By Kathy Jiang, VA HS Program Coordinator
Photos Courtesy of AALEAD Staff
VA Summer Programs wrapped up at the end of last month with our first field trip since pre-pandemic times: to the Smithsonian Zoo. It was a fun, if humid, day filled with animal friends and bonding.
The zoo trip was a first for a number of the youth––some of whom had never been to the National Zoo before––so anticipation was running high. Luckily, we were able to hit up most of the must-sees, from the famous pandas to the much-loved elephants, as well as some big cats, smaller mammals, dinosaur-looking reptiles, and more!!
We even got to take a spin on the much-lauded zoo carousel, which had every animal you could ever hope to ride: a squid, a flamingo, a camel, a tuna fish, a seal… shall I go on?
All in all, it was quite the experience trudging through the heat together, racing one another to be the first to catch a glimpse of the next animal, and spinning in circles to cool down under the ingenious kick-to-start sprinklers.
It’s been a while since we have been able to gather so many of us together like this, and we were reminded of how irreplaceable in-person community gatherings are. Youth who may not have seen each other in a while were able to catch up. Brand new connections and friendships were made too: I myself finally got to meet several youth––whom I had zoomed plenty of times––in person.
We’re already looking forward to our next excursion… stay tuned for AALEAD VA fall events~