2018 Upper School Intersession Trips

Last updated: Friday, March 23, 5:10 pm. See below for photos and updates, or visit our new website page hereUpdates will be posted once or twice each day in reverse chronological order.  Students, parents, and faculty/staff can also access Intersession trip photos by logging in to their Vidigami account from their . Once logged in, click the square SSFS logo, scroll down to the blue “Off Campus” Group, and click the “Intersession” folder.

SSFS students learn about the world by being in the world. Intersession is an important component of the emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning at SSFS. It is a one- to two-week period in the spring in which all Upper School students and faculty participate in special projects locally, nationally, or abroad. Trips might involve community service, outdoor education, arts activities, scientific exploration, cultural and language immersion, historical or informational trips, or a combination of the above. All Upper School students are required to participate each year, and all students participate in at least one service intersession during their four years of high school.  You can see full descriptions of the 2017-18 trips (listed below) here. (The * denotes a service intersession.)

  • Art Outside *
  • Biking the Silver Comet
  • Canada: Ottawa, Montreal, & Qubec
  • Food for Thought *
  • Great Britain Quaker Pilgrimage
  • Habitat for Humanity – Service in Atlanta *
  • Havana, Cuba: A Visit with Caribbean Friends
  • Head Start *
  • Historical Maryland *
  • Italy: Milan, Florence, Rome, & Venice Cultural Exchange
  • Oregon: Mt. Hood to Coast
  • Service that Benefits the Local Latino Community *
  • The National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS)
  • Urban Intersections: Gentrification, Immigration, and Art
  • Utah Canyoneering
  • West Virginia Trip *
  • Ninth Grade Trip to Florida

Students and faculty leaders send blog updates from their trips throughout the Intersession week (March 19-23, or later for trips that extend into spring break). These updates are posted daily on this page throughout the week, in reverse chronological order. Click on thumbnails for larger versions of images; parents, students, and faculty of SSFS may also find and download photos on Vidigami.com. We always look forward to hearing about the amazing and transformative educational adventures of the students during the week.

MARCH 23

Historical Maryland – March 23 Update (Afternoon)
By Elena Engler ’20, Rec’d March 23 at 2:20 pm

On Friday, we cleaned up litter and debris from the woods. We found numerous car parts around the location we were cleaning. Although the snow and mud were not ideal, trying to send old, rusted pieces of metal up the steep hills was very entertaining. Watching the hideous mess we started with clean up so quickly was all the motivation we needed. The numerous bags of trash and recycling were not easy to carry a half mile back to Woodlawn Manor’s dumpsters, but the great lunch at the Olney Ale House made up for the hard work.

SED Center: Service That Benefits the Local Latino Community – March 23 Update
By Eduardo Polón & Kexin Zhang, Rec’d Friday, March 23 at 4:11 pm

After a gratifying week of serving as Volunteer Assistants in the bilingual preschool classrooms of the Spanish Education Development Center, here is a list of Essential Preschool Spanish:

  • The Basics: sí, no, gracias, por favor
  • The Commands: no más, silencio, vámonos, siéntate, ven aquí, no lo toques, mira, hagan fila, no te lo pongas en la boca, comparte, ahora hay que lavarse las manos
  • The Questions: ¿Cómo te llamas? ¿Qué es eso? ¿Qué tienes? ¿Qué color es? ¿Qué pasó? ¿Necesitas usar el baño? ¿Qué quieres hacer?

We are jokingly convinced that with this “essential vocabulary” most anyone can survive a week in a classroom of adorably rambunctious preschool Spanish-speakers. All joking aside, while all week long the faculty and staff at the Spanish Education Development Center have gone out of their way to express their appreciation to SSFS for volunteering our time this week, we feel equally grateful for having been welcomed by the SED Center with such open arms. Consequently, on this last day together, and as a modest token of gratitude, our group decided to make a donation of desired materials to each preschool bilingual classroom in which we participated. Items ranged from rolls of clear contact paper, reams of colored construction paper, glue and glitter to packs of markers and Play-Doh.

Fittingly, the capstone culinary reward for this past week’s service at the SED Center was a broad showcase of traditional Spanish tapas at La Tasca in downtown Washington, DC. From Mongolian, and Jamaican to Burmese and Spanish, we hope that by exposing students to these diverse cuisines we have helped broaden their cultural perspective and introduced each to a few new delicacies along the way.

In the end, the emotional arch of our shared experience has been a full one. Understandable early uncertainty and cautious optimism surrendered quickly to anticipation and excitement; committed investment was rewarded with a reciprocated joy that comes from helping others, exacerbated by the fact that those “otros” were such innocent “niños”; and, alas, by virtue of forging special relationships, there is an inevitable sweet and parting sorrow that comes from having to say “adiós” to those wide-eyed faces with such broad smiles. Nonetheless, we can find solace in an earned satisfaction and sense of accomplishment that is the result of our collective endeavor and meaningful contributions this week. It is said that “a picture’s worth a thousand words.” If this is true, we hope you enjoy our intersession’s tale via the photos posted on our SED Center Intersession Vidigami album and/or Google Photos folder. To learn more about the SED Center, visit www.sedcenter.org.
Food for Thought – March 23 Update
By Frances Markowitz and students

The following updates are from the past several days:

Tuesday, March 20 by Zoe Baylinson: On Tuesday, we went to A Wider Circle and did a variety of things, ranging from sorting through clothes to reorganizing the children’s area. For lunch, we ordered Panera. Overall, the day was very fun.

