At the College Experience we enjoy having some of our students continue their adventures and learning experiences with us as alumni. The Awesome Activities Club take interested alumni to many different activities throughout the Albany area and sometimes many miles beyond their neighborhood. Staff is always on hand to help with planning as well as transportation when the distance is beyond the limits of the CDTA bus system. The entire club, however, is manned and run by the alumni themselves.

The alumni made the choice to take a two day, three night overnight trip to Wildwood, NJ because it is a popular beach resort that the students of the College Experience visited a couple of summers ago. On Friday, September 8 five alumni and one staff member packed themselves into a van to make the five-hour drive to the ocean in a beautiful attempt to seize the final days of summer. The alumni chose the Days Inn located next to the beach and the boardwalk. The weather has been beautiful while the overwhelming crowds from the summertime rush have mostly dispersed.

The alumni have fully enjoyed the lukewarm ocean waters, amusement park rides, seafood restaurants, and other luxuries that are synonymous with summertime paradise. There are other trips on the backburner such as Niagara Falls, a section of the Appalachian Trail, apple picking, Headless Horsemen Hayrides, and even a suggestion that we travel to California. While the last option is something of a tall order, anything is possible with this group of enthusiastic alumni!

Our trips are meant to be as fun for the alumni as possible. But we find that one of the welcomed effects of these trips is a greater sense of independence when the alumni realize they have the aptitude to navigate new communities and may make use of resources such as Bus Lines without the presence of staff. Here are some quotes from the alumni about their thoughts on the experience so far in Wildwood!

“Go Giants! Teamwork makes the dream work.” – Jordan

“I love the independence we get when traveling. It’s nice to be around friends that accept you for who you are and don’t look at the disability. We can do anything that we put our mind to.” Keep trying. Never give up. It’s not about the disability. It’s about the possibility. Reach for the stars. Life is good with relaxation and the beach. Independence, confidence, and happiness.” – Jessica Lewis

“Wildwood: It’s wild and crazy.” – Andrew

“It’s my first time without my family on vacation with friends and boyfriend with great independence. We are learning how to adult!” – Amy