Description 12 - Chautauqua On Chautauqua

What is this strange yet painfully quaint place where I spent my birthday? An asylum? A cult headquarters? The model for Stars Hollow on "Gilmore Girls"? I crunch around the melting snow and try to explain my history and Canada's history with the "Institution".

This is what you use to subscribe like an a Gate Pass holder.
This is where you download directly like some visitor who sneaks in off-season like me (that's actually not a good metaphor, but whatever).

Associated links:
The official site of Chautauqua Institution
The Institution in Wikipedia
Heather's Inn
Notes on the Chautauqua Movement (with the answer to what CLSC stands for)
Buckeye Local Schools (my old school district, where, I learned from this site, still has Project Allegro, only it's called "Allegro Enrichment.")

The title is a reference to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, in which a "chautauqua" is an oral essay working through various thoughts and ideas for education and sometimes entertainment. It was sort of a 19th century podcast, now that I think of it.

In this podcast, I didn't finish my story about Project Allegro, the program that took me to Chautauqua in the first place. You'll notice listening that I didn't sound very positive about the program. It did have its merits, and I do appreciate the opportunity I was given to be exposed to some new things. I just had this nagging feeling throughout that these opportunities should have been given to kids who were having a harder time with school, including kids who lived in beat-up trailers in the country and were in the school lunch program.

Anyway, a couple weeks into it, I was riding on the school bus from Kingsville to Jefferson one morning, and it occured to me that it was summer and I was getting up to go to school just like I had during the school year. Why? Sure, it was a good program and everything, but I still had to get up to go to school and I was doing it in the middle of summer. It just felt wrong. If they really wanted to be innovative, they should have started classes at noon or 1pm so we could sleep in like kids are supposed to do in the summer. But no. So I just decided it wasn't worth it, and I quit. I wrote a very nice letter to the director of the program thanking him for the chance and the experience, but that I just wanted to enjoy my summer and pursue what I wanted to pursue on my own time without the schedules and obligations. The reaction was pretty amusing: the people running the program were very concerned that I'd quit because of something that had gone wrong there - perhaps I'd been bullied or abused somehow. Was I okay? :-) I had to get my parents to write a letter saying no, she's just fine, there was no ill treatment, she just doesn't want to have to go to school in the summer.

That's something that sort of annoyed me when I was a kid. Adults, especially those at schools in positions of authority, didn't really give me much credit for thinking and making my own decisions based on my logic and feelings. They knew I was "smart," but didn't really consider what that meant beyond scores and needing to be challenged according to their well-studied ideas of what challenges a smart kid. There's a little human being behind that test score with a network of thought and gut processes that never shuts off (though sometimes wishes it would). Then again, I look at kids the age I was then, and I probably don't give them much credit either. Then again again, one day last summer when I was hanging with Dubber and Spoons, I was lucky enough to also hang out a little with Dubber's son Jake, who is a little older than I was then, but is very bright without being annoying (though that may have changed since he's reached teenage). I found myself talking to him like talking to a normal person, as I'd wished to be talked to back in tha day, and he gave good and often better than he got. So maybe it just depends on the kid...which maybe was my point about the whole Allegro thing.

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