[Wednesday, March 21: Snow Day]

Thursday, March 22 by Scout Crook: We had a two hour delay. Then, we went to the Lighthouse Shelter in Annapolis, Maryland. There, we were given a tour of the facilities and then got separated into small groups to accomplish different tasks. We helped around the shelter to organize paperwork, clothes, and toiletries. After we finished with our service, we went to the Lighthouse Bistro to eat a delicious lunch before we returned to school. The employees at the Lighthouse Bistro are all people who have been helped by the Lighthouse Shelter

Friday, March 23 by Ziyan Shi: Today we worked as volunteers at Paul’s House in Baltimore. Paul’s House treats everyone who comes with dignity and respect. The special meeting at the beginning let us feel the power and love of this place. We were assigned to different volunteer jobs, including serving people food and drinks and helping them to shop the clothes they want. It was a great experience for everyone and we all believed that it is extremely important to let those in need feel the hope.
Utah Canyoneering: March 23 Update
By David Denaburg

We started our journey bright and early at the airport, and were able to get to Las Vegas without any problems. After waiting a while to get the rental cars we finally started our long drive to the campsite by going to REI, then driving two hours to a grocery store where we did our first food shop, and then our last hour drive to the campsite. We got into camp at about 11 pm Utah time, pitched tents, and were asleep by 11:30 pm, making our first day about 19 hours in total. The group’s continuous positive energy made the long day much more manageable.

Our second day started out colder than we expected due to the accumulation of about 1 inch of snowfall during the night. With cold hands and toes, everyone was able to bundle up enough to make breakfast and get ready for the day. Our original plan to go rappelling in the canyons was forfeited due to the snow and ice and the potential for slick surfaces while the snow melted. With the advice from our Zion rappelling guides, we were able to complete a full day of hiking which included two full hikes to Emerald Pools, and Angel’s Landing. Overall, we hiked about 10 miles and 8 hours. After a long day, we made it back to camp for dinner and an earlier night, eager to start the next adventure tomorrow.

With another early morning, the cold weather had some of us moving slower than others. However, our spirits were lifted by those around us, and by the new adventure we had planned for the day. We packed up our entire campsite and drove a short distance to the Zion Mountain Guides where we met our two guides for our day of technical canyoneering. We drove just outside the limits of Zion to a beautiful landscape where we started a short hike to the rappelling location. With some of our group being afraid of heights, and those that had never done this before, there were several people who were hesitant about doing the first rappel. The amount of support, comfort, and understanding that was given to those who were unsure was something that cannot be adequately described. Seeing that compassion brought the thought of the meaning of community to everyone’s mind. Even though some members decided not to go through with the rappel, the overall experience was simply amazing. We did 4 different rappels with the shortest being a 30ft drop and our longest being almost 90ft straight down. After getting back to our vehicles, we started our long drive to our next campsite. Being a little behind schedule, we decided to eat dinner on the road, and got to camp at about 10pm.

Our next few days will be spent in the back country at Sooner Rocks. To get there we will drive for about 2 hours, half of which will be driven on a dirt road. We will be doing day hikes and enjoying being miles away from any civilization and having ample time for a planned group Meeting for Worship.

The enthusiasm and supportive attitude of the group make long, cold hikes seem manageable and enjoyable. We continue to help pitch tents that aren’t our own, pick up trash we didn’t leave, and provide each other with a sense of security and community. The cold nights aren’t so bad when people pitch in to redistribute warm gear. If one didn’t want to face a fear of heights or small spaces, there was always another behind or in front of them offering help and support. Even more heartwarming than the sight of the sunset on the canyons is the kindness we have shown to each other, and continue to show every day.

Driving off the oil, or on a dirt road known as Hole In The Rock Road, we made our way down to our next hike and campsite. Hole in the Rock Road is known for its washboards, large potholes, and rocks placed sporadically throughout the road. We stopped for lunch at a campsite called Devil’s garden where everyone was able to explore the large rock formations and take plenty of fun pictures. After lunch we made our way to peek-a-boo and spooky gulch for our day hike. These two hikes are known for their narrow slot canyons, sandy washes, stunning views, and a fun adventure. The tight spaces made navigating our way through the canyons difficult at some points, but overall a great way to get some energy out and spend an afternoon with each other. We finally made it to our campsite and setup for the night, made dinner, and were able to go a group check-in circle under the stars.

