|By Kevin Heckeler
From Upstate New York
Jul 15, 2014
Sounds like you're on the right path. I'd offer to help but only have weekend availability, and I'm focusing on the ADKs right now.
Following for a while to see how gear is placed, anchors built, etc is very important.
The Gunks are perfect for learning, many quality 5.3 - 5.5 routes with good gear. Make sure whoever goes provides feedback on your gear placement. Maybe even try mock leads, where you top rope a route and practice placing gear as you climb it, then have the other climber look at your gear placements. This will give you an idea if you're placing gear correctly, as well as what it feels like to be at one spot for a bit (can get tiring and learning how to be relaxed and comfortable while placing gear is a skill too).
When learning I utilized a guide as well for exactly what you describe (one-on-one review of fundamentals). Then go out immediately and put those skills to use so you don't forget what you learned! My strategy would be to follow for a few climbing days, then line up a guide, then expect to perhaps lead a few safer easy routes the next time you're out. Not having climbed with you this is all very general advice. You may want more follow days, or might be ready now to do some leading.