On a beautiful August afternoon, all 4 Long Island Au Pair in America Clusters canoed on the Nissequogue River. The trip took about 2 hours, and we canoed in with the tide from Kings Park to the Smithtown Paul T. Givens Park.
16 canoes filled with au pairs and 4 Community Counselors paddled along the winding river. Lots of other people were kayaking and canoeing along side us. After the trip, au pairs relaxed waiting for their friends to all finish the route.
Fun day spent with friends! Au Pair cluster activities provide au pairs with time with friends, opportunities to get to know each other and their counselors better. It is an important part of the Au Pair in America experience!
Au Pairs from our cluster enjoying a social evening of pizza and fellowship at West Meadow Beach in Stony Brook this May. We enjoyed a beautiful evening with a perfect sunset on the Long Island Sound. Community Counselor Cindy Garruba brought pizza and water bottles, au pairs shared stories about who they are, vacations taken and planned. It was a wonderful time for all.
On Friday, May 17th Cindy attended the English as a Second Language Graduation from Suffolk County Community College for 3 special au pairs. Host families and friends attended, too, to congratulate them.
Noon from Thailand, Larissa from Brazil and Vanessa from Panama
Viviana arrived to a host family in Virginia in July 2017. Though that match did not work out, she was able to match with a great family in St. James, Suffolk County, Long Island, NY in Sept. She made the most of her time with her host family, her cluster of au pairs and in her community.
She volunteered helping her Community Counselor at a street fair in the fall. Viviana studied English, she plans to be an English teacher in Colombia. Cindy Garruba, her Community Counselor was happy to watch her graduate from the highest ESL Class from Suffolk County Community College!
Viviana enjoyed many cluster meetings with her au pair friends and was a very active member of the cluster.
Cindy wished Viviana well in her next adventure with some resume building tips and they enjoyed Taco Tuesday at a local restaurant.
We start the meeting with a craft. It gives the au pairs time to socialize and to be creative. They paint ornaments we will use to decorate our International APIA Peace tree at the annual holiday festival in Stony Brook Village. This is an event attended by au pairs and their host families on the first Sunday in December.
Every September Cindy shares tips to make back to school and routine with host children easier for au pairs. We review minimizing morning madness, communicating with school through the backpack & how to use it effectively, bus stop and bus safety. It is also Baby Safety month, so we review tips on how to keep little ones safe.
There are a few distracted driving and bus safety videos watched that really emphasis how to be the kind of driver who pays attention to the road! These videos really demonstrate why everyone should stay off the phone while driving and how to keep kids safe!
We got the chance to wish Ana good bye after 2 years as an Au Pair! Ana has a trip planned around Europe before returning to home to Peru!
After the learning part o the meeting is done, there is time for dessert and socializing. Everyone learns, eats and makes new friends!
On Sunday, June 10th the Suffolk County APIA au pairs met at their Community Counselor’s home for their annual Water & Summer Safety Cluster Meeting.
When the au pairs first arrived they painted beach rocks to symbolize their country flags. June 14th is Flag Day and Cindy Garruba, the Community Counselor, thought this would be a good opening activity to give au pairs an opportunity to interact with one another and be creative.
Though the weather was cloudy, some of the au pairs did spend a little time on the beach before the safety lesson.
The lesson included summer safety tips on using sunscreen, warnings on sunburn, sunstroke, poison ivy, ticks and Lyme disease, mosquitos, and basic first aid for cuts & scrapes.
Every au pair on Long Island is near a beach, many have host families with pools in their backyard. Cindy, a former lifeguard and swim instructor, discussed safety around pools and on beaches. The biggest emphasis was on preventing accidents from happening!
After all of the important information was shared and discussed, Cindy served strawberries and cream. It is Strawberry season on Long Island and many of the farms will have festivals this month. The biggest festival is in Mattituck from June 14 – 17.
The Suffolk County Cluster of Au Pair in America is ready for a fun and safe summer!