Our second day at the Sooner Rocks campsite was very relaxed. We spent the morning playing a fun group game called “Silent Football” and exploring the massive rock formations around the campsite. In the afternoon we ate lunch at Dance Hall Rock and were able to give everyone a chance to journal and reflect silently where they wanted. They were given 2 hours to be by themselves among the rock formation with the prompt of how their experience has changed them and how they have changed the nature around them. We were able to come together as a group for a short meeting for worship. When we made it back to the campsite and while dinner was being made, a group of us played what we called “extreme bocce ball” all around our campsite, including up rocks, down in washes, and even in bushes. After dinner we able to play more silent football and more group games while sitting with each other under the cloudy and starry nights.

Almost all of group woke up early to watch the sunrise over the desert as part of a short meeting for worship on top of a massive rock with a great vantage point. After eating breakfast we set out to find our next hike known as 50 Mile Creek. Unfortunately we were unable to find the start of the hike due to poorly marked trailheads, lack of maps or gps, and worry of running out of time. We instead decided to go on a shorter hike that ended up being extremely fun known as Willow Gulch. Known for the high canyon walls and flowing stream, we made our way down the trail. When we ran into the stream, the brave people who wanted to get wet were allowed to wade into the water, eventually finding small waterfalls leading to deep water holes. We ate lunch on the trail, giving clothes and feet time to dry out in the sun. Being our last day to hike, we decided that our last group circle and meeting for worship should be during a hike in the backcountry. That also gave the opportunity to pass out Utah Intersession bracelets to everyone. Once we shared our reflections we began our hike up and out of Willow Canyon and head back to civilization. After our long and bumpy ride down Hole in the Rock Road, we finally made it back to Escalante where we set up our campsite for the night and headed to go get dinner. We enjoyed a pizza dinner together at Escalante Outfitters where everyone sat together laughing, joking, and reminiscing about the fun times we had together, whether it was on the first day, or only a few hours ago. It was evident sitting at one big group table for dinner, that the individuals that had showed up to the airport on the first morning grew into one cohesive, supportive, and tight-knit group. The friendships that have been forged throughout our time spent in the wilderness will remain forever, and the moments and stories we have shared will always be remembered.

After a long day, we headed back to camp. Knowing we have an early start tomorrow, everyone went to bed early to be ready to wake up the next morning so we can start our journey back to Las Vegas, which will conclude our trip.

“The mountains are calling me, and I must go.”
-John Muir

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Urban Intersections: March 23 Update
By Miriam Rock Rec’d Thursday, March 22 at 9:24 pm

The Urban Intersections Intersession group is so excited to finally be in Philadelphia! After a late start (because of the delayed opening), we got on the road and got up to the Chestnut Hill friends meetinghouse where we will be spending the night at just after 1 o’clock. After catching the train downtown, we got delicious meals and cannolis at Reading terminal market. From there, we met up with a guide from the mural arts program and got a brief walking tour of several murals near the mural mile before going to the Asian American arts collective to contribute to a live mural that will be installed in the next several months. We then returned back to the meeting house and got a delicious dinner at a local diner before spending the evening hanging out.

On Friday, we will be volunteering for two different sites of the same organization, Mighty Writers. Mighty Writers is an incredible organization that supports young people in Philadelphia and help them discover a love of writing and reading. We will be helping these two sites with cleanup and painting. After that, we will get some cheese steaks at Pats before heading over to Magic Gardens, a pretty spectacular mosaic art exhibit in South Philadelphia. All in all, It’s really full, fun two days that we are enjoying spending together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Canada: March 23 Update
By Erin Gruodis-Gimbel ’18 Rec’d Thursday, March 22 at 10:14 pm

Canada Day 6

On our final full day in Canada (and the warmest- temperatures were above 30 degrees!), we started by taking a visit to a copper museum, where we saw some incredibly detailed copper artwork, ranging from plaques, to plates, to earring and mirrors. We even got a chance to make our own embossed copper plaques, which ended up being just a difficult, but rewarding, as we thought it would be. We then paid a visit to the St. Anne-de-Beaupre Basilica, which featured 3 sets of spectacular copper doors (engraved by the man whose work was featured in the museum), but also featured absolutely stunning architecture, with gorgeous columns and magnificent stained-glass windows.


After lunch, we went to Montmorency Falls, which is taller than the Horseshoe falls in Niagara! We took a walk around the park and went across a bridge directly over the falls. We even made a snowman, even though he got destroyed a few minutes later by a well-placed somersault. After that, it was time for dinner. We went to the Sugar Shack, a Quebec tradition, which is a massive restaurant with family style food, featuring a large jar of maple syrup in the middle of the table to be poured over everything on your plate. After doing so, we went out into the snow to try the signature dessert: a strip of maple syrup poured onto packed snow, then rolled up onto a popsicle stick and eaten like a lollipop!

After a wonderful day it was great to finish with a Meeting for Worship, and we cant wait to explore the old city of Quebec one last time tomorrow!

