“One of summer’s small pleasures: very few socks to deal with.”
– Jessica Iaia, owner, Half Moon Books
Dutchess Outreach soup kitchen needs volunteers
I wish I could say that soup kitchens and food pantries aren’t necessary anymore, but until then, I’ll keep mentioning ways we can all help. My kids and I recently worked our first four-hour shift at Dutchess Outreach’s soup kitchen, the Lunchbox, to prepare and serve the meal. The timing is flexible: Some of the other volunteers came from work and stayed just to assist with the food prep. We all wore the required hairnets, plastic gloves and closed-toe shoes, and we stayed busy the entire time working at various stations, such as buttering countless slices of bread or plating salads. We learned a lot, and we loved it.
Because the Lunchbox is open to serve meals to the community almost every day, including school and work holidays, families have a unique opportunity to volunteer together. In addition to cash and food donations, the Lunchbox always needs volunteers to help prepare and serve meals, as well as a few assorted kitchen items. Right now, it could use dishrags, potholders, utensils, mugs and plastic cups without handles (so they can stack). Anything from this supply list may be dropped off during regular hours of the Lunchbox or at Dutchess Outreach, located upstairs.
Dutchess Outreach and the Lunchbox are located at 29 North Hamilton Street in Poughkeepsie. For more information, call (845) 454-3792 or visit www.dutchessoutreach.org.
Six Flags Great Escape
My family’s recent visit to the Six Flags Great Escape amusement park was a hit, and we can’t wait to go back. The last time I was there, the orange loop coaster where I took my first upside-down ride as a teen was the park’s newest addition. Great Escape has grown and improved and offers a variety of rides and attractions for all ages, from the vintage Storyland nursery-rhyme-and-fairytale village to the 19-story free-fall Sasquatch ride to the hilarious high-diver show. Try to arrive early at the outdoor water park so you can grab a deck chair before they’re snatched up, and of course, bring your bathing suits.
You’ll also need your wallet. I will say that one upshot of paying $20 for parking is that you are immediately introduced to the high cost of the games and concession-stand food. Bags are inspected at the park entrance; no outside food or beverages are permitted except for one sealed water bottle per person. Confiscated food is donated.
For anyone interested in free admission, school and home educators can score complimentary tickets through the Six Flags Read to Succeed program, which grants free park admission to adults and children under 13 years.
After your visit to Great Escape, I recommend walking across the street to Martha’s Dandee Creme for some of the 14 delectable soft-serve flavors, such as birthday cake, cotton candy or coffee, and it’s cheap! You can check its Facebook page for the daily list of flavors. Great Escape is located at 89 Six Flags Drive in Queensbury. For more information about Six Flags Great Escape, call (518) 792-3500 or visit www.sixflags.com/greatescape. Martha’s website, including the flavor calendar, is https://marthasicecream.com.
Hang with Yogi Bear in Gardiner & Greenfield Park
Camping at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Parks is a chance to soften the edges of roughing it, so it’s a good fit for families who are new to camping, as well as for experienced campers who want to relax. The two Jellystone camps in the Hudson Valley are Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park at Lazy River in Gardiner and Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park: Woodridge, just outside of Ellenville.
Highlights of the Gardiner camp are its proximity to outside amenities such as grocery stores and gas stations; the Lazy River, which is accessed directly from the campsites for fishing, kayaking, canoeing and tubing; and a full snack bar that looks over two different swimming pools. The Woodridge camp features thoughtful conveniences, such as ample bathrooms and showers, easy parking for almost anywhere you want to go and abundant foliage separating the campsites; a fountain-filled splash pool, in addition to the regular swimming pool and Jacuzzi, with lots of shade; a large trampolinelike jumping pillow for all-age bouncing; and a large, modern playground in the field area. Both camps include Yogi-themed activities such as crafts, wagon rides and games with staff and the costumed mascots.
Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park at Lazy River is located at 50 Bevier Road in Gardiner. Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park: Woodridge is located at 85 Martinfeld Road in Greenfield Park. For more information about Gardiner, call (845) 255-5193; for Woodridge, call (845) 434-4743; or visit www.campjellystone.com.
Check out Circles website
Circles, a Hudson Valley LGBTQ youth group, has relaunched and is shaping a calendar of monthly events in the Hudson Valley that create a safe and open environment for LGBTQ youth to have fun and connect with their community. Most events are free, some with a suggested donation, but all are open to LGBTQ and ally-identified youth with a valid middle or high school ID. For more information about Circles events, visit www.facebook.com/circleshv or https://circleshudsonvalley.tumblr.com, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
THURSDAY, JULY 10
Support group in Kingston for teens
The Crime Victims’ Assistance Program invites teen females from 13 to 17 years of age who have been victims of sexual assault to attend a support group meeting on July 9 and 10 between 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at 1 Pearl Street in Kingston. If you or someone you know wishes to attend, contact Lydia Diaz at (845) 340-3446 or visit www.ulstercountyny.gov/probation/crime-victim-assistance, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/uccvap or in Spanish, www.facebook.com/uccvaps.
FRIDAY, JULY 11
Self-Taught Art exhibit at Vassar
Interested in free and interesting art that’s close to home, but looking for something new? From July 11 to August 31, children and adults should head to Vassar College to check out “Faces and Figures in Self-Taught Art,” an exhibition of more than 50 works by self-taught artists. The use of unconventional materials in creating some of these works is part of the collection’s appeal to a wide range of tastes and ages.
Admission to the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center is free, and all galleries are wheelchair-accessible. The Art Center is open to the public on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Vassar College is located at 124 Raymond Avenue in Poughkeepsie. For more information, call (845) 437-5632 or visit https://fllac.vassar.edu.