Adirondack Cool Runnings

By Aaron Mair - Forever Adirondacks Campaign Director
Friday, May 10, 2024

Beyond our natural Adirondack beauty, a wonderful connection was made in the March snow that truly underscores the intersectional power of sports, culture, and nature to inspire the hearts and minds of underserved New York City youth who spent three wonderful days enjoying the cultural and sports attractions in the High Peaks.

Scouts from NYC in the AdirondacksThe Adirondack Council, in partnership with the North Country Sports Council, Hotel Saranac, and Senator Leroy Comrie of Queens came together to provide a first-time experience for over a dozen Scouts from Troops 144B, 1444G, and Girl Scout Troop 4704 along with their parents from Queens and Brooklyn, New York. The first day’s activities included the Scouts meeting the Jamaican Bobsled Team and a reception dinner with “Cool Runnings Theater Night" at the Saranac Lake Library, which made for a wonderful evening.

Scouts with the Jamaican bobsled team in Saranac LakeMany of the children’s families are immigrants from the island of Jamaica, so it was a hugely inspirational highlight for them to attend the 2024 World Cup bobsled competition that featured the famed Jamaican Bobsled team at the Mount Van Hoevenberg Olympic Bobsled Run. Former state Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner and current Olympic Regional Development Authority board chair Joe Martens was on hand to field many questions from the Scouts, who were inspired by bobsledding and the opportunity to have careers in nature.

Martens and Assemblyman Billy Jones (NY115) were impressed that the youth had a packed weekend schedule that included an evening with Mark Manske from Adirondack Raptors. An intimate evening with the owls and learning about raptors was a first for the youth and their parents. Moreover, having an opportunity to share their joy about this experience with Assemblymember Jones exemplified how important access to the Adirondacks for all New Yorkers is, and how it is critical to the protection of this natural resource. 

Scouts at John Brown FarmThe weekend was made idylic by a fresh blanket of snow during their visit to John Brown’s farm to learn about the Timbuctoo settlement, as well as Solomon Northrup’s 19th-century story on his kidnapping, memorialized in the book and movie “Twelve Years A Slave." The combination of topics made for a perfect day of cultural reflection and connection. 

Scouts at the Wild CenterThe Scouts adventure ended with a visit to the Wild Center in Tupper Lake where they enjoyed a series of talks and hands-on exhibits on climate change and our fragile planetary ecology. For many of the Scouts working on various merit badges on the environment, this was an especially meaningful wrap-up to an adventure that has delivered a lifetime of unforgettable memories. They indeed are fired up and ready to preserve the Adirondacks.

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