What does Fleet Week in New York and Lodge Guests Helping Local Kids Learn English in Tortuguero have in Common?
Yolanda and I are in New York City for the next 3 weeks. One of the highlights this week is “Fleet Week.” Over a dozen ships from the US and Canadian Navies and thousands of sailors and marines are have come to visit.
What I’ve always loved about Fleet Week is that it embodies the generous exchange of kindnesses that makes travel so emotionally nourishing. This is made possible by the fact that the visitors bring their homes with them. So the sailors and marines invite New Yorkers on their ships and treat them like royalty, and New Yorkers invite the sailors into their city and treat them like royalty. I must not be the only one who feels this way, because Fleet Week started in 1984 and has been going strong ever since.
You wouldn’t think that several thousand visitors would make much of an impression in a city of over 8 million inhabitants, but it seems like everyplace you go you see them in their uniforms.
Yolanda who has never met a stranger enjoys as she calls it in her over 30 year endeavor to jazz up the English language, “Week Fleet.”
So, what does sailors and ships visiting New York City have to do with lodge guests helping kids in Tortuguero learn English.
I admit it is a bit of a stretch, but there are a couple of important aspects that did not make it into the previous posts that Fleet Week brings to mind.
The first one is reciprocity. I have no doubt that the kids will value what they learn much more if they have the opportunity to give something in return.
What we are going to ask them to give the guests in return for help in English is to show you things from their daily lives.
The other aspect is a name. If Fleet Week had been called, “Sailors inviting New Yorkers on their ships and New Yorkers openning their hearts and homes to Sailors,” I doubt whether Fleet Week would have made it to 1985.
Since I am a strong believer in the importance of names, I asked the best wordsmith, I know, Ron Richards from Results Lab for help. Since we both agreed that it was important for the experience to be fun and as unike school as possible, Ron came up with, “The Words Adventure.” I hope you like it as much as I do.
If you have had travel experiences involving shared kindnesses or any comments on the name or importance of names in general, please share.