Recently, I had the opportunity to organize a student trip to Washington D.C. for a JROTC class from Morhead High School in North Carolina. During the process of creating an itinerary, I learned a great deal about the Junior ROTC program and how a trip to our nation’s capitol could further extend the learning experience for this type of group.
JROTC educational training courses at Morhead High School complement any type of high school curriculum. In addition to history and government courses required by every high school student, JROTC participants are asked to partake in physical activities and competitions, develop their character, citizenship, ethics, oral communication and leadership skills and expand their knowledge of military history. JROTC students are also expected to give back to their communities, through service learning projects.
David J. Bray, Jr., a Senior Army Instructor, and Zack Reynolds, an Army Instructor, lead the program in place at Morhead High School. Fifty students and four chaperons took the trip to Washington D.C.
I posed a series of questions to those who attended the class trip to Washington D.C. The instructors graciously took the time to obtain answers from students and chaperons.
Here are some of their thoughts and experiences from the visit to Washington D.C.
Q.Why did you select this particular educational travel company as your student travel service? Was your selection based on price, the travel package presented, service, expertise, or something other than any of these?
A. Customer Service and expertise played a big part in our decision since it was our first time going on a field trip.
Q. Did you compare these educational travel services to other student travel providers? Why or why not?
A. No, we were satisfied with this educational travel company because they worked with us step-by-step in our planning process.
Q. Why was the Washington D.C. itinerary presented to the JROTC program at Morhead High School such a good match for the core course objectives? What specific Washington D.C. destinations reinforced your curricular objectives?
A. The itinerary covered many periods in U.S. history and military history. It also highlighted learning about qualities that make a great army cadet or officer, which include leadership and good citizenship. Under leadership, our student command team and staff were responsible for seeing to it that this trip was planned, organized and resourced. All the cadets learned of the many rights and benefits of being an American Citizen while seeing first hand the sacrifices we have made as a country to protect those rights.
Q.Out of all of the destinations visited on the trip, which seemed to have the greatest impact on students?
A. Visits to Arlington Cemetery, Smithsonian Museum and the White House had a significant impact on JROTC students.
Q.As you worked to craft an itinerary to match the JROTC program, how were the educational travel professionals instrumental in selecting destinations that matched your curriculum objectives and your budget?
A. The educational travel service was helpful in adjusting payment dates to accommodate the JROTC program’s fundraising calendar dates.
Q. Did you make any post-trip writing or speaking assignments?
A. Students were required to put together an article for the local newspaper. They also used pictures obtained on the trip for a formal slide show presentation.
Q. Overall, what were student responses to the trip to Washington D.C.? Did parents also comment on the value of the trip?
A. Students enjoyed the trip to Washington D.C. Parents were also supportive of this trip and commended the efforts made to make it a success.
Some educational travel companies only sell pre-packaged itineraries to reap a greater profit. These types of companies keep predictable destinations on the itinerary year in and year out. I believe that working closely with educators on the itinerary helps to enhance the overall quality of the trip. Customized itineraries create learning experiences which seem to match teacher objectives more closely.
JROTC programs have a more specific educational objective with students than most general high school courses, which are usually either college prep or geared towards trade school. JROTC classes and extra curricular activities are designed to motivate young people to be better citizens. Aligning the itinerary with these objectives took some extra effort and time – and it was certainly worthwhile. The outcome of the trip and candid responses from students and chaperones indicates we are certainly on the right track with JROTC student group travel.
For more information about a student trip to Washington D.C. or to view a sample JROTC itinerary, email firstname.lastname@example.org or Request a Quote by taking a moment to fill out our brief online questionnaire.