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A Picture-perfect End to a Picture-perfect Summer Vacation

September 1, 2016

By Mendy Hecht, Hamaspik Gazette

Three-day Upstate Getaway for Hamaspik’s 38th St. Residence

Come summer, Brooklyn is a great place to be from—if you live there all year ‘round, that is.  Exhibit A: the exodus of cars flowing from the borough to points north throughout the season.

And this early September, a Hamaspik Transport Van could be seen among them.

Filling its seats were three staff members and six residents of Hamaspik of Kings County’s 38th St. Shvesterheim, the agency’s youngest group home.  Destination?  Lake George—and a summer-capping’s worth of recreation and escape from the city packed into three days of fun.

On the road to summer fun

After weeks of planning, Home Manager Mr. Israel Indig saw off Assistant Manager Mrs. Yona Kasnett, and Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) Ms. Ruchie Herman and Ms. Ileana Tintea—along with a vanload of freshly-packed perishables in coolers and a group of excited vacationers.

It was early Tuesday morning, Sept. 6, and the “Shvesterheimers” couldn’t wait to get on the road.  Moments later, with the engine started and last goodbyes waved, they were on the way.

The first stop, some two solid hours of driving later, was Kelder’s Farm in the Catskills, where the group stretched out and unwound from the long ride in the best possible way—by spending the next four hours feeding the farm animals at Kelder’s petting zoo, and picking berries, corn, squash and cherry tomatoes from the farms ample fields.

All that energy-expending needed refueling, of course, so the group sat down to a delicious picnic lunch, on tables set elegantly by staff, before hitting the road for the trip’s second leg.

With beautiful scenery to behold and music playing, the drive to Lake George was relaxing.

Pulling up to their reserved motel in the resort area later that afternoon, the young ladies were assisted by staff in settling into their rooms.  They then converged on the facility’s outdoor picnic area, where the DSPs had lost no time deploying a portable grill to whip up a yummy barbecue dinner.

Throughout their two-day stay at the motel, the group also enjoyed such on-site facilities as the private indoor pool, game room and exercise room.

Bright and early the next morning, the eager travelers bounced out of bed for a full breakfast lovingly prepared—and laid out on primly-set, cloth-bedecked tables in the motel’s outdoor garden—by staff, with fresh sandwiches, juice, vegetables and more on the menu.

It was then time for one of the trip’s several major highlights, and one which the “girls” had chosen themselves—a full-day outing to the nearby Six Flags Great Escape!

The city birds enjoyed not just the spacious and exhilarating outdoor environment, but the thrilling rides and shows, the exciting water park and the delight souvenir shops, too.  “There was something for everyone, and everyone enjoyed it immensely,” reports Mrs. Kasnett.

Back at their motel “headquarters,” the satisfied but spent entourage tucked into another barbecue dinner freshly prepared by their Hamaspik support staff—before collapsing into bed.

Another day-long voyage of excitement, and fairly literally, lay ahead.

Waves of happiness

The morning of Thursday, September 8 saw the Hamaspik staff assist their “supportees” through their morning routines, complete with yet another fabulous fresh breakfast.

Thus sufficiently powered up for the day, the group packed their bags and said goodbye to motel staff, and the van was soon rolling up local highways and byways for the Lake George shore.

Once parked at the popular body of water, the Hamaspik vacationers lost no time hitting the water—in a sizable rented motorboat that had the life-vest-clad revelers practically shrieking in delight.  With the lovely tree-encrusted Adirondacks rising in the background, the boaters had a blast riding the waves and enjoying the calming and beautiful waters—with each even getting a turn to steer the boat.

After several hours of drinking in and personally experiencing the pristine beauty of Lake George, that unavoidable moment of every vacation arrived: time to go home.

Around 2:00 p.m., then, the Hamaspik contingent got back in their van and headed back to Brooklyn—stopping at one of New York State’s well-designed highway rest stops for another refreshing lunch on the road, their last of the trip.

Getting the big picture

While each segment and leg of the trip was a highlight in its own right, reports Mrs. Kasnett, the real high point of the trip actually came after the trip.

Pulling up to their familiar environs at 38th St. in the early evening, the tired but happy young ladies glided back into their Shvesterheim—only to find a lovely collage of photos of their just-ended vacation neatly arranged on their lobby wall!

It had all been a surprise: with DSPs regularly snapping electronic photos and transmitting them back home to Mr. Indig throughout, the amiable Home Manager had been hard at work all through their vacation, printing out dozens of photographic memories and arranging them on the wall, where they waited to amusingly surprise the returning vacationers.

The “girls” spent a good bit of time oohing and aahing over the shots, laughing at the fresh memories and recalling the good times they had just had upstate.

“It was a great getaway, a real change of scenery and an experience the girls will treasure and remember for a long time,” Mrs. Kasnett later told the Gazette.  It was “truly memorable.”

And, thanks to a Manager as equally devoted as his staff, one that can easily be revisited, too.