Kids Almanac (August 1-8)

“Sometimes I wish I had a terrible childhood, so that at least I’d have an excuse.”
~ Jimmy Fallon


Congratulations to Saugerties son Jimmy Fallon and wife Nancy Juvonen on their newborn daughter, Winnie Rose Fallon!

Whether you’re a new parent like Fallon and Juvonen, or your family has cruised through its share of milestones, I’d like to highlight two important local events this week that honor the present day with a nod to the past and future. One is the conference Hold On to Your Kids: Parenting in the 21st Century conference, the other the Hudson Valley portion of the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign.

Look at the incredible line-up for this weekend’s Hold On to Your Kids conference. The presenters are Susan Cain, author of “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”; Gordon Neufeld, internationally renowned developmental psychologist and co-author with Gabor Mate of “Hold On To Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers”; Tony Porter, internationally recognized educator, activist, and co-founder of A Call To Men, an organization committed to end violence against women and girls; Elizabeth Lesser, co-founder and senior adviser of Omega Institute and author of “Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow”; and Rachel Simmons, internationally acclaimed educator and author of “Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls.”

Sil Reynolds, a nurse practitioner, therapist, workshop leader and coauthor of “Mothering & Daughtering: Keeping Your Bond Strong Through the Teen Years,” will moderate the event. The awesome conference is at Omega. Have you been to Omega? In addition to the consistently excellent programming, I love eating in the dining hall with those thoughtful little signs indicating where my food is from; or resting by Yearning Pond; or losing myself in the library.

We get one shot at this parenting and grandparenting journey. It’s now, it’s every day, and it doesn’t wait for me to really get a handle on something before I move forward with a decision or thought process. Not to mention the fact that there are so many triggers that bring up our own stuff from the past, which can limit our vision and block us from seeing our kids for who they are. Plus today’s culture is different now that it was during our own formative years.

This conference is specifically designed to support us with those questions and concerns. This group of presenters are not a trendy bunch with some passing fad of parenting styles. Each is in tune with the real world. It’s not one of those You’re Doing It Wrong blame- and-shame-based forums, but a circle of sensitivity, nuance, information, support, empowerment, and inspiration.

“At a time when parents are just trying to keep their heads above water in the unchartered world of the Internet, this conference gives them a chance to slow down and learn how to hold on to their kids without being a helicopter parent,” said Carla Goldstein, chief external affairs officer at Omega and cofounder of the Omega Women’s Leadership Center. There are also activities for children and teens at the same time as the regular conference talks and workshops.

Hold On to Your Kids: Parenting in the 21st Century is this weekend, August 2 through 4. Be sure to inquire about Omega’s limited number of full scholarships for parents and their kids of all ages, including teens, and educators, health professionals, and everyone in our village who raises our children. The Omega Institute is at 150 Lake Drive in Rhinebeck. To register or for more information, call 877-944-2002, 266-4444 or visit


Four hundred years ago Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre burned down during a performance; peace was achieved between Sweden and Denmark; and the Two Row Wampum agreement was made between the Native peoples and European colonists near what is now Albany. In 2013, our family attends Shakespearean youth performances in New Paltz, Rosendale and West Shokan; we Skype our friends in Europe while playing Minecraft and TF2; and we participate in the 400th anniversary festivities of the Two Row.

What is the Two Row Wampum? The belt, which outlasted any paper copies of the treaty, is made of three rows of white beads, color of truth, which represent peace, friendship and forever; and two parallel rows of purple beads symbolizing the sailboats of the Europeans, the canoes of the Native Americans and all that each group encompasses, including their leaders and ways of life. The Two Row Wampum conveys the meaning, “We shall travel down the road of life, parallel to each other and never merging with each other.” As Almanac Weekly’s Frances Marion Platt wrote in her piece about Two Row last week: “Part of the intent of the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign, besides celebrating the 400th anniversary of the treaty, is to raise public awareness of the tribe’s legal struggles and the history of U.S. government dealings, often in bad faith, with Native peoples in general. Renewed commitment to environmental stewardship regarding such issues affecting New York State as hydrofracking and the cleanup of the Hudson River is a third focus of the campaign.” I’ve been thinking about the importance of this event for local families. Halyna Shepko, herbalist homeschooling mom at Shawangunk Ridge Farm in New Paltz said, “It is important to bring our children to these upcoming events organized to meet the Two Row Wampum Paddlers and The Dakota Nation Unity Riders in order to educate them about Indigenous Rights as well as teach them about the importance of protecting our natural resources. Many of our kids feel a connection and interest in indigenous life and people but unfortunately have not been at an event where there were many Native Americans present. How incredible is it to have this happening right in the Hudson Valley!”

Here are some of the events during the Hudson Valley portion of the Two Row journey. On Thursday, August 1st, the parallel rows of Native American and non-Native paddlers converge with the Dakota Nation Unity Riders at the Hudson River Maritime Museum, located at 50 Rondout Landing in Kingston for a celebration from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. On Friday, August 2 at 3 p.m., the flotilla is scheduled to arrive at the Hudson River Rowing Association dock at 270 North Water Street in Poughkeepsie, followed by “Lacrosse: The Creator’s Game,” a sport created by Native Americans, which takes place at 5:30 p.m. On Saturday, August 3 at 9:30 a.m., join the Unity Riders on the Walkway Over the Hudson at 9:30 a.m. as the Two Row boats pass underneath on their way to Beacon. After the Walkway gathering, the final local stop is the Beacon Two Row Wampum Festival from 11 a.m. to 8:15 p.m. at Riverfront Park on Red Flynn Drive in Beacon. The event includes Native American music, crafts, storytelling, lacrosse demonstrations, food, and more, as well as an impressive list of additional musicians and speakers. The suggested donation for the festival is $5.



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