Field Trip Memories

I am currently monitoring students on a bus back home. All in all a good day at the Clay Center in Charleston, WV. With a few minor incidents, the occasional eye roll from a 6th grader, and the absolute wide-eyed amazement of children – not at the music or science discovery center of course, but at the prospect of buying *gasp!* pizza for lunch this trip has been successful.  Sure, I wanted to see the Art gallery, but like the Stones say “you can’t always get what you want.” Upon reflection, I think they were talking about teachers…..maybe not…..hmmmm

This trip has brought to mind some of the field trips I was able to go on when I was in elementary school.  Of all the ones we went on – a trip to Virgie for a play, Shelby Valley for track meets, Camden Park for the heck of it – the trip to Richmond, KY and the EKU Planetarium was by far my favorite.  I remember being so excited getting on the bus and sitting near my crush.  Having extra batteries ready for my Walkman and a few cassettes to jam to on the 5ish hour ride we were getting ready to take – it was awesome!  I loved being at the planetarium.  Even more, I loved that my crush sat with me on the way home instead of with someone else.  Sure, I was totally aware that he sat with me only because he was (and still is) my great friend, but… didn’t matter!  We sat together, had a great time, and I got to wear his jacket and so-and-so didn’t.  Win for me!

It’s the small victories right?

Not all field trips were school related.  I grew up a member of the Williamson Presbyterian Church’s youth group with some amazing young people.  Our revered, John Duncan, and his family were like a breeze floating in to a hot room.  Their arrival brought about what I think of as a golden age of church going for me.  We now had a large youth group and  a young family willing to take us places.  Heck, they were willing to put up with us both in their home and at events (Halloween parties, lock ins, etc) which was different from what we were used to: Sunday morning Sunday School, hanging out in the balcony, and going home with my grandmother.  Church is still what I consider time to spend more with my family and friends and I don’t think that’s a bad thing.  I am off track…sorry….  I truly loved church during the time of the Duncan’s and the memories I have of that time.  Sometimes those memories sneak up on me, but they always bring a smile.  A hand held tightly, a group sitting listening to records, painting on the classroom walls – and so many more great memories.

Back to field trips.  When I remember my past field trips, especially while watching the children I am responsible for, I wonder if they see these excursions as I did.  I wonder if the bigger world in which they now live has taken away the excitement of an adventure away from home to a place you don’t know much about.  For how many of them, will this trip be the one where they get to sit near their crush?  Hold their hand?  Share an adventure with their friends?  Do they even think like that?  I worry that in a world in which they grow up so fast – and trust me, for more than I’d like, they are growing up so very, very fast – that they don’t even see those small joys.

So, on this bus, watching students who have spent a day in Charleston, I am reminded of how great those simple pleasures can be and how fleeting those times are.  I really hope these children can have those moments and enjoy them.

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