 
Art Outside – March 23 Update
Fred Sisk Rec’d Friday, March 23 at 8:47 am

Thursday – Art Outside… Inside
Our site was snowy-muddy so we spent Thursday completing (lacquering) our gourds. Tomorrow we will be at our Art Outside land art site (near the Community Garden) hanging our birdhouse\gourds and completing our outdoor bamboo structures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
West Virginia – March 23 Update

Julie Borsetti sent the following photos from the group’s day at Logan High School:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Historical Maryland – March 23 Update (Morning)
By Elena Engler ’20

On Thursday we went to Woodlawn Manor Historical Park. First, we went to the house of William Palmer, where we cleaned windows, mopped floors and threw out old, broken furniture. We learned about this history of the house, and the girl’s boarding school that was held in it. Once we finished with the house, we moved to the Stone Barn. The Stone Barn, also known as the Bank Barn, served many purposes to the Palmer family. Besides stabling the farm’s animals, they cleaned, brushed and conditioned the wheat they had grown. A few years ago, it was made into a museum. Our group dusted and vacuumed all three floors. By the time we were finished there, the Stone Barn was spotless.

MARCH 22

Art Outside – March 22 Update
By Fred Sisk, Rec’d Thursday, March 22, 1:56 pm

Tuesday we cleaned, then scraped, mold off of our gourds. Many artists then primed their gourds with a gesso prior to painting with acrylics. Others burned patterns into their gourds. The last step will be a lacquer layer which will “weatherproof” the gourds – or at least help them withstand a couple of years of Maryland weather patterns.

Wednesday was a wash – a snow wash – and Thursday was a second indoor day decorating gourds.

On Thursday, Dylan and Tim went out to the site post-snowstorm, and observed, “It was awfully pretty. I went out to be outside and check in to see if our hut was still standing. By the time we got out there, the snow was already stirred up by people and animals. The hut didn’t have a lot of snow on it. A couple of posts that weren’t firmly tied to the rest of the structure and had fallen to the side. Tomorrow, we’re going to have to put a few more posts in to make walls of bamboo on the outside of our hut.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

SED Center: Service That Benefits the Local Latino Community – March 22 Update
By Eduardo Polón & Kexin Zhang, Rec’d Thursday, March 22nd at 4:02 pm

Despite yesterday’s bizarre snow day on the first full day of spring, relationships have taken root with a couple of purposeful days of volunteering in the bilingual pre-school classrooms at the Spanish Education Development Center under our belts. On our penultimate day of service in the bi-lingual pre-school classrooms at the Spanish Education Development Center, the morning program has become our daily routine: Circle Time, Warm-up, Small Group Activities & Choice Time, Language Cluster, Outdoor Play, Story Time & Discussion. In an attempt not to cause too much disruption from the children’s daily routine, we bow out at Lunch and Nap Time. With winter’s stubborn goodbye seemingly in the rearview mirror, how fitting that we are reminded, in the faces of each of these precious, impressionable, and starry-eyed children, that hope truly does spring eternal.

Still another meaningful day of service to others was rewarded with yet another culturally enriching lunch experience, a Burmese feast at the aptly-named Mandalay, in Silver Spring. The group’s collective willingness to try new foods and expose themselves to new aromas and flavors is a credit to their openness and cultural curiosity.

To learn more about the SED Center, visit www.sedcenter.org. Photos and videos can be enjoyed via our SED Center Intersession Vidigami album and/or Google Photos folder.

Canada – March 22 Update
By Tony McCudden, Rec’d Thursday, March 22 at 9:03 am

Canada – Day 4:

The day started with a service project at Moisson Montreal, Canada’s largest food bank. Moisson collects food from supermarkets and distributors all over Canada and brings them to their warehouse where it is sorted and sent to food missions and churches all over the country. Last year alone Moisson processed close to 15 million kilograms of food at an estimated value of $80 million. Unfortunately in Canada, one in six families do not have enough food on a daily basis. Today SSFS students worked in the warehouse, sorting and stacking cans of food, fresh vegetables, and frozen products, to send out on trucks all over Montreal and neighboring areas.

After lunch, we made the 3-hour drive northeast to a city of extraordinary beauty, Quebec City. Once the gateway to USA through the waterways of Detroit and Chicago via the St. Lawrence River, Quebec City has historically been seen as an essential port and has seen it’s share of battles. Following the Revolutionary War in the US, British governors running Quebec City, fearing a revolution of their own, agreed to allow people of French heritage to maintain their French language and culture, thus today French is the dominant language. Throughout the streets you can easily see the city’s history speaking through its architecture. From French and British style in Upper Quebec to the smaller stoned buildings along the river in the very much “lower city,” it truly is a magnificent city. After a windswept 2-hour walk that saw some great elevation change but some stunning views, we are excited for 2 more days in this majestic city. After a dinner of fondue and maple butter crepes, the students were ready for a good night’s sleep.