Pizza & Sunset was the theme for our May Cluster meeting on Thursday evening. We gathered at West Meadow Beach in Stony Brook. Community Counselor, Cindy Garruba, brought lots of pizza and bottles of water. Everyone enjoyed visiting with each other and sharing time together.
The sunset was spectacular over the Long Island Sound.
Friday night was ESL Graduation from Suffolk County Community College for 2 of our au pairs were among the honored graduates. There are 5 levels of ESL classes at SCCC. Many au pairs never complete the highest level, but those who do have achieved a very high level of English. Congratulations to Viviana and Julianna, both from Colombia!
On Memorial Day, we participated in the East End Arts Street Chalk Festival on Main Street in Riverhead! Au Pair in America sponsored a square, the proceeds goes to the arts council.
The Suffolk County Au Pair in America au pairs spent Sunday meeting together at their counselor’s beach house. Cindy Garruba, Senior Community Counselor. talked about the upcoming American holiday season including Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas & Hanakkuh, and New Year’s Eve. We discussed childcare, gift giving, and how the holidays are celebrated in the USA.
After our discussion we had a some pizza and then visited the local Spooky Maze at Harbe’s Farm. The au pairs enjoyed the Halloween spooky fun for the 45 minutes they worked their way through the maze. Click here to learn more about the maze!
On Sunday, September 15th the Suffolk County Cluster of Au Pair in America gathered at their Community Counselor’s home for a very important meeting. September is the month Americans start their school and work year, au pairs get back to routine schedules with their host children. The largest arrival months for Au Pairs are the summer months, so the September meeting is the first cluster meeting for many of them.
As the au pairs arrived, they heading out to the patio for an art project. Each au pair decorated a peace ornament that will be displayed in December on a holiday tree in Stony Brook Village’s Promenade of trees. It was a fun, bonding, creative activity the au pairs enjoyed.
Cindy Garruba, Suffolk County APIA Community Counselor, then led the au pairs in a discussion of important “Back to School & Routine” information. The discussion then moved on to distracted driving and safe driving tips for the au pairs, most of whom drive their host children to activities.
Every au pair shared where they are from, where they live now, how long they have been in the USA, the ages of their host children and something special about themselves. We said hello to newly arrived au pairs and bid farewell to those leaving the cluster. It is a important that each young woman in the cluster has a peer group to share the year with in America. Cluster meetings introduces the young women to each other and builds the bond between them.
Cluster meetings are an important part of the Au Pair in America experience. Every quarter a meeting features childcare and safety information. They give the au pairs an opportunity to form friendships and spend time together. Every month there is a cluster meeting or activity. In October the Au Pairs will meet for pizza and discussion of upcoming American holiday season and then go to a local farm for a Spooky Maze experience, in November they will be going to the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City! December the Suffolk County Cluster will decorate a holiday tree in Stony Brook Village’s Promenade of Trees and also have an International Holiday Party.
We may not want to pay taxes: those of us born in the USA, or those who live in the USA for a short time. But if you earn money in the USA, then you owe your fair share. At the Suffolk County Au Pair in America February Cluster Meeting the information on how and when to pay taxes was reviewed by Senior Community Counselor, Cindy Garruba. “I am not an accountant, but I need to give the information to all of you,” Cindy stated. “It is important to review the information available on www.aupairinamerica.com and file appropriately.”
A link to the information is available under the Link “Life in the USA” on this blog.
The meeting included egg rolls and fortune cookies to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Cindy discussed why we celebrate President’s Day in the USA and that the host children would be off of school for a week in February. Several au pairs mentioned they were tired of the long winter, and Cindy gave them a handout with some activities to do with the children on winter days.
It was Super Bowl Sunday and Cindy explained how most Americans wil watch the Super Bowl, making it the most viewed show of the year. Many people watch with friends and family, even if just for the commercials and half time. Everyone received a Valentine goodie bag, too!