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    photo of Washington's Headquarters in Newburgh NY

    Recreational Activities

    Many recreational activities were provided for the children. Observance of established holidays provided opportunities to teach or have fun. On Valentine’s Day, the children got rewarded for whoever made the best valentine. For Washington’s Birthday, the children would listen to a story of Washington’s life, while also having a flag drill to learn about Americanism as defined at that time. During the summer, the children enjoyed many picnics at Woodcliff Park and swimming at Beck’s grove.  In the fall, Norrie Park at Staatsburg was a more appealing spot for the children to have picnics. Thanksgiving was often celebrated the Sunday before the holiday, with singing and a discussion of the meaning of the holiday. Birthdays were celebrated in a monthly birthday party and no child was ever left out. The goal of many of these celebrations was for the children to learn about American culture and the importance of optimism in one’s life. 

    The Home bought a sedan to transport children around the community. There were weekly trips to the Y, movies, and visits to the Capitol in Albany and Washington’s Headquarters in Newburgh. An Activities Director was hired for the summer. The 15 member staff included both a trained nurse and a consulting child psychologist. Staff began attending social worker conferences. By 1939, girls were no longer required to leave at age 12, but could remain until they were able to go out and earn a living. Boys left for foster homes at the age of 14.