West Virginia – March 22 Update
By Julie Borsetti, Rec’d Wed, March 21 at 10:33 pm

West Virginia Intersession Day Four: Wednesday

Today we finished up a big painting project at PRIDE, a local nonprofit organization that provides assistance to the community in many different ways. We repainted the industrial kitchen and the dining room that is used for seniors. We were happy to have indoor work to do because it was cold and wet outside. We had some snow flurries, but not nearly as much snow as everyone at home in Maryland.

After a hard days work, we met up with the BAPS, (Believing All is Possible) the teen mentoring group that is affiliated with the AFS (American Friends Service Committee). We took them out to dinner with us to an all you can eat buffet, and then bowling. The SSFS students are looking forward to shadowing the BAPS at Logan high school tomorrow morning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

MARCH 21

Urban Intersections – March 21 Update
By Claire Donahue
Urban Intersections – Intersession Blog 2018

Monday, March 19, 2018
After meeting at the metro, our group headed downtown to Columbia Heights, DC, for our first day of exploring immigration, gentrification, and art in three nearby cities. Our walking tour of Columbia Heights, Mt. Pleasant, and Adams Morgan focused on DC’s Latino community, and put us right in the center of those three themes. We explored the location of the Mt. Pleasant riots, viewed photos of early 18th street while standing on the same corner, listened to oral histories of community members, and took a group photo in front of one of the oldest and most famous Latino murals in DC.

After our walk, we enjoyed traditional Salvadoran food at El Rinconcito on Park Road: pupusas, tamales and carne asada. Nobody left hungry!

We made a last-minute decision to skip the Tidal Basin/ paddle boats since the cherry blossoms are not yet out. Instead, we visited the Smithsonian American Art Museum to experience an exhibit by Korean-American artist Do Ho Suh, and also got to view the new portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama at the National Portrait Gallery.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018
For our second day, we boarded vans and drove to Baltimore, braving the rain, wind, and sleet to learn about Civil Rights History in the Upton Neighborhood. Our amazing guide, Johns Hopkins (yes!) led us through a part of West Baltimore that most tourists never see, but that was home to an incredible number of Civil Rights pioneers dating from the 1800s. We took shelter from the weather at the Garrett Jacobs Mansion in the Mt. Vernon neighborhood, and noted the stark contrast between the boarded windows of West Baltimore and the gilded age lifestyle of early one percenters. After saying goodbye to Johns Hopkins, we had lunch at Mt. Vernon Marketplace. A short visit to the American Visionary Arts Museum was our last stop of the day before we got back on the road ahead of the snow.
Canada – March 21 Update
By Tony McCudden, Rec’d Wed, March 21 at 7:33 am

On the morning of day 3 we said goodbye to the Capital and made the two-hour trip to the beautiful Montreal. After a morning walking tour and free time at lunch, we toured La Basilique Notre-Dame, the second church built by the Roman Catholics in the city after the first church built in “Ville-Marie” became too small. It took 72 years to fund this extraordinary structure. Today it remains not only a symbol of architectural and artistic pride in the city but is also central to the history of the city.

We then went to the Pointe-a-Calliere Museum, the initial landing spot on the island on the St. Lawrence river of the French in 1642. About 30 years ago builders discovered an original cemetery as they dug the foundations for a new building. On further exploration they found the original structures and walls of Ville-Marie. Archaeologists have carefully traced these foundations some 20 feet below the current street level and now is an important memory of a city that once was.

After an evening of birthday celebrations (Brodie Stewart) and ice skating, we are ready for a day of service before traveling to Quebec City.

West Virginia – March 21 Update
By James, Charlie, and Ben, Rec’d Tuesday, March 20, 9:09 pm

The main activity of today was to visit Kayford mountain and learn about the environmental and cultural impact of mountaintop removal.

Here are some Haikus to celebrate the day:

In West Virginia
we got our mountain mama
singing and laughing
-James

Won’t you stop mining?
Altered irreversibly.
Nature says to leave.
-Charlie

In the high mountains
One was missing, grey and dead
Nice reclamation
-Ben

MARCH 20

SED Center: Service That Benefits the Local Latino Community – March 20 Update (Afternoon)
By Eduardo Polón & Kexin Zhang, Rec’d Tuesday, March 20 at 3:35 pm

Having made such a positive first impression yesterday at the Spanish Education Development Center, it was no surprise to be welcomed with such youthful enthusiasm and loving open arms upon our return today. Quite simply, the children adore our volunteers, and rightfully so. Similarly, some of our students observed how warmly received we were yesterday by our adult hosts, both faculty and staff. Having established a cooperative relationship with the SED Center that dates back to 2002, SSFS has earned the Center’s respect and appreciation. While the SED Center depends largely on the generosity of volunteers, SSFS is applauded time and again for the outstanding quality of its exceptional student role models. Whether it’s measured in our students’ initiative, courtesy, patience, willingness or joyfulness, SSFS students do seem to distinguish themselves among their peers. Perhaps this admirable distinction can be attributed, at least in part, to the fact that SSFS is as much a community as it is a school, whose potential for influence on our interconnected campus, a population that ranges from Preschool to Grade 12, is wider-reaching than most schools. Perhaps, too, it is the result of being a Quaker institution whose testimonies — Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality and Stewardship (a.k.a, SPICES) — permeate both consciously and unconsciously the way we “let our lives speak.” Whatever the combination, this group of 15 volunteers is certainly carrying the torch as proud and worthy SSFS ambassadors. Another meaningful day of service to others was rewarded with another culturally enriching lunch experience, this time in downtown Silver Spring, at Negril for some fine Jamaican cuisine. To learn more about the SED Center, visit www.sedcenter.org. Photos and videos can be enjoyed via our SED Center Intersession Vidigami album and/or Google Photos folder.

