Looking back forty seven years later, I realize a number of significant things that I didn’t have the perspective to appreciate at the time. One of the first is how remarkable it was that the School could provide such an experience, knowing that financial resources have always been a significant challenge.
For transportation, one of my best friends and Scattergood classmate Ron Ellyson and his mother, Trudy, wrote a story about Howard Hampton’s bus line, including that his buses provided transportation for the Scattergood Senior trips.
The mission of William Penn House in Washington, DC, where we stayed, is to provide radical hospitality, a very inexpensive place for Quakers and others to stay while they do their work there, most commonly related to the Federal government, and as a result, most often with the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL). William Penn House has made it possible for many Friends who probably could not have afforded to do so, the opportunity to witness in Washington, and is conveniently located just 5 blocks from the U.S. Capitol, which helps with transportation needs, too. There is meeting for worship every morning, and breakfast. A number of Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative) Friends, including my parents and I, have served on William Penn House’s National Consultative Committee. Recently William Penn House has become very involved in numerous community garden projects in Washington among many other things.
The visits to the House and Senate in session, and meeting with our Congressional Representatives, made us aware that we had a real connection to, and responsibility for our personal involvement in our government. Many years later I was again in the offices of Congressional Representatives and Senators, lobbying with Friends and FCNL staff.
Although FCNL didn’t play a large role in our Senior trip, we did visit the FCNL offices, and made that connection. Again, many Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative) Friends have had numerous, intimate ties with FCNL from its inception. My parents served on many committees, and I was on the General Committee for 7 years.
In New York City we stayed at the YMCA. I do remember how stark the rooms were, but they served the purpose. I also remember how friendly I found the city, and quickly got over my initial fears, coming from a rural Iowa background.
Again, actually seeing the United Nations building, and the Security Council in session, made these things we had studied about at Scattergood, real.
Recently Aaron Woolfson wrote the following on Facebook, that is a good account of how important our Scattergood education has been for us.
“SCATTERGOOD is no doubt one of the most important parts of our lives – and shaped, in large part, who we are today – and what we have become. It is no accident that emotional empathy, and logical deduction and analysis, was as much of a part of the every day experience at Scattergood as were the academic challenges which required its’ use.
So Scattergood is a victim of its’ success, having created thousands of highly emotionally evolved and empathetic people who can literally succeed at ANYTHING they want. And because of the success of Scattergood in our lives, we tend to be more self-sufficient and nimble. BECAUSE OF THIS, we tend to forget how much Scattergood contributed to who we are today.” Aaron Woolfson, Scattergood alumnus