On Assignment

Melissa Stagnaro

While my colleagues and I at The Evening Sun attend an awful lot of school and town board meetings and other events in and around Chenango County, it’s not often that we get to venture out into the world outside our domain for a story. My first chance to go out into the great beyond came earlier this year when I spent a couple of days in Albany with the Farm Bureau. Well, this weekend I’ll be on assignment once again. Only this time, instead of business suits, I’ll be packing hiking gear.

The Norwich High School students participating in The Leadership Project will be heading to the Adirondacks tomorrow for their four day retreat, and guess who will be tagging along? Moi. Yep, I’m going to see first-hand what this program, which has sparked such controversy, is all about.

I’m not going to lie: I’m excited about the trip. I’ve never been to the Adirondacks before and I love outdoorsy stuff. But this isn’t going to be a walk in the park by any means. The itinerary reads more like a boot camp than a relaxing long weekend in the woods. Hmmm…maybe I should pack cammo.

All the participants are setting goals (both individual and group) for the trip, so I’ve set a few of my own as well. First and foremost, I don’t want my presence to be a hindrance of any kind or a distraction. I want to observe and participate as much as I can, but be unobtrusive at the same time. That might be difficult, given the fact that I’ll be armed with my notepad and furiously snapping photos every step of the way.

While the student participants aren’t allowed to bring their cell phones or iPods with them, I’m keeping all of my technology handy. I’ll be bringing both my phone and my laptop so that I can blog and tweet as often as I can. I’ll even be able to post some of the photos I take through twitter, which I think is pretty cool.

Now I don’t mean to rush off, but I still have a few last minute things to pick up (namely bug spray) before tomorrow. And considering the tight schedule we’ll be on until Tuesday night, I better get all the sleep I can now while I’ve got the chance.

Wish me luck! And don’t forget to check back often to hear the latest.