Art Outside
By Fred Sisk

The Art Outside group has been busy the past couple of days cutting vines to help trees, clipping bamboo, and digging holes as part of their plan to build a pergola using the vines and bamboo. They also have been creating birdhouses from gourds grown in the Community Farm.


Historical Maryland – March 20 Update (Afternoon)
By Flint Eller ’20, Rec’d Tuesday, March 20 at 2:27 pm

We started the day off at the Shrine of St. Anthony dusting the beautifully historic library, cleaning the stained glass windows, and oiling the doors all over the shrine. We attended part of a service to contemplate the Catholic and Quaker forms of worship. We ended the day eating great lunch at You Pizza in Clarksville before heading back to school. It was a great day where we learned about other religions and did service to help them out. Can’t wait for tomorrow! (photos from Day 1 & Day 2)


Utah Canyoneering – March 20 Update (Afternoon)
By David, Adam, and Sharon, Rec’d Tuesday, March 20 at 12:06 pm

We started our journey bright and early at the airport, and were able to get to Las Vegas without any problems. After waiting a while to get the rental cars we finally started our long drive to the campsite by going to REI, then driving two hours to a grocery store where we did our first food shop, and then our last hour drive to the campsite. We got into camp at about 11pm Utah time, pitched tents, and were asleep by 11:30 pm, making our first day about 19 hours in total. The group’s continuous positive energy made the long day much more manageable.

Our second day started out colder than we expected due to the accumulation of about 1 inch of snowfall during the night. With cold hands and toes, everyone was able to bundle up enough to make breakfast and get ready for the day. Our original plan to go rappelling in the canyons was forfeited due to the snow and ice and the potential for slick surfaces while the snow melted. With the advice from our Zion rappelling guides, we were able to complete a full day of hiking which included two full hikes to Emerald Pools, and Angel’s Landing. Overall, we hiked about 10 miles and 8 hours. After a long day, we made it back to camp for dinner and an earlier night, eager to start the next adventure tomorrow.

With another early morning, the cold weather had some of us moving slower than others. However, our spirits were lifted by those around us, and by the new adventure we had planned for the day. We packed up our entire campsite and drove a short distance to the Zion Mountain Guides where we met our two guides for our day of technical canyoneering. We drove just outside the limits of Zion to a beautiful landscape where we started a short hike to the rappelling location. With some of our group being afraid of heights, and those that had never done this before, there were several people who were hesitant about doing the first rappel. The amount of support, comfort, and understanding that was given to those who were unsure was something that cannot be adequately described. Seeing that compassion brought the thought of the meaning of community to everyone’s mind. Even though some members decided not to go through with the rappel, the overall experience was simply amazing. We did 4 different rappels with the shortest being a 30ft drop and our longest being almost 90ft straight down. After getting back to our vehicles, we started our long drive to our next campsite. Being a little behind schedule, we decided to eat dinner on the road, and got to camp at about 10pm.

Our next few days will be spent in the back country at Sooner Rocks. To get there we will drive for about 2 hours, half of which will be driven on a dirt road. We will be doing day hikes and enjoying being miles away from any civilization and having ample time for a planned group Meeting For Worship.

The enthusiasm and supportive attitude of the group make long, cold hikes seem manageable and enjoyable. We continue to help pitch tents that aren’t our own, pick up trash we didn’t leave, and provide each other with a sense of security and community. The cold nights aren’t so bad when people pitch in to redistribute warm gear. If one didn’t want to face a fear of heights or small spaces, there was always another behind or in front of them offering help and support. Even more heartwarming than the sight of the sunset on the canyons is the kindness we have shown to each other, and continue to show every day.

“The mountains are calling me, and I must go.”
-John Muir

Habitat for Humanity in Atlanta – March 20 Update (Morning)
By Brian Brubaker, Rec’d Monday, March 19 at 11:38 pm

Brian Brubaker uploaded many photos from the Habitat for Humanity trip. They have been having fun in Atlanta and hard at work helping to build houses!

