With the autumn leaves beginning to fill the crisp September air, the students enjoyed Ramaz’s first school-wide excursion of the year: the annual Central Park Trip. While the trip has historically taken place in November, this year, the trip was planned as a positive springboard into the year, allowing students to spend time with new friends and bond with their classmates before the year came into full swing. Students had the opportunity to participate in a plethora of sports, including football, soccer, basketball, frisbee, boating, biking, and yoga, as well as other recreational activities such as photography, sketching, and taking a trip to the zoo. I chose to bike and had the wonderful opportunity to bike seven miles around Central Park. For me, this was a great afternoon—I enjoyed a break from learning and was able to explore the city with my new classmates.
Although there were many activities that sounded appealing, I am glad that I chose biking; I was able to do something fun in New York City that I am not normally able to do. Beyond that, the beautiful weather made biking an ideal activity. Even more exciting were the tour guides who pointed out famous sites in the park, and even for me, as a native New Yorker who spends a lot of time in Central Park, I learned about places that I had never seen before.
Although this trip was shorter than last year, it was enjoyable nonetheless: the mere two-and-a-half hours were still a nice break from schoolwork. In Rabbi Dov Pianko’s words, “Personally, I think it was amazing that we were able to spend so much time in the park and only miss two academic periods. This model would allow us to create other days like this in the future. We took into account some of the feedback from last year and changed the timing. Last year, some of the negative feedback was that it was too cold to be walking around and spending time in the park. This year we were able to take advantage of other facilities because of the warmer weather.” However, one activity we missed due to the weather, was ice skating, which had been done in previous years. It would be great to see that as another activity in the future.
Because Central Park is our “backyard” in the city, I would love to see the school plan another trip in the winter. Like this trip, it could possibly only take up two academic periods, but we would come back refreshed and renewed. Imagine being able to leave school in the early afternoon, head to Central Park and spend an hour ice skating. While the trip was enjoyable in the warmer September, I envision that a trip amidst the brisker November air would prove to be a unique experience for the students.
Finally, I believe that short, but periodic outdoor trips like this one will only enhance the school’s positive learning environment. I know that students would be excited for these smaller, but scattered Central Park Trips, and appreciate the ease with which they can access this wonderful urban playground. I hope that as I continue my years at Ramaz, I see many more trips like this one.