’t matter.  They and all the kids loved it.   They did rope courses, rock walls and a massive zip line that was definitely the highlight of the day. (And which I was all psyched to try, but time constraints meant it was just for the kids.  Bummer!)

The Alley Pond staff has the whole thing set up to promote ‘team-building’, which we weren’t sure was necessary; this was a party after all and the kids all know each other, but in typical fashion with this group, they were game to jump in and have a good time no matter what.

While the kids played, the parents hung out under a ‘sun’ tent that nevertheless gave us some shelter from the rain, or under our umbrellas or just out in the precipitation.   Keeping dry became impossible, so we stopped trying.  (We did make a mid-day coffee run to a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts, and briefly contemplated hanging out in my car while the kids cavorted in the rain…)  My favorite quote of the day came from a homeschooling Dad who asked me with a wink what curriculum I’d set up for my kids this year.   I laughed and said, “None, as usual.  How about you?”   He replied, “I’ve decided we’ll focus on Difficult Sums, Boring Essays and False History.”   Excellent!

It’s always good to hang out with a group of parents whose kids don’t go to school.   Some were unschoolers, some homeschoolers of varying degrees, all great people who don’t take themselves or their chosen path of learning too seriously.  My kind of crowd.

After six hours of fun, we headed back to the city.  As soon as we parked the car and came out of the garage into the rain, my ‘go with the weather’ zen-like mode switched off and I was done.   Ready for dry clothes, a dry apartment, and no more wind and rain!  Funny how that works.

Thanks Janet, Matt and Maeve for a great party!

The first ropes course. That's Maya on the right and fellow life learner Coco on the left.

Maya on the left, our friend Jonah in the middle, and Ben on the right.

Getting ready for the climb to the zip line

Ben, almost to the platform. That looks sooo high from down below!

Maya making her way up to the top

Most of the gang..

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