Orgeon – March 20 Update (Morning)
By Harley White ’18 and Alex Polón ’18, Rec’d Monday, March 19 at 11:30 pm

Today we were able to enjoy more of Oregon’s beautiful scenery while giving back to the land and community that provided us with such stunning views. We began our day birdwatching on a breathtaking hike with local birdwatching enthusiasts, including a fellow Quaker. We then hiked to our service work site, where we busted up sod and aerated the soil in preparation for a future planting of Camas, a crop historically used as a food source by many Native Americans of the region. Afterwards, we went on an impromptu trip to Dairy Queen, a treat much appreciated by the group. From here, we piled back into our two vans and trekked back to Mount Hood to visit the infamous Timberline Lodge from the movie The Shining (no little girls were spotted at the end of any hallways). Our second full day in Oregon proved to be rewarding on a number of levels, as we were able to give back to the spectacular state that captured our hearts so quickly.

Canada – March 20 Update (Morning)
By Lucy Kriner ’18, Rec’d Monday, March 19 at 9:50 pm

Our second day of intersession began with the blistering cold of a morning in Ottawa. If we weren’t awake already, the -12 degree windchill did the trick as we entered the Canadian Parliament. The tour took us through the House of Commons, the Senate, and finally the Peace Tower, providing us with a stellar view of Ottawa. Our next destination was the Supreme Court, where we participated in a mock trial and even got to sit in on an actual Supreme Court session.

After a quick lunch, the team headed to the War Museum to look further into the history of Canada and its armed forces. The tour took us through the war of 1812, as well as both World Wars, and the Cold War. At the helm was our fearless tour guide Anne, who was really just all around great. Another meal separated us from our final outing of the day, and at approximately seven o’clock we disembarked to begin our haunted (freezing cold) walking tour of Ottawa. The tour took us through the trial and eventual execution of Patrick Whelan for the murder of Thomas D’arcy McGee. We followed the trail from McGee’s murder site all the way to the prison where McGee met his end. It was creepy to say the least, but we all survived the cold and the ghosts and will live to see another day.

Food for Thought – March 20 Update (Morning)
By Siraj Faruqee ’20 and Owen McCluskey ’20, Rec’d Monday, March 19 at 9:35 pm

Owen: At lunch we went to a Mexican restaurant. Because we were so quiet, we were given free dessert by the restaurant. After lunch we went to get our donation to A Wider Circle from the grocery store.

Siraj: On our first day, we travelled to the Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, DC. When we were there, we sorted food into bags, which were packed into boxes to be shipped. After we distributed what was already owned, we went on to sort out what had been donated. This included fresh produce, meats, dairy, and various nonperishable items. After that we went to lunch.

West Virginia – March 20 Update (Morning)
By Isaac Philadelphia ’19, Rec’d Monday, March 19 at 9:25 pm

I was awoken by Bim’s voice uttering, “Saskatoons, wake up!” I rolled off a bit before rolling back, awaiting the second call. That was the start to my first full day in West Virginia. When I finally got up, I saw a simple breakfast made up of a few cereals, cream cheese, and bagels. A few more had awakened by now and had begun eating. The whole West Virginia group made lunch for the sure-to-be-tiring day it would be. For me, it certainly was.

The group, ready to paint, hopped into the two vans, both headed towards PRIDE, an elder and youth services center. We walked through the once-school halls to the cafeteria. Each of us split into three groups, two of four, and one of two. From there we waited, having small conversations, amusing ourselves till the work of painting would be assigned. Eventually, five of us settled ourselves into painting the PRIDE cafeteria while five others went to the Big Ugly Community Center to help count seeds and clean. I was in the group that painted. The painting consisted of applying painter’s tape to items attached to the walls, ensuring that the paint did not touch them. We began taping–every fire alarm, light switch, door frames, floors, ceilings–if it was near the wall, it was taped. Two of the four walls were completed by the time we left. We will be back to finish the painting later this week!

A call from Bim shuttled us to the bus. We were then motored by the van to what our clairvoyant GPS believed was Big Ugly Community Center. Instead, our GPS led us into a creek, commanding us to drive up the lake. Rather than taking the GPS’s instructions, we attempted to turn around. This was no easy feat. The road was narrow and there was very little room to turn around. However, with the help of some friendly locals, we got turned around and made it to meet up with the rest of our group at the Big Ugly Community Center. From there we went on a hike. Finally, we got back to camp, made dinner, and held a meeting for worship for the purpose of writing Haiku reflections.

MARCH 19

The 2018 trips have gotten off to a great start! Several intersession trips sent photos and updates over the weekend. See updates below.

SED CENTER INTERSESSION: SERVICE THAT BENEFITS THE LOCAL LATINO COMMUNITY
By Eduardo Polón & Kexin Zhang, Rec’d Monday, March 19 at 4:22 pm

The SED Center Intersession began in earnest today. Located in Washington, DC, the Spanish Education Development Center is an award-winning, non-profit organization dedicated to serving the needs of low-income residents since 1971. Honoring a longstanding partnership that has seen SSFS send students from the Upper School to volunteer in the SED Center’s bilingual preschool classrooms since 2002, today’s 15 high schoolers were given a quick tour before splitting into six groups and introduced to their respective classrooms for the week, ranging from toddlers to 4-year olds. After a meaningful day’s work and play, the group rode the Metro to Chinatown where, in this intersession’s spirit of celebrating multiculturalism, they were rewarded with a well-earned and delicious lunch of Mongolian barbecue at Tony Cheng’s, winner of Washingtonian Magazine’s Blue Ribbon. To learn more about the SED Center, visit www.sedcenter.org.

Historical Maryland
By Brian Chisolm ’20, Rec’d Monday, March 19 at 4:18 pm

Today we went to the Patuxent National Wildlife Refuge. In the refuge we swept leaves off of trails, moved sticks out of the way of a trail used by cars, and mulched a garden trail so it would be more accessible for people in wheelchairs. We worked as a team and got the job done in about 4 hours. After we went to the Refuge we went to a nearby Olive Garden and ate good food. After the food we went back to school and our day ended.

9th Grade Trip
By Steff Kerr, Rec’d Monday, March 19 at 3:52 pm

We have had a wonderful trip so far. There are telltale signs of hurricane Irma, and the service organizations are thrilled we have brought a 80 bodies to help clean up. The sunsets have been glorious, the weather has been beautiful and the kids have been awesome.

After meeting early in the morning from Maryland with freezing temperatures, we are watching palm trees sway in the breeze. Groups have already been Sea Kayaking, snorkeling at Sombrero Reef and visiting the Turtle Hospital. The days are long and filled with both service and education. More photos available on Vidigami here.

Canada
By Tony McCudden, Rec’d Sunday, March 18 at 9:37 pm

As a long long day draws to a close, I’m surrounded by a weary yet positive group. We were quickly introduced to the potential for a cold day as we viewed the white fields of Ontario from the plane. It was cold, about 14 degrees, but we received a very warm welcome from our tour host Calvin, group-leader in training Katherine, and our bus driver Ray “Robert DeNiro.”

Today we explored the city of Ottawa. From the Prime Ministers residence, to the frozen Rideau Canal, lunch around ByWard Market, the Mother Spider at the Art Gallery, and the Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill; we definitely got our steps in.

Tomorrow we tour Parliament, the Supreme Court, and War Memorial museum. We will finish the day with a Haunted city tour before a good nights sleep then transfer to Montreal on Tuesday.

Oregon: Hood to Coast
By Jacob Orloff ’19, Rec’d Sunday, March 18 at 7:30 pm

During our intersession trip to Oregon I’ve been shocked into amazement by its beautiful landscape. Even simple drives to the supermarket direct all my attention to the sky-scraping mountains and the shallow, rocky canyons. The thick snow and tall trees keep making me believe I’m in a totally different country. Along with the sights, I have had the pleasure to meet and get along with people I hardly pass on my way to classes. From snowball fights to cooking dinner, visiting Multnomah falls and a fish hatchery, to snowshoeing and watching basketball, this trip has truly given me an amazing experience that I will never forget.

[Photos to come!]

Great Britain Great Quaker Pilgrimage
By Jacob Hurley ’20, Rec’d Sunday, March 18 at 3:45 pm

To start the day, we ate breakfast in the hostel and saw that it snowed a fairly significant amount overnight, and that it was still snowing. We then took the train to the Salisbury Quaker meeting house, where we joined in on the very end of a meeting for worship and had some delicious tea and snacks, as well as some really nice conversations with the people there. Around then, we found out that Stonehenge was closed, but luckily one of the members of the Quaker meeting offered to give us a guided tour around town, which we gladly accepted. On the tour, we learned some of the town’s history and also looked around the very impressive Salisbury Cathedral. Even though not getting to see Stonehenge was disappointing, the huge and beautiful Cathedral was amazing, along with an original copy of the Magna Carta from around the year 1200. After looking around the Cathedral for around an hour, we parted with our tour guide and split up for lunch. We then went to the train station, where we found out that the train was canceled, so we waited around an hour and took the next train. Lastly, we stopped by the hostel for a bit and then went out for dinner at Chili Daddy. More photos available on Vidigami here.

West Virginia
By Julie Borsetti, Rec’d Sunday, March 18, at 7:27 pm

We pulled out of SSFS in our two large sprinter vans at 8:00 am. Before crossing out of Maryland, we stopped at Sideling Hill. Along the way, we enjoyed a sunny sky and beautiful mountain views, including some dustings of snow, as we wound our way through western Maryland and into West Virginia. After lunch at Subway, we passed by an old coal mine as we entered into the heart of coal country, Logan County West Virginia. We arrived at New Covenant Church around 4:00 pm. After a little cleaning, exploring, and setting up our home away from home for the week, one group ran out to get groceries and another played basketball and/or banjo at the church. At 6:00 we met up with a few of the BAPS (Believing All is Possible), the teen mentoring group that is affiliated with the AFS (American Friends Service Committee) for pizza and fun! We played some getting to know you games, as well as four square and basketball. A great start to the week. More photos available on Vidigami here.